Thursday, April 30, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Snake-Oil Salesman: Spinning the Occult

Righteous Indignation: Snake-Oil Salesman: Spinning the Occult: Snake-Oil Salesman: Spinning the Occult I read recently in a book about disinformation that ‘spin’ is a...

Snake-Oil Salesman: Spinning the Occult

Snake-Oil Salesman: Spinning the Occult

I read recently in a book about disinformation that ‘spin’ is a polite word for deception. It got me thinking. Why is it that traditional paradigms of religion such as Christianity, Buddhism, or even Islam are ‘treated’ differently than religious minorities such as Thelema? Why are occult systems subject to exorbitant amounts of ‘spin’? Is the deception merely monetary and would Thelemites be given more favorable provenance? Probably. But this systemic mischaracterization goes beyond creating a counterfeit reality or ‘spinning a yarn’. The real problem is in denying pertinent information about occultism by refusing to think critically about it. Of all the religious systems out there, paradigms of the occult are the most conducive for ontological discussion. After all, the entire mythos is based on creation, sustainment, and interaction of Being. In each state of affairs is a network of interactive autonomy. Whereas traditional religious systems have an already established set of supernatural beings. (i.e. Father, Son, Spirit etc…), occult is a fluidic assemblage of invisible mediators that stay in flux re-assembling and re-newing themselves continuously. They are both determinate and self-determining. Invocation is simply the means of gaining rapport and making contact.   

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Righteous Indignation: Why Occult has nothing to do with faith at all

Righteous Indignation: Why Occult has nothing to do with faith at all: Why Occult has nothing to do with faith at all:  Common perception of the supernatural suggests folk belief ...

Why Occult has nothing to do with faith at all

Why Occult has nothing to do with faith at all:  Common perception of the supernatural suggests folk belief creates an illusory representation of experience. That it is constructed and self-fulfilling. A mirage of the senses interpreted afterwards as a real event. In other words, a leap of faith. But there are voices of dissent that suggest these events are grounded in empirical evidence. Many of these experiences occur regardless of somebody’s past belief or previous knowledge. Folklorist David Hufford gives an excellent example of this with a hummingbird. He states that, “One who has never heard of a hummingbird, and therefore lacks the concept, can still perceive a hummingbird if it flies into the garden. Although not experiencing the percept “of a hummingbird”, one will still have a perceptual experience.” Supernatural experiences work the same way. We may have no concept of a goetic demon or inter-dimensional extraterrestrial craft but we can experience this numinous event without prior knowledge or belief. There’s no faith needed in this circumstance. Moreover, truth doesn’t necessarily have to be addressed. In its pure, unaltered, and raw state, the supernatural is not self-evidently false but experiential. Often, it defies logic or rationality and remains numinous- i.e. mysterious connection with the godhead. Whether it can be comprehended accurately or understood at all is a whole other topic but what is clear is that at no time does it depend on self-fulfilling belief or knowledge. It’s a sovereign and autonomous state of being that makes use of the same empirical attributes that other folk traditions employ.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Righteous Indignation: What is Occult Renewal?

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Righteous Indignation: What is Occult Renewal?: I hear people continually ask whether occult has become obsolete in this day and age. I always wonder what...

What is Occult Renewal?

I hear people continually ask whether occult has become obsolete in this day and age. I always wonder what trajectory they refer to. Belief is always alive and well. The operator recognizes the invisible work that instills autonomy in the divinities while recognizing the forces that drive his or her own renewal. Symbiotic relationships are the key to these interactions. Occult has never been simply about invocation or summoning but contact. In many ways, the UFOlogists are more occult than traditional occultists. Whereas the occultist will construct elaborate circles and perform complex ritualization, the UFO searcher knows instinctively that invisible strings are being plucked every time he aims a telescope at the sky or traverses a crop circle. The ritual is the method. Occult is not dead it just manifests in a variety of ways. You perform occult renewal every time you engage in love-talk while lying in bed with a significant Other or when composing a piece of music to be heard by no one but your Self. Renewal is in the inter-action. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

“One Generation Away”: Occult Persecution in Modern America

“One Generation Away”: Occult Persecution in Modern America

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
George Orwell

The last night of the Sacred Owl ceremony at Bohemian Grove was met with a howling wind. Seats kept blowing over and the owl effigy was in danger of toppling. This event is always a swanky affair. Every year hundreds of world leaders and corporate entities lazily congregate and discuss where and how reality will shaped. This year was no different. The customary dinner before the ritual theatre was a mash-up of blood red steaks, liver, and of course hummus. It was a fine set-up; perfectly attuned to meet the needs of the big-wigs in attendance. CEO’s and political leaders laughed jovially and mingled. Midgets were chased by half-baked executives donning terrifying masks and carrying wands. Otherwise straight laced corporate leaders danced like babes and ran naked.

That was until the maniacal child-star and holy soldier Kirk Cameron appeared like a phantasm and began to exorcise everything in sight. He began with trees and rocks spouting obscenities and thrusting a wooden cross into the face of all in attendance. It was like watching a snake handler on the brink of being bitten in the face. The terrified world leaders squealed and were seized with a fight or flight response. Some ran blindly into the woods, others grabbed eating utensils and stood in defensive postures. All while Cameron hooted and wrung his hands-crazily running up and down the aisle seats shrieking about rapture and openly invoking Michele Bachmann. It was heartbreaking.

The cord was cut. I personally heard Cameron whisper to Ray Comfort, “We’ve got to be careful with this lot. They’re heathen. This is the only thing they care about or really believe in. They’ll tie us to that goddamn owl before they burn it.” Comfort laughed nervously but his face betrayed thoughts that were clearly, Oh God, we’re in real trouble. He managed a half-choked sob and pleaded, “Maybe we shouldn’t be filming? What if they find the camera in your glasses?” Cameron soothed, “They’re just Druids. They’re savage. I’d be surprised if they even know what it is. We’ll run them down like dogs. It’s pre-ordained.”

This effectively killed the mojo of the weekend but that’s the growing trend as occultists all over the United States are being herded into underground shipping containers and tanker trucks like lepers. It’s not a myth. We are now “One Generation Away” from all-out occult persecution. We will witness in our children’s lifetimes the streets run red with the blood of occult martyrs. According to the Coalition for Occult Conservatives, 57% of practicing Pagans and Thelemites will be interred in underground communities by the year 2070. The Subterranean Occult Society (S.O.S.) have been frantically trying to stem the ebb and flow of occult persecution by throwing tens of millions of dollars into occult ‘think tanks’ in hopes of enticing diversity in local law-makers, media outlets, and other shapers of consensus reality. But the fear of ‘filthy superstition’ has stirred up a host of enemies to religious pluralism. Anti-occult mouthpieces such as Jeff Harshbarger have remarked, “Our society is submerged in the occult; Harry Potter has filled the minds of our children for a decade and vampirism meets our teens with the illusions of grandeur. Witchcraft went mainstream decades ago and Wicca is its offspring.” Other persecutors such as T. Franklin from the ‘Objective Ministries’ has stated that, “If there is one thing that Satanists, Goths, and Pagans of all stripes fear, it is ‘light’; this is why they hold their coven meetings at night, skulk around in the shadows, and wear dark clothing instead of bright, cheerful colors.”

This is the common perception toward esoteric schools of thought. And it’s working folks. On the surface, occultism is just an irritating religious minority. But the debris of this all-out assault yields a far more systemic evil if one only has the will to dig. The problem lays in anthropocentric autonomy. Modern religious autonomy is anthropocentric. In other words, it is organized by reference to human beings alone. But occult interaction doesn’t necessarily denote an anthropocentric perspective of the godhead. There are a myriad of entities and creatures accepted by occult ritualization that isn’t necessarily human but literally alien.
It’s this anthropocentric point of view that is the foundation for modern rule. For example, imagine if UFOs on earth were proved to be actual extraterrestrials from another dimension. This reality would threaten anthropocentric sovereignty of the power structure and is why the reality of UFOs isn’t so much denied but the question not even asked. Or what about the second coming of Jesus Christ? Again, an event of this caliber would be a real problem for existing paradigms of anthropocentric rule. The occult suffers from the same system of ‘consensus reality’. It’s not that occult ritual is refuted or that esoteric thought is critically found to be ineffective. Oh no, occult study much like UFO reality is taboo. It threatens the anthropocentric metaphysics of sovereignty. In so doing, it also violates what is accepted in consensus reality.

When occult evidence comes to the fore, what is needed is an ‘autonomous agnosticism’. A temporary suspension of consensus reality (i.e norms and laws of spiritual belief) so that occult reality has the opportunity to affect rational belief. All that is needed is the perspective that occult goals and esoteric reality is reachable and knowable. Having a potential materialization of the metaphysical is at least asking the question. It’s not hard to see how this point of view would also benefit UFO discussion. In the potential to be knowable epistemologically, we also grant it an autonomy based on ontological foundations.

But consensus reality will push back not because of the irrational or illogical. Most religious systems including Christianity have elements of the illogical. That’s just the ride. Autonomous agnosticism will be denied because the regime of truth becomes threatened if what is accepted as metaphysically possible violates what is already established as real. And so the possibilities are unthinkable. If it seems that the problem is as much politic as religious than your already seeing reality in a form of agnostic autonomy and questioning the norms and laws of rational belief. Structures of power are anthropocentric and anything that trespasses this trespasses what is truth and must be made taboo. I’m not saying give world power over to the risen Christ or Extraterrestrials but the possibility of invoking daimons or entities or aliens certainly places a burden on current sovereignty of power. Perhaps what is needed is a new consensus reality where occultism doesn’t threaten power structures but contributes to what can be known and attained. It’s at least asking the question.     

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Texas Education: A Spectacle in the Wholly Absurd.

Texas Education: A Spectacle in the Wholly Absurd. 

There is something about election year that make the entire political world righteous with indignation. Even as early as April, candidates know whether they are lucky or doomed. You can see on their faces in those first sweaty television appearances that mark the long, nail-biting crawl to the primaries. It’s excruciating to watch and hopelessly Darwinian. Dozens of so-called potentials mercilessly acting out Mortal Combat on the world stage. Each gouging out the eyes of what were once allies amidst shrieks of “Finish Him!” It doesn’t take but a few weeks before despair sets in and most just want the pain to end. You see them between commercial breaks shoveling oxycontin into their mouth holes and wiping their foreheads while trying to hide the nervous tic that’ll make them look weak or maimed. It’s a dirty business. More than a few get righteously superstitious and are willing to conduct any ritual- however horrifying to their personal sense of self or family to win a few votes. I once witnessed a primary hopeful finish a speech and immediately demand a deck of cards, a live rabbit, and a bucket from his closest adviser. God only knows what the cards were for.

But that’s the nature of the beast during election years. And it’s not isolated to those being coronated or in the fight of their lives. The trickle-down insanity of politics also makes agendas further down the totem do strange and bewildering things. Such was the case last week when Texas unexpectedly decided that the Biblical Moses was a Founding Father of the United States. The Texas Board of Education went so far as to ‘change history’ and edit public school textbooks to reflect absurdly that the constitution was conceived through Mosaic Law. The private schoolers whined and gnashed their teeth that it was unfair and unjust to dote on those ‘paupers’ but nobody cared to listen. It was all part of the plan.

One of the surest ways to sculpt a new history is to get after the young people early. Children’s textbooks are a devious way to achieve this end. According to the President of 'Texas Freedom Network'  Kathy Miller, “the new textbooks include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of Democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.” 

There is something embarrassing and pathological about reshaping reality in such a manner. Especially considering the Board purposefully ignored any legitimate scholarly input in favor of a mucky political agenda hell-bent on creating a history where the U.S. is chosen to carry out God’s will. It’s as if the TBOE wants to make America Israel. I can only feel saddened for Florida when it’s deemed a Palestinian State and thousands of rockets rain down in a hapless show of Texas superiority. When Ben Netanyahu got wind of the Texas agenda, witnesses remarked that he savagely screamed “That’s my schtick!” and bashed a close adviser rendering him unconscious.

The whole business has made the political landscape terrible and ugly. The Founding Fathers are understandably aggravated. Thomas Paine remarked, “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any other church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.”[1] John Adams also weighed in saying, “Although the detail of the formation of the American government is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons or employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven…it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”[2] When asked about his thoughts, Thomas Jefferson spat, said sarcastically, “I am of sect by myself, as far as I know”, then proceeded to suggest a public flogging for every member of the TBOE.

As of now, the entire Texas education system is teetering on complete collapse. Many Texans are wildly calling for widespread panic and public shaming. God only knows what they’ll do with the politicians that created this mess. But I do believe there are punishments under Mosaic Law that might be deemed appropriate.

[1] Richard Emery Roberts, ed. “Excerpts from the Age of Reason.” Selected Writings of Thomas Paine. 1945. Everybody’s Vacation Publishing Co. New York. pp. 362.
[2] John Adams. A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. 1787-1788.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Shysters and Witchery in the “American Heartland”: Protest at Iowa House

"It's an universal law-intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated behaves with arrogance impatience, whereas a truly profound education breeds humility."
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

""Tolerance of intolerance is cowardice."
- Avaan Hirsi Ali

Shysters and Witchery in the “American Heartland”: Protest at Iowa House

Well, it happened again. Another dark spot on the lungs of Midwest America. This time the blight came in yet another show of conservative Christian ‘values’ on the chamber floor of Ohio’s House of Representatives.

When the demoness walked in, there was no outright sorcery that signaled her arrival. The lights didn’t dim. There were no disembodied voices, cackling, or pungent odor. Aside from some sneers and an audible gasp by a leering spinster sitting in the first row white-knuckling her King James in some self-induced personal hell, the day seemed pretty cheery.

That was until Cedar Rapids witch Debora Maynard had the gall to offer a morning prayer on behalf of the local Wiccan populace. Things then got cheap and ugly. At the moment Maynard began to utter a uniquely beautiful prayer which appealed to “god, goddess, universe, that which is greater than ourselves”, Rep. Rob Taylor smugly turned his back in clear disrespect of the woman’s expression of belief. It was an odd and almost frightening gesture. Like he forgot where he was or got simply lost. People in attendance spoke of his face going blank and a strange sort of pleading.

Later, he began to jabber about Jesus being in the room like some quack TV evangelist. He babbled stupidly about cornering Maynard and having a ‘conversation’ as to “why Jesus’ way was the best way.” It sounded goofy and more than a little threatening. It was a cheap shot clearly meant to wound. But he wasn’t the only one. A sleazy zealot named Bob Vander Platt from the Family Leader Conservative Christian Organization also weighed in saying the Wiccan prayer is a “stunning development that many Christians across the state recognize has spiritual ramifications.” Which may be true but not even a soul eater would deny the benefits of religious pluralism in fostering societal growth.

Unless of course if the compulsion for control and a high-roller lust to maintain a stinking status quo overrides any accurate representation of the Will of the people. Pastor Michael Demastus of the Fort Des Moines Church of Christ understands this. Demastus is a legendary fool who has talked time and again of Christian Jihad against anything ‘not-Jesus’. More than once he has remarked about the Christian darkness that can be summoned during Sunday services. During Maynard’s opening prayer, witnessed described him throwing back his head and howling. He frothed at the mouth and kept repeating something about ‘shadows filling the room’. He wept openly. Later, he said stupidly, “I was praying for her salvation. I was praying that she would come to know the one true God. I believe that the occult is dark. I do believe that’s not the place to seek guidance from, so I was not praying against her. I was praying against what she was doing.” Only a malcontent would say such a ghoulish thing but he isn’t fooling anybody. Everybody knows that Pastor Demastus is a swindler more in love with whiskey and contributions from the flock than he is with Jesus. But at least he doesn’t hold public office.

Turning his back wasn’t a strong maneuver for Taylor. As of late, he’s seemed completely disoriented and at times vacant while trying to do his job. There’s been talk of harlots, crack and horrible sobbing when asked about accountability. The kind of talk meant to humiliate and make a smoking ruin of even the most promising political career. In less than a year he’ll be as untouchable as a wasp and mocked openly in public. People will turn their backs when he speaks and jeer him at local restaurants. His email servers will be saturated with thousands of gifs of him turning around endlessly with captions like ‘Hating for Jesus’ and ‘Who needs diversity’. All for the lulz.

In fairness, there were bright spots during the morning prayer ritual. Rep. Liz Bennett (D) remarked that she wasn’t offended by Taylor’s blatant reptilian nature. She remarked, “My purpose in inviting Deborah was not to force anyone to listen to anything they are uncomfortable listening to, Iowa is a very diverse state.” This seems to be the general consensus regardless if one of their local politicians is out of touch and out of step with American cultural values. Maynard herself made the most poignant statement of the event when she said, “It was awe-inspiring. It was humbling. A little scary to be the first one to do something like that in the state of Iowa and the third one in the nation.” Perhaps the most important thing to take away from this is that a representative of the people found offensive a woman who was already nervous about setting a positive impression of her personal beliefs. Is this the kind of leadership Iowa wants in 2015? We’ll leave it to the open market and let the votes make the call but at some point when our chosen representatives act like hateful shysters, it’s time for Other representatives.

Here is the transcript of Maynard’s invocation

 “We call this morning to god, goddess, universe, that which is greater than ourselves to be with us here today. By the earth that is in our bones and centers us, may all here remember our roots and those we are here to represent. By the fire that gives us light and passion, may all here remain passionate about the work that must be done for the people of Iowa. By the air that gives us breath and logic, may all here find thoughtful solutions to the problems that are presented. By the water that flows through our blood and stirs our emotions, may all here draw an emotional intelligence which helps us see the inherent worth and dignity of every person. We call this morning to spirit ever present, to help us respect the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Be with us and this legislative body and guide them to seek justice, equity and compassion in the work that is before them today. Blessed be, Aho and Amen. “


*Pic courtesy Stephen Mally (Cedar Rapids Gazette)