Posts Tagged ‘Blog Round-Up’

Insightful Posts on Augoeides

Friday, December 19th, 2014

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I’m taking care of my dying friend this weekend. I’ll be back with new content next week.

Until then, here are some posts I particularly enjoyed from Augoeides, one of my favorite magick blogs:

A skeptic encounters magickal phenomena, with a good discussion about the difference between skepticism vs aggressive doubt.

A post about electrical brain stimulation research. In particular, the last paragraph: One exciting possibility is that once this area of the brain is identified, it might be possible to evaluate magick in a more controlled fashion by analyzing the correlations between the different levels of stimulation made possible by this method and shifts in probability.

(While I don’t expect magick to be found in a particular brain region, I always get excited when people make testable predictions about magick research.)

failed faith healing, with an intriguing idea in the closing paragraph: I wonder if the ancient idea of “breathing life” into a person comes from a much earlier culture working out the basics of CPR and passing it along as “esoteric wisdom.”

And one that’s not particularly magick-related, but I love the idea of the Church of Latter Day Dude.

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Merry Christmas

Monday, December 24th, 2012

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For those of you that celebrate, I hope you’re enjoying the time with your families. For those that don’t, I hope you’re enjoying the time off from work. I’m taking the day off, but if you’re yearning for some magick to read, here are two of my favorite recent posts:

Ananael explains transpersonal realization and ego transcendence. I’m not well-versed in these ideas, and I felt like it this the first time I understood them. (The meat of the article is a page or two down, starting with “As psychoanalysis is so embedded in our culture.”)

And Gordon discusses certainty and ambiguity, and as usual, shares a fun story. I feel like I have some commentary to give about it, but I just don’t know what it is yet. I’m sure you know that feeling, too, if you read Rune Soup often.

Happy holidays, all. I’ll return Wednesday with new content.

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Games, Tarot and Research

Friday, September 21st, 2012

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Wrapping up my week catching up on other blogs, we have Rune Soup, Weird Shit Not Bullshit, and Therioshamanism.

Also, I’m heading to Albany, NY next week. If that’s your neck of the woods, drop me a line.

Magic and Games

Gordon of Rune Soup doesn’t educate so much as he prods you into new, interesting ideas. Read the last section of his post (“Magic and the British Museum), then come back.

I’ve often thought that magick needs to be experienced, rather than explained. That no words could substitute for practicing sensory connections and seeing the differences between a healthy knee and an unhealthy knee. That my goal should be to provide exercises so you can produce your own experiences, rather than providing answers.

And that feels somehow related to experiencing magick as a game. I like the idea. (Yes, this is more of a floating idea than a full post, but, well, that’s what Gordon does to me.)

(Full post here.)

The Mechanism of Tarot

I’ve talked about tarot before. Here’s my basic model:

  1. A client asks an open-ended question. Problem is, talking with ethereal software is like talking over a lousy phone line (for most mages), so it’s hard to understand open-ended answers.
  2. So, you create a series of questions. First, randomly deal out some cards. (No magick here.)
  3. But each card has multiple meanings. As you think about each possible meaning, the ethereal software gives you feedback, flagging the best one. This type of multiple-choice communication is much simpler than receiving full sentences.
  4. You turn those multiple-choice answers into a final story for the client.

I’ve had this model for years, but I don’t do tarot personally. So, it was neat to see a tarot reader explain his experience, and see how well it matches that model:

So how to turn a variety of potential interpretations into a single real one? Well, this is what I do all the time when I’m reading the Tarot – every card has a whole set of possible meanings to it, and I have to figure out which of those possible meanings is most accurate and most useful in a particular spread at a particular time. I do this by ‘feel’ – one of the interpretations will ‘feel’ like it fits best with the other cards and with the question I’m considering.

That feel he describes is step 3.

(Full post here.)

The Importance of Quality Research

And a new blog (for me), Therioshamanism, discusses why basic research methodology is important to magick. You already know I agree, so let me just quote his article:

Every shoddily constructed experiment and instrument, every poorly interpreted or deliberately manipulated set of results, every anecdote held up as firm “evidence” across the board–all these things do absolutely nothing to further your cause, and in fact do much to harm it.


If you are going to claim that you have any authority on anything that involves proving something exists objectively, then you need to be literate in the methods used in proving something exists objectively.

Indeed. (Full article here.)

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Pro-Mages and the Goetia (Strategic Sorcery)

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

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Continuing my week of catching up with other blogs, I’m on to Strategic Sorcery today.

The Magic Biz

I always enjoy reading Jason’s take on being a pro-mage. It’s something I’ve thought about on and off for the past year. It’s a hard way to earn a living — much harder than computer consulting, I’ll give him that — but I imagine you would learn a lot by seeing more clients, and by getting the more honest feedback that comes from paying customers, because they don’t feel the need to be polite.

But back to Jason’s post, there are 2 points I found particularly interesting:

In the 90s, mages got status by writing books. For the past decade, mages have gotten status by selling their services. Makes me wonder what the next status-focus will be.

And a fun paragraph:

Some people look at magical orders as the measure of success. The same gent mentioned above bragged to me that the Caliphate OTO has “won”, because they were the biggest group to come out of the Crowley Era. They had the money, and the numbers. He was none to happy when I pointed out that by his standards Scientology would be the obvious winner, not the OTO…**

(Full post here.)

Be Nice to the Goetia

In July, we had a discussion about the Goetia in the comments of my blog. Taylor and Knarrnia recommended just being friendly, and now it seems Jason is in the same camp. I may have to check out the Goetia in the next few months, especially as I start digging into manifesting more.

I also enjoyed Jason’s post for the descriptions of his own path, and for the tips on how to be friendly. And, to avoid post hoc ergo propter hoc, Jason’s article seems to be totally separate from the discussion on my post.

(Full article here.)

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Ethical Love Magick (The Razor’s Edge)

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

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Today, I finish catching up with The Razor’s Edge, before moving on to Strategic Sorcery and a few others.

Rated [M] for Magick

In response to my post about magick for adults, Mr. Black created a vastly better headline, and said:

I don’t really like to specify magick as for “adults” only…..more so for the mature only.

To me, there are plenty of adults who make mistakes, who do not really think things through, who are immature and have not gained the wisdom they should’ve gotten from the many years of experience they’ve procured.

I like this sentiment. Because that’s really what I’m getting at: Not a concern about 14-year-olds reading my blog, but about immature or malicious adults using these techniques to hurt someone. My mentors restrict certain techniques to people who’ve done enlightenment work, which seems sensible. So, I either want to stay quiet about those techniques, or if I do post them, I want to do it deliberately, with a decision to disclose them to everyone, enlightened or not.

(Full post here.)

Love, Lust and Seduction

Mr. Black on magick to find love (of one form or another). One sentence in particular jumped out at me:

I just don’t feel right using magick to gain love or help with seducing someone you “love”.

I think that we conceptualize magick differently. Sure, if you ask, “Make Sally love me,” that’s just creepy (and unlikely to work). But if you ask:

“Cause me to meet good romantic partners, and cause me to approach them in a good way that leads to a good relationship.”

Or something like that, that seems both smart and ethical. It’s helping me meet people who probably want to meet me, and causing happy coincidences. I don’t see a problem with that.

The rest of his post is an interesting window into Mr. Black’s take on love, sex and relationships, and how magick interacts with them. (Full post here.)

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Mr. Black: There are No Shortcuts

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

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Still catching up on other blogs. A friend is visiting this week, so this is the perfect time to let other bloggers do my work for me. :)

Today: Mr. Black of The Razor’s Edge

Patience is a Virtue

A heavily-anonymized case study of a mage who became mentally unstable. Mr. Black blames that instability on learning magick without pursuing a spiritual practice, though I think that might just be correlation: Anyone who wants to pursue magick strictly for power is probably a bit unstable already, and will be more likely to work with malicious spirits and mages who promise power, to their own detriment.

The mage also tried  to “hack” the system of magick that Mr. Black practices, without first learning the basics. It didn’t work:

Anyone who has ever “hacked” anything knew the basics or fundamentals before even getting started on hacking a system.

Take Bruce Lee and his Jeet Kune Do for example;  Bruce Lee was already a martial artist before he decided to revolutionize the way we look and train in martial arts. Peter Carroll was already a magickian before Chaos Magick was created to counter the antiquity of the state of magick at that time.

I totally agree, even though I’m somewhat of a counter-example. I developed this style of magick (the one I blog about here) without learning a traditional style first, and by the time I was old enough to become initiated, I wasn’t interested. In essence, I’ve been hacking magick from the beginning.

And yet, I wouldn’t recommend it to most people. It’s slow, and difficult, and takes a long time before you get anything useful. I explored magick out of curiosity, and had a lot of luck in winding up with a good model. And even now, 20 years in, there’s still so much I don’t know.

Mr. Black’s point, I think, is that there are no shortcuts. You can’t just skip the initiation, figure magick out for yourself, and expect to save time. Hacking magick is a longcut, and a rewarding one if you want to put in the work, but it’s definitely not a shortcut.

Read Mr. Black’s full post.

Conjuration Case Study

A case study of a conjuration to get a job. Two things of particular interest:

  • Mr. Black got sick shortly after the work, and explains how he dealt with it. A request: I don’t practice your style, so I couldn’t follow all the steps you took to deal with the sickness. What’s a mala, and is there some technique to siphoning off the energy on your altar? And did you siphon energy off yourself, or just your altar?
  • The second half of the post covers a technique Mr. Black uses to check if his magick worked. This was neat to see, and seems like a generally useful technique. I’ve done similar work with energy healing, asking for psychic intuitions before the healing session to make sure I’m taking the right approach, and afterward, to make sure it worked.

Read the full post here.

To Be Continued…

Wow, Mr. Black writes a lot. I’ll finish catching up with him tomorrow.

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Other Bloggers on Teaching

Monday, September 17th, 2012

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I’m still catching up with other magick blogs, flagging my favorite posts as I go. Today: Thoughts on teaching from A Little Death and Magical Experiments.

An Awesome Teacher

Ona retells an experience from a wonderful teacher who helped a troubled woman rather than dismissing her. The way he handled it was great, as is Ona’s honesty about her feelings throughout the situation. I was going to quote her post, but instead, I’m just going to tell you to read it yourself.

Audience and Responsibility

Last month, I thought about how much to share on my blog, particularly with techniques that could hurt someone. I’ve been meaning to do a follow-up post, but today, I just want to flag Taylor’s response on his own blog:

I don’t feel responsible for how my audience uses the knowledge gleaned from my books, as my audience is responsible for their choices and experiences (much as I am responsible for my experiences and choices). How they choose to use and/or abuse what they get from my books is their concern and the consequences are also their concern.

I like this sentiment: Trust everyone to be responsible for their own actions. Simple, democratic, and relatively freeing for my own work. Not sure where I’ll wind up at this point, but I enjoyed reading Taylor’s take on it.

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Ananael’s Science Smackdown

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

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I’ve fallen behind in reading other magick blogs. This week, I’m catching up, linking to particularly interesting articles as I go.

Today: Ananael’s blog, Augoeides.


Following up on his previous acupuncture post, Ananael writes about a new study:

The latest meta-analysis of acupuncture research, published two days ago in the Archives of Internal Medicine, conclusively shows that acupuncture does in fact work for chronic pain. Notably, this latest study also found a clear difference between traditional acupuncture in which needles are inserted at specific, defined points versus so-called “sham acupuncture,” in which needles are inserted at random points in the same general area.

Then he lays into skeptics who misrepresent these sort of studies:

The problem skeptics have with acupuncture seems to be that nobody has figured out exactly how it works. […] Either said skeptics just don’t have their facts straight, or they’re deliberately confusing them to push what I would have to call an anti-science agenda. The whole point of the scientific method is that you don’t get to pick and choose only those studies that confirm your personal biases.

If you were wondering, that’s the smackdown from the title. Well said. (Full article here.)

Manifesting a Hot Tub

You know how I love case studies, and Ananael just posted one about manifesting a hot tub. In particular, note the unlikely path his wife took in finding the yard sale with a well-priced tub, and some lucky breaks he had in deciding where to put the tub.

One question for Ananael: It seems like some of your luck went beyond just “Finding a hot tub,” like placing it in a better location and finding that couch. Do you think the way you phrased your goal helped with this? Was it particularly broad, and do you have a general practice of making it broad? Thanks.

The Just World Hypothesis

Another new study, this one showing that:

People perceive rituals which are more complex or time-consuming as much more effective.

(Full article here.)

I’ve seen that in my own practice: Because most of my work only takes a few minutes, and just involves me sitting and thinking, I sometimes feel like friends are underwhelmed. Maybe I should add some theatrics…

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My Favorite Posts from Other Blogs (August 21)

Monday, August 20th, 2012

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Once again, it’s time to let other bloggers do my job for me. Here are some of my favorite posts from the past few weeks.

Ananael picks apart some of the claims of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). I don’t know that much about NLP, but it’s always sounded like pseudo-science wrapped in flashy language, and it’s nice to see someone subjecting their claims to real scientific inquiry. (And not terribly surprising to see those claims wilt upon inspection.)

Taylor of Magical Experiments writes about the role of proof in magick, and the difference between proving magick to yourself vs proving it to doubters who demand an obvious demonstration in 5 minutes or less. It includes some case studies of his own magick, and you know how I love case studies.

RO has a post on greatness. It’s a bit of a kick in the rear to anyone who focuses on trying hard rather than succeeding, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

New blog for me: Weird Shit Not Bullshit. He has an interesting series about why occultists are particularly prone to believing in conspiracy theories. Summary: Because we spend so much time exploring correspondences and symbolic meanings, it’s easy for us to do that in the mundane world, which leads to psychosis rather than truth.

Mr. Black writes about mentor-student relationships online, and how different they are than in-person work. Scroll down for a long comment from me.

Ona has a series of posts for experienced meditators. I don’t meditate much, but I particularly enjoyed the one on expectations vs reality, because I think every field has a moment where the reality of being skilled somehow doesn’t match how you imagined it when you were a beginner.

And Jason discusses how to make a niche for your occult store. Short story: Craft a remarkable story. Also, enchanted cockrings. (Now I’m going to show up on all the wrong google searches.)

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Blog Post Round-Up (July 18)

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

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You know the comments roundups, where I let my commenters do my work for me? I’m going to expand on that, and let other bloggers do my work for me, too.

Ananael slams that silly movie, “What the Bleep Do We Know?” I hated it too, and really enjoyed seeing him take it apart.

Rune Soup has a great post on how to maximize memory. To me, this is a straight science post, not particularly magick-related, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ona had a great comment on “Politely Leaving the Mysterious, Mysterious,” along with a great post on the subject, with actual answers, rather than just questions.

Mr. Black wondered how much we should help beginners. Should we activate their mental muscles (to use my terms), or let them explore on their own? With the work I’m doing for my book, this is very much on my mind.

Inominandum points out that spirits often don’t understand money, and may give bad advice where human matters are concerned. This has been my experience as well, and I realized that I’ve never really talked about it, and I haven’t seen it discussed in other blogs, either.

And Taylor suggests that if we treat spirits with respect, even normally-dangerous ones like the Goetia may become helpful and pleasant.

Note: I scheduled this post to go up automatically today. I may still be incommunicado on my way to Australia.

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