I’ve never met Oprah Winfrey, so I cannot attest to her actual personability or character. But the negative cultural effects of her show are pretty apparent, and the fact that culturally and journalisticly she is shit takes precedent over how nice a person she may actually be.
I’m old enough to remember her blind promoting of the Satanic Ritual Abuse conspiracy theories. I got to watch her create the creature that is the not-really-a-doctor Dr. Phil and the damage he inflicted upon the public’s understanding of psychology. I witnessed her inflict the snake oil salesman that is Dr. Oz on the world. People are literally dying because of the boost she gave to antivaxxer nutjob Jenny McCarthy. Oh, and she introduced us to the nonsense of The Secret.
I think it was Stephen Posch that gave a talk about animal sacrifice at Paganicon (Sorry Stephen — I can’t find my notes and for some reason Pagnicon doesn’t have the class listed in the old online schedule). The presenter was discussing Wiccan ritual structure, and how raising the cone of power was adapted to fill the hole where animal sacrifice would occupy a ritual from antiquity. I haven’t followed up that theory with any research of my own, but it makes sense: most religions in antiquity had some manner of sacrifice, and the Victorian sensibilities of Gardner would not have been amenable to including the practice in his creation.
As a young magical practitioner, that bias against flesh offerings extended to other types of offerings. Offerings in general were devotion, you see, and that sounded an awful lot like submission, which good magicians discarded along with their Christian backgrounds. Magic was all about energy and will, you see, and I took pride in not kneeling before any gods. Continue reading
I honestly can’t recall if it was Pete Carroll or Phil Hine or both that made a discussion of retroactive enchantment. (It was probably Carroll, since that would fit in well with his cosmological model and his view on the malleability of time, but I’m not really in the mood to look it up and be sure.) Either way, the concept is a fairly clear one: you work a spell that manifests through channels that suggest events were changed in your favor at a time prior to your working of the spell. Either by directly targeting an already past event or through a haphazard coincidence of best available channels for manifestation, the cause (the spell) comes after the effect (the change).
John Beckett asks an interesting question: Must Paganism be Transgressive?
Do we lose something when a radical spiritual movement starts to be accepted by the mainstream? Or is it more complicated than that?
Beckett looks at a few other discussions going on in the Pagan blogosphere in examining this question. I saw a few themes that I’ve talked and thought about before, so I felt the need to open my big mouth.
A while back Satyr Magos was showing off a bit and introduced me to Rufus Opus‘ Seven Spheres, a short but marvelous book with a unique and powerful approach to planetary magick. The book employs conjuration rather than invocation, and engages the planetary forces from the top down rather than from the earth sphere up. More significantly, the approach to the planetary intelligences is framed as one of “kingship,” with Jupiter (rather than Saturn) being the first force conjured. In essence, this transforms the entire working into a long scale Jovian work, which was exactly what I was looking for.
I’ve been doing ritual magick in some form since I first bought Don Kraig’s Modern Magick 20 years ago. Much of that was based in Golden Dawn derived ritual, performed alone for my personal benefit in the dark corner of wherever I happened to live. Early group rituals were largely impromptu, and with small groups of no more than 6 people.
In college, I became involved with a student group that had Sabbat rituals, and I participated in and facilitated some of those, which generally had around a dozen people. I’ve worked with other groups having about the same or fewer participants, and usually enjoyed positive results. Continue reading
I’ve been doing ceremonial magick for many, many years, but I’ve never progressed beyond elemental magick before. The rituals seemed too complex, and I wasn’t confident enough in what I was doing. I also didn’t really understand what the end game in such ritual work.
DON inspired me several months ago to revisit my ceremonial magick practice with renewed vigor. My primary goal, as always, was mundane: refocus my life and find a new career path. I got back to regularly performing the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram and working with the elemental energies, but DON’s influence led me in a direction that I always flirted with but never really committed to: the invocation of my personal genius. And since I was exploring new things, I decided that working with planetary energies might help that work. Continue reading