Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Modeling Works Both Ways: Beware the Broken

If you do what someone does, you'll get what they have and you'll become what they are. Modeling works. It's powerful, and it can lead both to success and failure. Remember that when you wonder if it would be a good idea to emulate the practices of someone (whether those practices are magical or mundane.) If someone promises you that their advice will make you successful, don't listen to their words. Look at what they are. Examine their lives, their thinking, their results.

It bothers me to see so many messed up, dysfunctional occultists, witches, and other magical practitioners handing out advice to their followers and readers. If someone's magical practice has turned them into a credulous wreck, you would be wise to look elsewhere for advice. If you believe that spending long years drug-addled, gullible, and paranoid is a necessary step to "enlightenment," then by all means, go ahead and do it. But if you want to become successful in the real world, you may want to rethink your strategy and adjust accordingly.

I have had the opportunity to meet people who are incredibly successful by just about every metric -- personally, physically, financially, romantically -- and none of them, NOT ONE, has been a magic user in the way that most people think of it. They have all been extremely efficient at using psychology to get their way (whether intentionally or not), but none of them got where they are by firing off sigilis while they masturbate in their bedrooms. And if they DID use some sort of magic to get where they are, they don't talk about it.

Now, there are a lot of ways to measure success, and, certainly, some people desire the kinds of trippy, synchronicity-filled experiences that so many occultists end up living through, but a lot of them come out of it broken because they are modeling what broken people do instead of modeling success. The Work is dangerous, yes, and many people will be broken simply by virtue of attempting to attain it, but you will up your chances for success considerably by carefully assessing who it is that you choose to call "teacher."

If your desire to do magic is driven by a desire to succeed on a mundane level, do not seek out someone who is attempting to rewire their reality for internal peak experiences. Seek out someone who is successful on a mundane level. Of course, the danger of that is you might not hear what you want to hear. You might hear that instead of sigils and grimoires and spells, you're going to have to go out and get a real career and network with boring people and go to the gym and do the mundane, tedious WORK that creates the foundation for success. And nobody wants that, right?

The "magical" path as it is usually presented online is littered with the fractured psyches of those who employed nonsense to get nowhere. Watch your step.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Life Intrudes

Work, work, work. I've been buried under it. It's a mercy and a pain in the ass. Lord knows I could use the cash, particularly as the holidays loom (I promised my mother the new HDTV that she's been wanting; that's going to take the biggest chunk as I have resolved to use no credit this year and only buy what I can pay for outright with cash.) I work from home, and I've been feeling a little isolated, like a kid home sick watching all of her friends play outside while she's stuck in bed. I've been doing lots of whining.

Sometimes I feel like it would be healthy for me to get a part-time job outside of the house. At least I would be around other people a little more. But a part-time gig at this time of year would most likely mean retail. No thank you. I have done enough retail to last me three lifetimes, and retail at Christmas is soul-destroying in a way I can't afford right now.

I've been having bad dreams lately, including a whopper of a nightmare about my late father that put me into a funk for an entire day. That one hit during the dark moon, a really weird time for me, usually.

My new tarot deck continues to delight and amaze. I am so happy I decided to get into it and wonder why I didn't do it sooner. I'll be starting a series of meditations on the cards this week.

The fall colors are at their peak in my part of the world as my absolute favorite time of year descends upon us. The neghbors have been lighting their fireplaces, and the smell at night is intoxicating.

Overall, I'm feeling loaded down with mundane crap right now -- family, job, friends, health, house. I feel a little disconnected from my gods and guardians, and my spiritual year work has taken a backseat. I feel like I need to nest and retreat, and I'm not sure that's what's actually good for me right now.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Weekend Plans

Energy Update

I just had to slam a brick wall shield up and mirror it. I didn't need to draw anything. The extra energy buzzing through me was enough to solidify that shield almost before I thought of it. Before I did, I walked outside and tossed some roots into the ground from my palms. The juice was flowing out so strong, my whole upper body was rocking back and forth as it pumped out. I have been neglecting shields lately, and this is me paying the price. Back to daily work. I don't want to get hit like that again. 

Ungrounded

Good lord, there is a lot of energy flying around today. My hands are shaking and my anxiety has ramped up big time. I thought that it was JUST anxiety until I noticed the dogs acting weird and went for a little walk. The hot spots around the neighborhood are LIT UP. I had to ground a shit-ton of extra energy into one of my traps, and I still feel a little buzzed and jittery. I need to put it to good use. I've already done some cleaning, but I think I need to get back outside. This is more than my traps can handle. I need to get rooted into the earth and let some of this go.

Card Game

When it comes to divination, I'm a simple kind of gal. I usually either use a pendulum and grid or toss some stones and bones on a painted altar cloth. Although I have always loved the imagery of the tarot, I've never actually worked with a deck. I don't know why. I guess I just never really felt like I needed it. A long, long time ago, I was given a Hanson-Roberts deck. I would play with it occasionally, but I never really learned how to use it. I lost it in a move years back. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Lately, I have been feeling a distinct push to get myself a new deck and see where it leads me. Maybe I've been reading too much Golden Dawn stuff. I find the complex correspondences of astrology, Qabala, and the tarot fascinating, even though I have little interest in astrology (other than occasionally reading a horoscope or two and ranting about how it doesn't fit) or Qabalistic cerermonial magic. In any case, I feel like it would be fun to get into, so I broke down and got myself a deck.

This one to be exact: The Easy Tarot. I bought it mostly because it uses The Gilded Tarot, which I find really lovely:

but also because it's for beginners. I have a feeling I will be discovering my own meanings for the cards rather than following the book, but I'll take all the help I can get. i hope to start an on-going series of tarot meditations here after the deck arrives.

 

Awesome Literary Posters by ObviousState

 

I was just lurking on Tumblr when I saw a post about these really sweet literary posters from ObviousState on Etsy. There are a few that I am thinking seriously of buying.

 

The Red Queen

I saw her first in a cavern made of amber. I'm still not sure whether it was a dream or a waking vision. It doesn't matter anymore. The reality of it has been established, solidified by signs and long conversations and a particularly sticky night spent sweating and dancing and fucking.

She slithered along the floor in a violently scarlet gown, with long hair golden and black. The cavern glowed faintly, the rock itself illuminated from within. I was backed into a corner. She appeared from a bend in the corridor. I sensed without seeing that it went on for miles, maybe even to the other side of the world, but I also sensed that I was not allowed to walk that hall. Not yet. Over us stretched the World Ocean, as vast as space. I could see it through an opening in the ceiling. The black water dripped down into the hall but did not flood it.

She said nothing. She looked me over and smiled. It was a shifting smile. She looked the way you do when you stare into a mirror for too long -- familiar yet alien, serene and dangerous at the same time. She stretched out a hand to me and from her wrist dangled a silver bracelet loaded with charms. They rang out in the silence of the hall like bells, like chimes.

I reached for her hand, terrified and desperately in love at the same time, but before I could grasp it, a great call sounded from the Ocean. She gave me one last mercurial smile and expoloded in a whirlwind of color and sound. She spiraled up through the opening in the ceiling and into the Sea. I am not sure who or what called to her.

I awoke after that, or that is all I can remember. I have seen glimpses of her since then, felt her presence, even danced with her, but I still do not know her Name. She will tell me when she thinks I am ready. I call her the Red Queen or the Mother. She is the serpent, the lion, and the blood-red rose. I hope to see her again like that. I hope to meet her in the amber cavern and see her stretch out her hand to me. I hope the next time I am able to take that hand and follow her into the Ocean.

Small Update

Made a few small changes to my "Who I Am" page and post to be a bit clearer about my beliefs. Or, at least, as clear as I can be. They're a bit fuzzy to me at times.

Curse Tablet Found in Jerusalem

Ancient Magic Curse Tablet Found in Jerusalem : Discovery News

"I strike and strike down and nail down the tongue, the eyes, the wrath, the ire, the anger, the procrastination, the opposition of Iennys," part of the curse reads in translation. Kyrilla asks the gods to ensure that "he in no way oppose, so that he say or perform nothing adverse to Kyrilla … but rather that Iennys, whom the womb bore, be subject to her…"

To obtain her goal Kyrilla combined elements from four religions, Robert Walter Daniel, of the Institut für Altertumskunde at the University of Cologne, told LiveScience in an email. Of six gods invoked, four of them are Greek (Hermes, Persephone, Pluto and Hecate), one is Babylonian (Ereschigal) and one, Abrasax, is Gnostic, a religion connected to early Christianity. Additionally, the text contains magic words such as "Iaoth" that have a Hebrew/Judaism origin.

Archaeologists have found a curse tablet dating from the 3rd century C.E. in the ruins of a mansion in Jerusalem. The tablet was probably made by a magician for someone named Kyrilla and was directed at a man named Iennys. It invoked the assistance of six gods from three pantheons, and contained an plea to Underworld daimons:

come to me, you who are in the earth, chthonic daemon, you who rule and bind…

The mansion itself was destroyed in an earthquake that hit the area 1,700 years ago, and other priceless artifacts were found along with the tablet. I would love to see the box detailed below. What were the carved bone fragments for, and why were they in a box dedicated to Dionysos. Was it religious? Magical? Or was it just a bit of decoration?

Archaeologists Doron Ben Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, both with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told LiveScience in an email they discovered the remains of mosaics and frescos that contain geometric and floral motifs near the tablet. They also found carved bone fragments from a box that depict the "Triumph of Dionysus," a Greek god, along with maritime imagery such as seahorses.

Here is a picture of some of the magical symbols used in the tablet, enhanced by me:

And here they are traced over:

Finally, a picture of a gem cameo depicting cupid, also found in the remains of the mansion:

Sources:

http://www.livescience.com/40637-ancient-curse-photos.html

http://news.discovery.com/history/religion/ancient-magic-curse-tablet-discovered-in-jerusalem-131023.htmhttp://paganwiccan.about.com/b/2013/10/24/ancient-curse-tablet-found-in-jerusalem.htm?r=twt

And, finally, my thanks to the About Pagan/Wiccan Twitter feed for posting the news.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Etiquette and Tradition

Emily Post and the Occult | Strategic Sorcery Blog

We live in a wildly eclectic world, and now have access to secret traditions that we would never have even heard about in the past, much less gained access to. This accessibility is, I believe, the gift of the age. It is also an opportunity for disrespect, silliness, and even danger if not approached with a sense of etiquette.

Respectful etiquette guideline for working within a spiritual tradition from the Strategi Sorcery blog.

Conjuring Up Our Own Gods

Conjuring Up Our Own Gods - NYTimes.com

The mere fact that people like Jack find it intuitively possible to have invisible companions who talk back to them supports the claim that the idea of an invisible agent is basic to our psyche. But Jack’s story also makes it clear that experiencing an invisible companion as truly present — especially as an adult — takes work: constant concentration, a state that resembles prayer.

Interesting little article on thoughtforms and created entities. Doesn't do much more than barely scratch the surface, but it's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, as I have done this more than once.

Hat tip to the Wild Hunt for the link.

Goatman Illustration by Chris Rodenhurst


Goat of Hades by French


Goat of Hades by French

Baa, Baa Black Sheep by Paula Rego

Paul Rego nursery rhyme illustration

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Atonement

Many years ago, I did a terrible thing. I won't go into the details. It is enough to say that I caused terrible, undeserved pain while in the depths of the blackest period of my depression. Through my own neglect, I caused pain. There are many reasons but no excuses.

Now I am being called to pay for this pain I caused. I can't go back and undo it, but it's time to give up my pound of flesh. I think the blood I saw on the tree today was a part of it, a sign, a reminder that I have never truly sacrificed to make up for the terrible thing I did.

So now I need to work out where that pound of flesh will come from and to whom it will be paid.

I am planning to begin the work as the tides change at the end of this month. I will pay what I owe and ask for forgiveness. I hope that by doing this, I will be able to forgive myself as well.

Signs of the Day

In which I keep a record of things noticed thoughout the day.

1. A dream about my brother being injured. With his recent illness, this troubles me.

2. A vision of blood on the side of an oak tree in the middle of my property.

3. An invitation from a nearby circle. Not sure about this one yet. I need more information before I make any decisions.

Honey Cake Recipe from SulphurBlue

Honey Cake Recipe from SulphurBlue

Serendipitous. There is a little glen behind my house which I just recently discovered. It's a pretty thin place and a little dark. Whatever it is that's there is protecting something, but they let me spend some time there in exhange for promises of an offering. When I asked what they wanted, the only answer I got was "honeycakes." So I've been poking around for a simple recipe. I've found some online, but none that really felt right. But this one does and looks fairly easy and delicious. I think I'll add some blackbery and honey glaze to the top when its done, since the glen is quite nearby a thicket of blackberry bushes.

Slight Name Change

I changed the permanent name of my blog to Ivy and Honeysuckle. While I really love "Book of Vines," and will be keeping the BlogSpot URL, I feel it was too close to Sannion's excellent House of Vines for comfort. Since "The Honeysuckle Library" was one of the names I considered, this seems like a good compromise.

Everything is Controversial

Within contemporary paganism | The House of Vines

Within contemporary paganism, everything is controverisal. A nice little collection of links from Sannion about some of the more contested issues within modern pagansim, which are, apparently, all of them. I say do what you do and screw what everybody else thinks. Respect is important, and introspection and analysis can be helpful, but, at the end of the day, it's between you and whomever it is you serve. Or between you and yourself if you don't serve anyone. Does it make you happy? Does it advance the Work? Does it please the spirits? Fan-flipping-tastic. Keep on truckin'.

The idea that anyone can say with certainty what the right way or wrong way is to walk your path is something I abandoned a long time ago. The gods, if they be gods at all, are perfectly capable of correcting us if we overstep our bounds. 

Who Am I?

I am an amateur rock collector, a mediocre mystic, and a flaky pseudo-pagan. On a good day, I work myself up to hard polytheism and get terribly grouchy about it. Other days, I call myself a polytheist animist and let it go at that.

I venerate my ancestors and the spirits of the land. I'm as likely to light a candle and ask the Blessed Mother or St. Michael to bless my Catholic grandmothers and grandfathers as I am to call on my Guardians to open the way to the Others.

I seek out ecstasy wherever I can find it. I am an ethical hedonist and decadent.

I have been doing this far too long to worry about what other people think of me or what I do. I am old, beat up, and broken, but I still get up in the morning and carry on. That's about all I can ask for. I cuss, I complain, and I am fiercely loyal. Feel free to stop by for a while. Mind the mess.

New Poster for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel

Look at that cast!

The Book of Vines

They cover and hide. They are written on his skin and in her heart. They are wild ecstasy, and they are dangerous to touch.