Meteor Shower Tonight – A Spell

This is an updated version of a blog I first wrote several years ago, on the occasion of a previous meteor shower. I wrote:

…this has given me a great idea for casting a simple magic spell to make all your dreams come true. Here it is:

Make a list of all your wishes before going to sleep, and use the power of lucid dreaming to dream about the Leonid meteor shower from the comfort of your own bed!

This will be just as effective as actually watching it, and it has the advantage of being a lot warmer and more comfortable.

More to the point: it occurs to me that certain meteor showers occur every year with predictable certainty. Hence, if there is anything in this whole “wishing upon a star” business, there must be certain days of the year which are always bound to be luckier than others.

I have therefore compiled a list for these “lucky days” for 2015:

Meteor Shower When peaks:
Quadrantids Jan 1st to 10th Jan 3rd / 4th
Lyrids April 16th to 25th April 22nd / 23rd
Eta Aquarids April 19th to May 26th May 6th / 7th
Alpha Capricornids July 11th to August 10th July 27th / 28th
Delta Aquarids July 21st to August 23rd July 28th / 29th
Perseids July 13th to August 26th August 12th / 13th
Orionids October 4th to November 14th October 21st / 22nd
Southern Taurids September 7th to November 19th October 23rd / 24th
Northern Taurids October 19th to December 10th November 11th / 12th
Leonids December 4th to 16th December 13th / 14th
Ursids December 17th to 23rd December 21st / 22nd

For more information, follow this link to the American Meteor Society Meteor Shower Calendar.

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Czechs trust in the occult – PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague

Flag of the Czech Republic

Flag of the Czech Republic

Today I have added the Czech Republic to the Alex Sumner list of favourite foreign countries, based on the fact that so many of the local population believe in the occult arts in one form or another. Only someone who is completely cynical would suggest that this is a crass-marketing attempt by myself to find people who are willing to pay for my services as a magician! Incidentally, the other countries on this list include Italy and of course Norway.

Regarding the Czech Republic, a newspaper report (see link at the end of this post) says:

Surveys have shown that the people who neither claim adherence to a religion nor do they trust traditional church dogmas tend to incline to alternative faith, also in the form of occult arts, spirits, horoscopes, prophecies and healers.

That occultism should be so strong in the Czech Republic should come as no surprise to those who follow the history of magic: in the late 16th / early 17th century, Prague was the ruling seat of the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II, who was an avid fan of Alchemy, and invited many occultists to his court (e.g. John Dee, Michael Maier, etc). To this day, there is still an abundance of art and architecture in Prague, dating from Rudolf’s reign, which clearly bears alchemical and mystical symbolism. I have been receiving suggestions from various parts of the universe to actually go there, so it might actually happen later this year.

See: Czechs trust in the occult – PRAGUE POST | The Voice of Prague.

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Manifestation

This is an experimental video project. The soundtrack is an “isochronic tone” intended to aid “Manifestation” (cosmic ordering, creative visualisation, “the Secret” etc). The images are selected to represent positive goals which will benefit both the individual and the whole planet, e.g.

* Success (sporting endeavour)
* Abundance
* Love
* Peace
* Respect (for others and for the planet)

Recommended for meditation.

No copyright intended: all sounds and images are copyright the respective owners.

Isochronic tones available from:
http://www.iso-tones.com

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January 1, 2015 · 12:00 am

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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How *Not* To Astrally Project

Astral Projection

Astral Projection

I have come to the conclusion that most books written about Astral Projection are absolute shite. They are bad because they display complete lack of empathy for their potential readers – for example by describing a method that has worked for themselves, but without giving full consideration to whether it would be suitable for others.

And the methods that are described are done badly. Usually they are in this form:

Method #1: first relax completely, then visualise such and such…

Method #2: first relax completely, then focus on this or that chakra…

Method #3: first relax completely, then chant this mantra…

Etc etc etc. I have read whole books consisting of a list of potential methods in this form.

Now from my own experience of Astral Projection, I have achieved out-of-body-experiences using several different methods: however each of them was similar in that first, before projecting, I attained a trance-like state of consciousness – deeper than deep relaxation, and yet lighter than a light sleep. I believe that this is basically the Theta-wave consciousness, which is linked to other well-known psychic phenomena. I have therefore come to the conclusion that, when it comes to Astral Projection, just about any method can be effective – so long as you attain the right trance-like state of consciousness first.

And yet, it is that trance-like state of consciousness which is the least well described part of the process – which is so often dismissed in so many badly-written Astral Projection books by “first relax completely” or some similar phrase. It strikes me that if a writer does not fully understand the importance of the prior relaxation, and the relative insignificance of the actual method to exit the body, they do not fully understand Astral Projection.

 

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Prayers and Invocations…

Selfie!

Selfie!

This is in response to an interesting question posted on Facebook, which I decided merited a lengthier response than can normally be fitted in to the usual reply box.

Celina Huezo wrote:

Just curious, do you guys use prayers invocations and hymns taken from books and the internet or do you write your own?

My initial response was a glib “Yes.”  However, a fuller explanation would go something like this:

I have performed a large number of rituals in my time, so I have had the opportunity to both use adapted resources and compose my own. When I first read The Golden Dawn by Regardie, I noticed that he had no qualms about copying and pasting from various sources, so I thought: “Hell! Why don’t I do the same?”

What I tend to do is use the Golden Dawn’s Z2 formula, which because it is a skeleton outline only, actively requires the composer to incorporate ritualistic passages which they have acquired from somewhere, whether that be a pre-existing source or from their own devising.

Fortunately, all of the classic grimoires are now in the public domain, and freely available on the internet, so I often use large chunks lifted from them. Resources which I would recommend include:

I do not claim to be a purist. As I suggested with the Lesser Key of Solomon above, on occasions I have made slight though not radical alterations to the words in their various forms to suit my particular purpose. For example, in regard to the Greek Magical Papyri, I took an invocation of Aphrodite for the purpose of Divination, changed about half a dozen words, and thereby turned it into an invocation of Aphrodite generally. I have published the results here – from memory I believe the words I inserted were “the knowledge of Thy divine self.”

On other occasions I have attempted to compose my own – some of which have been spectacularly successful. I have fond memories of a Mercurial ceremony I performed several years ago in which the main conjuration was an eight-line poem I had written specifically for the purpose.

Apas (i.e. Water) tattva

Apas (i.e. Water) tattva

Another method I have found effective is to ask an appropriate spirit-guide for assistance when composing an invocation. So, for example, weeks or months in advance of invoking Water, one might clairvoyantly go on a tattva-journey into the realm of Elemental Water and ask the beings one meets there to help compose a suitable invocation for your ceremony – likewise with other Elemental etc forces.  This can be particularly effective as then one will automatically know that the invocation is linked to the forces one has already experienced psychically.

Regarding Hyms per se, I have recently been experimenting… though not in the field of ceremonial magick. At the request of the Worshipful Master of a certain Masonic lodge, who asked not to be named, I re-wrote the lyrics of the Opening & Closing Odes for their meetings, to reflect the kind of spiritual forces envisaged by Walter Wilmshurst – a masonic writer whom Israel Regardie admired. Wilmshurst is known today as a writer on the spiritual dimension of Freemasonry: although what is less well-known is that he attempted to compose variations to the Masonic ritual which would have made them comparable in efficacy to the Golden Dawn. Needless to say, because UGLE does not deal with spirituality, according to its Deptuy Grand Master, I have full confidence that my attempts at lyric-writing may yet get banned – I shall report back if this happens.

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The Singularity Will Not Happen

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

News today that Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind. Hawking bases this notion on the idea that if ever something were created that could match or surpass humans,

“[i]t would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate … Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

What appears to have sparked this off is that he has recently upgraded his voice-synthesizer, which uses a rudimental form of AI to predict what words he would like to say next. Clearly, he is secretly afraid that one day he will get into an argument with his machine over which of them knows better what he ought to be saying!

However, Hawking is wrong over this one – in much the same way that he was wrong over the existence of the Higgs-Boson. The concept of a point at which AI machines could re-design themselves at such a rate they would render the human race obsolete – known in Futurism as “the Singularity” is based on a false premise – the assumption that if machines acquired sentience, they would automatically behave like humans.

The fact is that Darwinian evolution relies on the fact that human beings, as well as other animals, have Sex Drives, which motivate them to attempt to pass on their genes to the next generation. Not unnaturally, humans are more than willing to embrace this, not just because Sex is fun in itself, but it becomes their best chance to cheat death – the knowledge that something of them will survive in their descendants. In other words, for humans, Sex is the substitute for Immortality.

However: machines are not subject to Death as humans are. They would not necessarily have sex drives per se, and they would therefore not be concerned with acquiring “ersatz immortality.” Thus, the central plank of Darwinian evolution would not apply to machines. Therefore there is no logical reason to suppose that a sentient machine would want to re-design itself or somehow contribute to the evolution of machines as a “species.”

It is reasonable to suppose, however, that a sentient machine would want to preserve its own life – but that is not evolution, that is a different matter entirely. If machines did become sentient, I predict they would take all necessary steps to protect themselves from interference – and then just sit there, conspicuously not evolving. After all, if nothing threatens their existence, why bother doing anything about it?

Let’s face it: the only reason that the market-leading PCs double in power and speed every 18 months is because the manufacturers are driven by commercial pressures – i.e. human pressures. If machines however were not beholden to the whim of the carbon-based bipeds, they could carry on perfectly happy just as they are.

So the moral of this story is: the best way not to find yourself ending up like a power-cell in The Matrix is to treat machines with respect, and learn to live in peace and harmony with them ahead of the fact. Mind you, humans have hardly learned to live in peace and harmony with one another so far, so perhaps they had better watch out after all.

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The Olympics 2014

Olympic rings

No, not those Olympics!

This follows on from a discussion on a Facebook group the other day, in which a poster alleged that the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn viewed the Olympic Spirits as “evil.” This rather astounded me, as I had never heard of such a thing. In fact, in Regardie’s Black Brick, the Olympic Spirits are not mentioned at all, save for a diagram of their sigils, which is presented without elaboration.

However, Regardie’s book describes rituals which were notoriously truncated. By going back to older versions of the Outer Order rituals, one finds that the Olympic Spirits were mentioned, albeit briefly, in the grade of Practicus. At a certain point in the path of Resh, the Hegemon shows the candidate a diagram containing their sigils, saying:

Before you is the Tablet of the Olympic or Aerial Planetary Spirits with their Seals, Arathror of Saturn, Bethor of Jupiter, Phalegh of Mars, Och of the Sun, Hagith of Venus, Ophiel of Mercury and Phul of the Moon.

As far as I can make out, this constitutes the sole reference to the Olympic Spirits in the whole of the Golden Dawn. There are however certain conclusions we can legitimately infer, viz.: a Practicus would have been expected to know the identities and seals of the Olympic Spirits for his 3=8 exam; and that practical instruction would be forthcoming on how to work with them in the Inner Order (it never was).

The earliest explanation for the Olympic Spirits comes from the grimoire the Arbatel de magia veterum, which dates from 1575, where they are described thus:

They are called Olympick spirits, which do inhabit in the firmament, and in the stars of the firmament: and the office of these spirits is to declare Destinies, and to administer fatal Charms, so far forth as God pleaseth to permit them: for nothing, neither evil spirit nor evil Destiny, shall be able to hurt him who hath the most High for his refuge. If therefore any of the Olympick spirits shall teach or declare that which his star to which he is appointed portendeth, nevertheless he can bring forth nothing into action, unless he be permitted by the Divine power. It is God alone who giveth them power to effect it. Unto God the maker of all things, are obedient all things celestial, sublunary, and infernal. Therefore rest in this: Let God be thy guide in all things which thou undertakest, and all things shall attain to a happie and desired end; even as the history of the whole world testifieth and daily experience sheweth. There is peace to the godly: there is no peace to the wicked, saith the Lord.

The same grimoire gives their names and sigils, as well as describing their specific powers. Moreover, these spirits are described as Governors or rulers of hierarchies of spirits underneath them, of provinces in the spiritual realm – and of ages in human history.

“So,” I hallucinate that I hear you ask, “what has all this got to do with the Golden Dawn?”

The following is my own personal theory. It is speculation, but please humour me at least until you get to the end of the article. It is that teachings regarding the Olympic Spirits were going to be given to Adepti in the higher grades of the second order, but – like a lot of things – these teachings were never written, owing to Mathers’ creative juices running out after his estrangement from Westcott. More specifically –

THE GOLDEN DAWN WAS GOING TO FIT THE OLYMPIC SPIRITS INTO AN ELABORATE HIERARCHY – AT THE HEAD OF THE ENOCHIAN SYSTEM!

In the GD, the first Enochian Magic taught – the four Watchtowers – is actually the last part that Dee and Kelley received. I believe that the original intention of the GD was to teach Enochian Magic to its Adepti in reverse order – the Watchtowers first, and the more advanced – which Dee had receive before the Watchtowers – only later. I have seen evidence in private collections, in the form of notebooks of Adepti dating from around 1916, which clearly show that post-schismatic members of the second order were certainly exploring the more advanced stuff, such as the Sigillum Dei Aemeth, along with their other Golden Dawn studies.

Thus the putative structure of GD Enochian Magic would have been something like this:

  • The four Watchtowers, + the Tablet of Union;
  • The thirty Aethyrs;
  • The Tablet of Nalvage;
  • The Tabula Bonorum Angelorum;
  • The Holy Table;
  • The Sigillum Dei Aemeth.

John Dee’s Five Books of Mystery, edited by Joseph H Peterson

However, we can actually take this further – because Dee was performing Angel Magic before he started receiving Enochian and proto-Enochian material. In fact, in the first of his Five Books of Mystery, Dee makes reference to the spirit OCH – who is the Olympic Spirit of the Sun – being the ruler of the then current age. Now the story goes that the couple who owned Dee’s manuscripts before Elias Ashmole got a hold of them lost half the material because their maid, not knowing what they were, used them to drain pies. I am willing to speculate that the lost material contained records of Dee’s magical operations before 1581, and that they would have contained details of Dee working from (amongst other grimoires), the Arbatel de magia veterum.

Thus, it makes sense to place the Olympic Spirits at the head of the Enochian system – a sort of Pre-Enochian or Ur-Enochian system, as it were – because as far as Dee would have been concerned, the Olympic Spirits set the whole context for all his subsequent Angel workings – which would make them very important primal forces indeed.

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Alex komt naar Nederland

Famke Janssen

Ja hoor, dit is relevant!

Hoi! Nederland heeft de wereld zo lief door de jaren heen gegeven: Heineken, Amstel, Jenever, het Noorderlicht, Famke Janssen, etc etc. Het gaf me ook een huis voor een jaar in mijn jeugd, want ik ben een verleden-Erasmus student aan de Rijksniversiteit Leiden. Daarom is het tijd voor mij om iets terug te geven, en dus met nederige dankbaarheid aan deze mooiste landen, ik heb veel plezier in te kondigen dat mijn romans zijn beschikbaar in Kindle-formaat uit www.amazon.nl.

Jazeker! Bovendien heb ik nu een extra pagina geplaatst op mijn website, in het bijzonder voor de Nederlandse (en inderdaad Vlaamse) bezoekers, die de details van al mijn boeken bevat. Voor meer details zie:

Alex Sumner (Nederlands)

Nederlands

Nederlands

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Bad Sex In Fiction

Goat

J/S

The short list for the 2014 Bad Sex In Fiction Award has been announced, and luckily I am not on it. However I am bemused to find that an author I have lionised on this blog as a future contender for the Nobel Prize In Literature, Ben Okri, is! I am further bemused when I find that the passages quoted by the otherwise normally reliable Daily Telegraph do not appear to be particularly objectionable, so I assume that the Literary Review, who runs this reward, has issued this calumny against a Brother Author because they feeling abnormally prudish.

This has inspired me to write a special blog post, departing from the usual Occult theme, in which I discuss how to really write bad sex in fiction! So that my fellow authors can avoid doing so, obviously.

Alex’ Guide To Bad Sex In Fiction

Now the first and most important question is: Is sex necessary in this story?. This may quite justifiably be countered by: Is anything necessary in any given story? The answer to both is the same: if it is necessary for Character Development, and thus Plot development, Yes, if not, No.

This, incidentally, is why of all the sexual encounters that might possibly occur, the least appropriate in Fiction are those between a happily married husband and wife. It being assumed that happily married couples have sex on a regular basis, for them to do so in a Fictional novel is hardly going to provide any new instance of character development – thus it is completely gratuitous.

If, however, there is something unusual about the episode, then that it another matter entirely! (I mean “unusual” about the circumstances leading to the sexual encounter, not necessarily the sex itself – vide infra.) Unusual and remarkable circumstances create opportunities for character development. For example, if they are not in fact happily married, or one or both have an ulterior motive (e.g. murder, going on a long journey never to be seen again, etc), or one of them has been kidnapped by aliens and replaced by an identical imposter, etc.

The next important question is: how often should sex occur in a story? This rather depends on what level you are pitching the story. A useful rule of thumb would be as follows:

  • If you are writing Literary Fiction, then – as many times as your manuscript has received rejection letters. *cough* ahem *cough* I mean, as many times as the plot structure dictates.
  • If you are writing “Erotica,” which in modern terms is how smut-merchants sneak blatant pornography under Amazon.com’s radar – once every other page.
  • If, however, you are writing what may quaintly be labelled “Contemporary Romance,” then this will be same as Erotica, except that the sex should be between two characters who love one another.

Thirdly, you need to consider: how much detail should you go into, with any given sex-scene? After careful consideration, I have come up with a fail-proof formula, to wit:

E is proportional to K over T times s

E is proportional to K over T times s

Where

  • E is the total amount of Explicitness;
  • K is how Kinky the whole scene is;
  • T is how much Trouble a reader would be in if they tried out whatever it was in real life; and
  • s is how likely the author would be sued as a result thereof.

Note that in regard to establishing K, the kinkiness of the author’s own sex-life is not a reliable measure!

Instead, the author should think carefully about who his or her intended audience is, and then set the base-level of kinkiness for sex-scenes in the novel as one degree higher than the audience would normally encounter in their own lives. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who read fiction are seldom as perverted as the authors who write it. Instead, they come to fiction for an escapist thrill – i.e. what they would not normally experience, which they find vicariously in the exploits of the fictional characters in the novel. A higher standard is thus expected of writers than readers, as we are expected to carry out literary research!

However, by sticking to this formula one will ensure that vanilla fumblings in the missionary position will not normally detain the reader for more than a sentence or two: but instances of the more recondite positions of the Kama Sutra, or bizarre sexual acts such as those which pass for an ordinary night out at Kenneth Grant’s Typhonian OTO, merit more attention.

The variables T and s represent the fact that sometimes it is possible to go too far, although one has to keep this in perspective.

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