First Impressions are…

So,  I just got Robson’s The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology,  since that seems to be the go-to book.

There are some statements in the Preface that make it abundantly clear that the author was not au courant with the science of his day (1923), so you might want to just skip the Preface on this one.

I see it also leaves out Alkaid, which is odd, since that’s a Behenian star. However, considering that the book covers 110 major stars, it’s not so surprising that something got left out.

Still,  it looks useful,  and will do until someone else writes a more authoritative book.

Just a Delphic selfie

Skeptical Frater is skeptical

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Looks like a cobweb blog,  doesn’t it? I got out of the book reviewing business because I was reading too many books that,  whatever their merits for someone else,  weren’t what I needed to be reading.

In the meantime,  I have been doing my own practice and study,  continuing to lead the monthly study group,  and so on.

This post is a teaser for a new direction coming soon: still magic,  but also lots of astrology content. At least until a comet wipes us out,  and while everyone else is dying of flooding,  cold,  or whatever,  the remaining astrologers die of irony…

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An Execration

Performed in due form by the Namen of Temple Zagduku before the shrines of Lilith, Inanna, Ereshkigal, Utu, Ea, and Ningishzida, on 2015-04-19 in an hour of Venus, appropriate for Inanna destroyer of mountains.

I don’t usually curse, although I have and probably will again, but if these walking turds aren’t worth a curse, then nothing is.

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How About an Illustrated Hardcover Picatrix?

Review copyright 2015() Freeman Presson, all rights reserved

You can still get the the paperback Picatrix on Amazon, but there is now a hardcover edition of the same thing with a wealth of small (6.5cm x 6.5cm), monochrome talismanic pictures by Nigel Jackson. It’s discounted to $42 for early birds until it goes up on Amazon, at which time it will sell for the $60 it’s easily worth.

Mine arrived earlier today. It’s completely sound and as advertized.

There are other editions, too, including some high-end stuff.

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Hamlet’s Mill FINALLY in print again!

(P)review copyright 2015() Freeman Presson, all rights reserved

I had been pestering Godine about the re-release of this book for…I won’t say how long (but I’ll show you the video if you want). You see, I have a very peculiar relationship with this book. I was at MIT (where de Santanilla was teaching)  when it was first out. I walked right by a big display of the book at the Tech Coop. I thought, “Oh, that’s the book Jerry Lettvin told me to read. I’ll do that when I have money.”

Fast-forward forty years after I forgot to go back and get the book, and Poke Runyon is telling me to read it. Only by now, it’s rare and OOP, and I’m short of funds again. I wait. I look up the last known publisher and write them an email; find out they’re planning to reprint. I make a fool of myself announcing the release date. Then it’s deferred. I make a fool of myself announcing the new release date. And again. And again.

Today, I am only a bit into chapter II, and this book is already on my desert-island list.

I’m also glad that I read E. M. W. Tillyard’s classic The Elizabethan World Picture first, for confirmation of just how Hermetic the world-view was until well after the time of Shakespeare.

Amazon has a very low price on the book now. Jump on it: Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth

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The Covenant of the Goddess — How to NOT support a movement

[This post is based on, and motivated by, some recent conversations on social media.]

On the 10th of December, The Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) released a statement in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Or, I think they thought they were doing that, but they gutted it until what was left said essentially nothing. Our friend Caer Jones took it apart in detail, and so did the Rock of Eye blog,so I won’t flog the corpse.

So far, the main consequence is the resignation of Crystal Blanton’s coven from CoG, but I’m sure that’s not the only fallout coming.

It’s too bad, too, as CoG has sponsored some very good initiatives in the past. I’m not meaning to ignore those or completely bury the organization.

I considered the case of my own organizations and others I’m most familiar with. They’re mystery schools; they have no real warrant for having positions on the issues of the day. We could have a debate about the values embodied in that stance, but not about the fact that they exist.

From my first involvement in public Paganism, about 15 years ago now, I noticed that there were many assumptions made by some Pagans: Paganism makes everyone politically and socially liberal, Green, sexually experimental, and so on, varying by individual tastes. Many thought that since we have some (barely-definable) core to our Pagan spiritual ways, we should be alike in other ways, too.

It was not true then, and it’s less true now. Pagans come from everywhere on the political grid. We don’t have very much in common beyond the sense of building or rebuilding spiritual frameworks that seem more organic and integrated to us.

Many religions have this characteristic. A few, like the Society of Friends (Quakers) and the Unitarian Universalists, have a commitment to social justice built in to their charters, but most don’t even have that.

It’s not something that can be grafted on, either. So, if you are forming a new coven, magical lodge, grove, or whatever now, you should decide whether it should have a political orientation, by intention. If you have a group small enough to agree on a change, but active enough to matter, add it to your charter. If not…you might want to make your own statements and take your own actions, looking to secular committees for support, instead of wrecking a perfectly good oven because it doesn’t work like a car.

Whatever we do about this needs intention and consensus, otherwise, it will just raise friction that impedes progress.

To be clear: I am not saying this is the way all Pagan organizations are or should be. I know there are a number of Pagan groups that DO have social justice as a built-in objective and mechanism; some of them are out in the streets and otherwise doing active support. Good!

If yours doesn’t work that way, it’s still true that what we do individually is up to us. I will continue to speak out against injustice, and I’m planning an appropriate esoteric response (that’s meant as a word to the Wise; I won’t be saying more publicly).

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Magical Hip-gnosis post (from the archives)

(This went up on my livejournal on 2011-04-10)

This is from the I-thought-I-invented-this-until-I-saw-it-in-a-book1 dep’t:

A few years ago, I started doing magical hypnosis work. Right away, I hit on the idea of programming keywords by way of post-hypnotic suggestion. I recently picked this up again, with better technology for self-hypnosis and a couple of books under my belt (Leslie LeCron2 and Adam Eason3).

The set of keywords I use most often and most successfully are:

DOWN — used to get into the flowing relaxation state, just as if I had done a full progressive-relaxation program.

PARAGATE — used from the DOWN state to drop into working trance (WT).

PANORAMA — used from WT to open up visualization (astral light). For me, this often comes in as if I had only my right eye open (when, physically, they are both closed) since that is my “spirit eye” ever since it got baptized with a raindrop.

SUNYATA — used from WT or DOWN to drop into deep meditation.

I have names for my conscious and subconscious minds (my magical name and a pun on GNOW, resp.) which comes in handy for programming and for doing various kinds of offhand magic.

My problem with this is the typical one of finding time to do it when I am not sleepy. A couple of other keywords need to be done for that (SLEEP and WAKE).

Credit for rekindling my interest in using hipgnosis for magic goes to Fr. Thabion of the OTA (Poke Runyon).

1. There’s something very much like it in Jason Augustus Newcomb’s The Book of Magick Power (The New Hermetics Press, 2007) for one.
2. LeCron, Leslie M., Self-Hypnotism: The technique and its use in daily living, Signet 1970 (first edition 1964).
3. Eason, Adam, The Secrets of Self-Hypnosis: Harnessing the power of your unconscious mind, Network 3000 Publishing, 2005. Don’t get on Adam Eason’s mailing list unless you like a LOT of promotional mail.

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