Category Archives: Comment

Review: “The Hermetic Marriage,” Pentameters Theatre, 22nd March 2014

The Butterfly Wheel

The Butterfly Wheel

Hermeticism. Tarot. Kate Bush. Tarot. With these four words of power I was evoked to visible appearance in Hampstead, north London, to view a performance of “The Hermetic Marriage.” This was a music / dance piece created by The Butterfly Wheel, and staged at Pentameters Theatre. This, incidentally, is a tiny venue, with capacity for only sixty in the audience, mainly known for poetry and fringe theatre. The venue-owner told me afterwards that this was the first time she had taken a chance on a piece like this – but her gamble had obviously paid off, as the production had sold out every night of its three-week run.

This being more an immersive art experience rather than just a simple performance, I shall describe my experiences subjectively…

As I entered the auditorium, I heard the delightfully named Alice Ancient and Moon Child vamping ambient textures with synth and haunting vocals. These two ladies were positioned – with their band – stage right, dressed as high priestesses for the rite which was to follow.

Solomonic Seal

Solomonic Seal

The place was daubed with occultish symbols, whilst on the floor of the central performance area was the Seal of Mercury from the Key of Solomon. (Hmm! This is the second time an artist has used the Key of Solomon to conjure me to appearance!) I took my place in the audience at the back on one of the wooden chairs used instead of conventional theatrical seats.

A young man came up to me with a tray of lucky charms and asked me to pick one. I did so at random: he told me I had picked the Hand of Fatima, which wards off all evil spirits. “Oh, cheers!” I said. I tried licking it but it had no discernible effect.

As Jim Morrison was wont to say, “Is everybody in? Let the ceremony begin!” First came an invocation of Sophia – the four dancers, two male and two female, portraying Her plight as she is forced to surrender her baby to the corruption of the material universe. Meanwhile, behind everyone a rapid succession of images projected onto the back wall: pre-filmed sequences alternating with a multiplicity of symbols – satanic – masonic – alchemical – rosicrucian and more.

Throughout the evening’s performance, the dancers played the parts of the Philosophical King and Queen; of Cernunnos; of angels and devils fighting for the souls of mortal lovers, and ultimately the Sun and Moon themselves. Meanwhile, six musicians in total – the Butterfly Wheel and their accompanists, and two others who appeared for a sequence set in Hell upon Earth – played compositions which bore the influence of the aforementioned Kate Bush crossed with Patti Smith, Jim Morrison during his more poetic meanderings, Irish folk, blues and country.

At its conclusion, I figured from audience remarks saying “Ooh! There were a load of ideas to consider,” that they were all clearly bamboozled. Clearly however, the whole thing was a sophisticated and highly unconventional magickal operation – the overall theme of which was to manifest the Hermetic Marriage in actuality, and raise the consciousness of the Earth thereby.

Unfortunately, the current run at the Pentameters Theatre has now ended: however the Butterfly Wheel will be taking their show to the Berlin Pychedelic Festival next month.

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An Open Letter to the UK Government, on behalf of all Authors

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.That's a mighty big case just to carry a resignation letter! :P

George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

I first wrote a letter like this in 2011. The law has not changed since then! Fortunately though, the UK Government today has yet another chance to get it right, as today Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne makes his Budget Statement.

To: the Rt Hon David Cameron MP, Prime Minister.

CC: The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Dear Sir,

Firstly, others of a churlish disposition might point out the irony of me posting an open letter to you on this, the kind of web-site you are trying hard to censor – but I am above that! Perhaps if my loyal readers re-blog or share this often enough, it might actually come up on your radar, as it were (hint hint).

Anywho, I appreciate you have a lot on your plate right now, and you are probably fed up to the back teeth with people adding to your woes by intimating that you may not have got it exactly right with the state of VAT policy right now.

Which is rather unfortunate as that is the precise reason why I am writing this letter.

However, I am not going to waste your time by going on a long rant about the fact that increasing indirect taxation only works during a time of economic prosperity because in a recession poor people don’t have the opportunity to get a higher paid job in order to escape their increased costs of living. Instead – I would like to take issue with the status as regards to Books and Ebooks. The situation is basically this:-

Currently, printed books are not subject to VAT – but Ebooks are.

Ever since VAT was introduced back in the 70s, successive Governments have shied away from putting VAT on books because they did not want to be accused of placing a “tax on knowledge.” Fair enough – but Ebooks contain just as much knowledge as print books, so on this basis they should be subject to the same preferential treatment, should they not?

Moreover – there is the environmental issue. Producing printed books entails chopping down lots of rain-forests, and is a far more costlier process than producing an ebook. Ebooks, however, can be sold at a far-lower price per unit than print books, for much the same reasons that it is cheaper to download MP3s than buy CDs – and no trees are hurt in the process. For a Government that is seriously committed to the Environment, surely the enlightened approach is to favour Ebooks over print-books.

IMHO, Ebooks are the future – especially when it comes to everyday reading. I can only think of two reasons at all why paper-books should continue to exist in the future. Firstly – Antiquarianism and the antiquarian book trade, for whom old editions of books and manuscripts are its raison d’etre. Secondly – gift books. After all, there is great value in getting a copy of a book autographed by the author – but unfortunately there is no comparable way to do this electronically.

There are some strange people who think they can’t do without the “feel” of a book in their hands, but I have no sympathy for them. If they are so kinesthetically-oriented, perhaps they would like to imagine that they have the sap of innocent trees on their hands as well? (Hey, it’s not quite as dramatic a metaphor as having blood on ones hands but give me some sort of credit!)

So to summarise – to recognise the increasing importance of Ebooks in the modern day world – and for environmental reasons – either put VAT on printed books but not ebooks (the reverse of the current situation); or abolish VAT on both books and Ebooks altogether.

Yours sincerely,

Alex Sumner


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QOTD: And the Lord said ‘let there be a Big Bang’ | JPost | Israel News

As Greenberg describes it: “Torah doesn’t say that God waved a magic wand and everything appeared; according to Kabbalah, He created a complex evolutionary system through which infinite Divine energy evolves into finite forms.”

via And the Lord said ‘let there be a Big Bang’ | JPost | Israel News.

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March 18, 2014 · 3:59 pm

Fred Phelps: the Initiated view

Admiral Ackbar: It's a trap!

The Admiral knows best

News of Fred Phelps imminent passing has produced a strangely consistent reaction in the world outside the Westboro Baptist Church. Much of it is seriously unwise – for the following reason:

Dead men serve no libel writs.But dying men can.

And what’s more, if he begins a libel action before he dies, his estate can carry it on afterwards.

That’s right: everyone who has thought fit to crow about this man’s predicament before he’s actually gone has potentially opened themselves up to a law suit. And this includes every website which has allowed libellous comments on articles reporting the situation.

So be sensible. Don’t give Fred Phelps the last laugh. Keep shtum.

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The Ukrainian Pentagram Ritual

Political Map of Ukraine


  1. Stand facing east.
  2. Close your eyes, and visualise yourself standing in the middle of the country of Ukraine – somewhere near Cherkasy (see map). Now imagine that your astral form grows to a colossal height – so much so, that you can look round and see all of the territory of Ukraine around you.
  3. Perform the Qabalistic Cross: ATEH MALKUTH VE GEBURAH VE GEDULAH LE-OLAM. AMEN!
  4. Trace a banishing Pentagram to the East, imagining it standing on the Eastern border of the country, with Russia. Vibrate: YOD HEH VAV HEH!

    banishing earth pentagram

    Banishing pentagram. Start from the lower left point and continue around, finishing where you started.

  5. Turn to the South. Trace another banishing pentagram over the Black Sea. Vibrate: ADONAI!
  6. Turn to the West. Trace another banishing pentagram on the Slovakia / Poland border. Vibrate: EHEIEH!
  7. Turn to the North. Trace a fourth banishing pentagram on the border with Belarus. Vibrate: AGLA!
  8. Turn to face East again. Imagine that a ring of light surrounds you, connecting the four pentagrams.
  9. Visualise, in the east, a giant angelic figure, wearing shining yellow robes, edged in purple. He is surrounded by clouds, and he holds a dagger. Say: “Before me, guarding the Russian Border, stands RAPHAEL!
  10. Imagine that behind you another giant angelic figure stands. He has robes of electric blue, edged in orange. He holds a giant Chalice. Say: “Behind me, guarding the approaches from Central Europe, stands GABRIEL!
  11. Visualise a third giant Angel on your right. He wears robes of bright red, edged in green, and is surrounded by flames. He holds a large red Fire Wand. Say: “To my right, guarding the Crimea and the Black Sea coast, is MICHAEL!
  12. Visualise a fourth giant Angel on your left. He wears multi-coloured robes of citrine, olive, russet and black, and holds a giant Pentacle. Say: “To my left, guarding the approaches from Belarus and the north-eastern border with Russia, stands AURIEL!
  13. Now visualise the pentagrams, and the ring of light connecting them, glowing brighter than ever before – so bright that you can imagine it hurting your eyes to look upon. Say: “For around the whole country of Ukraine flames the Pentagrams!”
  14. Above your head, imagine a shining white Hexagram. Say: “And above Ukraine shines the six-rayed star!”
  15. Repeat the Qabalistic Cross.


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America The Beautiful wasn’t sung in English? Cry me a river


“They didn’t sing it in my language, either.”

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February 5, 2014 · 10:28 am

Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death | Spirit Science and Metaphysics


Scientists Claim That Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves To Another Universe At Death | Spirit Science and Metaphysics.

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QOTD: Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

“We cannot solve our problems with the samethinking that we used when we created them.”


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December 17, 2013 · 10:04 am

Witch sacked for taking Halloween off work to attend Wiccan ceremony wins £15,000 after claiming religious discrimination | Mail Online

Karen Holland, the Witch who successfully won damages for unfair dismissal.

Q. When is the only time that nazi propaganda rag the Daily Mail is at least remotely fair to Wicca and Paganism? A. When there is an even worse Religion – i.e. in the Daily Mail’s view – to be attacked in the same article! So for example, here is a heart-warming tale of a Wiccan who was sacked after taking time off to celebrate Samhain, who went on to triumph at the Employment Tribunal when claiming unfair dismissal. The Daily Mail does not have a history of being kind to Wiccans, but in this instance because her employers were Sikhs it decided to side with her. Now I could try to infer that here is a none too subtle indication of the Daily Mail’s inherent racism against those of Indian ethnicity, but that would be churlish so I won’t. Anyway, here’s the story:

Source: Witch sacked for taking Halloween off work to attend Wiccan ceremony wins £15,000 after claiming religious discrimination | Mail Online.

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Foretelling the Future – How Not To Do It

Astrologer poking his head out of the sphere of fixed stars to see what lies beyond

“Help! I’m stuck!” ;-)

In an article in the forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research, researchers report that the way people react to a prediction of the future (e.g. an astrological forecast), depends to a large extent on the extent to which they believe in fate. In some circumstances this may lead to seemingly counter-intuitive behaviour. (NB: this story was misreported in the Daily Telegraph today under a headline luridly suggesting horoscopes may be bad for you, despite the fact that technically speaking, no actual astrology took place during the study concerned.)

The gist of their findings is this: if you give a prediction of ill-omen to someone who believes fate is malleable, that person is likely to choose a “virtuous” course of action (i.e. in an attempt to avert the omen). However, if you give the same prediction to someone who believes fate is fixed, they are likely to just thing “F— it,” and just go do something self-indulgent. In such a situation, trying to use the prediction as a warning to them to mend their ways will end up having the opposite effect that which is intended.

This has potentially important implications for those of us who practice divination, either in the form of Astrology, Tarot, or some other method.

In order to make use of divination as an effective tool to help someone, it is necessary first to make them understand that their Fate is not fixed, that they still have free will and therefore the choice to either avoid or accept the message being given to them. There is an old saying: the stars impel, they do not compel. This rather goes back to the ancient Hermetic view of the universe, which was that it was possible to rise above the influence of the stars and the planets if one were to ascend in consciousness – to “free one’s mind,” in other words. Divination – typically in the form of astrology – was thus the key to achieving this freedom, as it enabled the individual to be fully informed of the route he or she needed to take in life – rather than be imprisoned in a deterministic, mechanistic universe.

This approach can be applied by analogy to other forms of Divination, e.g. the Tarot, which releases intuitive insights from the consciousness of the reader. Instead of predicting the future, per se, the divination is in fact pointing out present causes: and, indeed, present opportunities. These only create a “fate” where the querent is unwilling to take responsibility for his or her own actions.

My tarot themed novel, Taromancer, is free until December 11th 2013. Hurry to download a copy now!

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