Category Archives: Rant

An Open Letter to Barnes & Noble

To Messrs Barnes and Noble, purveyors of fine literature to the peoples of the United States of America.

Dear Sirs,

First may I congratulate you on ingenious NOOK contraption. I’m glad to see you have jumped on the ebook bandwagon ahem I mean taken the lead in the ebook market with coming out with this completely original and so totally not inspired by any other competitor’s efforts *cough* Kindle *cough*. It therefore gives me no pleasure that there is just one flaw in it from my point of view, to wit:

Non-US authors cannot publish on it – unless they are represented in the US.

PubIt is the Barnes & Noble equivalent of Kindle Direct Publishing – however, I quote from your PubIt guidelines:

Who can use PubIt!? Anyone with a valid U.S. Bank Account, U.S. Credit Card, and U.S. Tax ID can sign up to use PubIt! Your Tax ID can be a Social Security Number (SSN)/ITIN or an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Contrast this with Kindle which does not impose such restrictions on potential publishers! Also, I tried to find out if there is a NOOK equivalent in the UK but as I write this, the website barnesandnoble.co.uk is down.

Not wishing to tell you how to do your job, but it strikes me that if you want to compete with Amazon you are going to have to offer at least as generous terms as they do. As it is, your current T&Cs prevent authors such as myself who live in the UK – indeed any author from outside the US, or indeed a Mexican author living in America from selling to Barnes & Noble customers. This is not just selfishness on my part – you are losing out as well from not making more sales.

So, B&N, please could you sort this disparity out. Otherwise until then I will have to continue selling my books via Kindle – which of course means not just to Kindle devices but to any phone or ‘puter with a Kindle App.

Yours faithfully,

Alex Sumner.

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Like this if you are a student of the Egyptian Mysteries and care about what’s happening in Egypt

Last night Al Jazeera reported that Mubarak supporters were looting the treasures of Egyptian antiquity from their museums. This morning, Al Jazeera reports that Mubarak has ordered it to close down. Its blogs – on which it was reporting the unfolding situation in the land of Khem – have already been taken off-line (or at least that was how it appeared to me using Opera).

Some politicians are talking about “having grave concerns.” Others don’t want to get involved in what they see as purely Egypt’s own internal affairs.

Well, Bollocks is what I say to that.

We are not just a collection of individual countries, we are a world community. The people of the world are all world citizens. Heck – a lot of them might actually want to visit Egypt at some point, if they felt it was safe to do so. Moreover, places like the Great Pyramids, the Valley of Kings, the various temples up and down the land – they are not just Egyptian tourist attractions they are WORLD heritage sites.

What’s more: it takes neither a genius nor a psychic to work out that whatever happens in Egypt now, later this year there will be an international humanitarian crisis happening there and throughout the Middle East – and then it will be the world’s problem, despite all the efforts of the current crop of politicians not to get involved.

I am an occultist – and part of that is to be a student of the Egyptian mysteries. I am personally concerned about what happens in that country – partly out of self-interest, partly out of concern for the Egyptian people. I think it is incompatible for anyone to profess an interest in Egyptian Art, religion, architecture or history and remain silent while the cradle of Egyptian civilisation itself – the raison d’etre of ones studies – is in so much peril.

Personally, I believe that the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt are not fluffly new age concepts designed to gratify the egos of western occultists, but are actual powerful forces whose first care is the very land of which they are patronal deities. In any event, the common will of the people directed towards justice and freedom will invoke the eventual victory if nothing else does.

So, western politicians! Stop having grave concerns about the Egyptian situation and start imposing grave sanctions! It is not a separate country, it is our neighbour – and, as another Egyptian Magician once said – “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

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The Assassination of Osiris by the Coward Set

Osiris - before

Once upon a time there was an Egyptian named Osiris. According to all reports, he was a generally good chap, respected by all and a pillar of the community. Although modest in his outward behaviour, he was habitually committed to truth and justice – which turned out to be his undoing.

Set

For it so happened that there also lived in the land of Egypt a tyrant named Set, who did not like Osiris nor others like him. This Set was an evil old so and so, who in order to cover up his own corrupt practices and those of his servants, would allow his servants to go beat up and kill Osiris’ countrymen.

One day, Osiris happened to come across evidence that Set’s servants were up to no good yet again, and decided to expose the fact. Enraged, Set sent his servants to capture Osiris and kill him, whilst he authorised his ministers to lie about the circumstances in which Osiris died.

Osiris, after he had been brutally beaten and killed by the minions of Set.

Unfortunately for Set, the evil dictator had reckoned without the tenacity of Isis, who was immediately enflamed with a desire to see justice done on behalf of the murdered Osiris.

Isis - in some of her manifestations.

At the time of writing, this story currently has no happy ending. We await with eagerness the ultimate victory of Isis, and the emergence of a new Horus who can provide a new direction to the old land of Khem.

See: How a brutal beating and Facebook led to Egyptian protests

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Re: Charging for a Correspondence Course

Getting into an argument on some Yahoo group about charging money for spirituality. I got so into it that I realised it would make a blog-post in its own right! So here is a rejoinder I was planning to write, from which I have trimmed the intemperate bits (i.e. the more intemperate bits).

Now let me present a completely different argument about why it is wrong to charge people money for spirituality. It has nothing to do any superstitious notion about money being tainted, and everything to do with Economics. It is this:

If Spiritual Teachers are seen to be getting away with charging money for their services, it will only encourage Spiritual-Teachers-Who-Aren’t-All-That-Good to charge money for their services.

Now I may be treading on sensitive ground here, but without naming any names I’m sure we can all think of a few organisations, maybe but not necessarily connected with some incarnation of the Golden Dawn, whom we all know are basically a bunch of crooks who are only in it for the money. Why are they doing it? Because they think they can! They have seen genuine teachers charge money, and they think “we can make an argument for saying we’re genuine – now let’s see those dollar bills!”

Hence, based on Economics, the way to get rid of the shysters is not to charge more money than them, but to undercut them.

Moreover, I can think of two ways to make sure that only high-quality candidates take a correspondence course on offer. The first is to set them at fairly difficult entrance exam right at the out-set.

The second is to cease advertising it. This only looks counter-intuitive to those who have an obsession with publicity, or with empire-building, but the fact is that there are a great number of organisations that thrive perfectly well with doing no publicity whatsoever. People who are genuinely interested in their work seek them out, of their own volition.

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The Controversy of Astral Initiations

Burn Da Herb, Not Da Quran

Scanning the news today I note that Pastor Terry Jones, the man behind the infamous abortive Quran-burning stunt back in September, is allegedly threatening to grace the United Kingdom with his presence. He is supposedly going to be addressing a meeting of a far-right organisation in Luton – a town in Bedfordshire which so happens to have a large Muslim community.

Let us not forget that due to the successful efforts of mainly yours truly, and to a lesser extent several world-leaders and all right thinking people generally, this guy backed down from his antics last time. It may therefore be just another publicity stunt … However: just in case it isn’t, there is now a mass debate in Britain at the moment, as to whether he should be banned from entering the country or not. On the one hand, there are a load of bleeding hearts saying “freedom of speech!” etc. On the other, there are a load of law-abiding citizens in Luton who don’t want to get caught up in a riot or violent demonstration. IMHO, the way to appease both sides of the argument is so simple it is a no-brainer – SKYPE. He can address all his racist friends from Florida, without having to come anywhere near dear old Blighty. Result: riot-averted, freedom of speech preserved.

But I digress.

This has got me thinking about the wider use of modern technology generally, whilst more specifically in the context of magic. For example: could not Skype be used to link together distant magicians so they can perform a ritual? If your Golden Dawn temple does not have five adepts to sit on the Dais, you could instead set up a data-projector and a screen in the East of the room!!! Let’s face it, some Golden Dawn orders purport to conduct “astral initiations” at the moment, so it should not be too much of a stretch to conduct an initiation by Skype. If anything it would be more authentic, because you would actually see the officers conducting your astral initiation, and thus be reassured that they are not just sitting around eating pizza instead. Needless to say though that if it were a Golden Dawn Neophyte ceremony, in order to replicate the effect of a hood-wink, you would be staring at a blank screen for most of the ceremony.

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Oaths of Secrecy

OK, I am going to wade into a controversial topic here. Firstly let me state my own position clearly: if ever I swore an oath of secrecy, I would never break it ever. However: I see no reason at all why I should keep secret something which is demonstrably public knowledge – it would be an absurdity. So for example if I was chatting about some ritual of an order of which I may or may not be a member with someone, I would be quite happy to discourse at length upon what may be gleaned from published books etc, but it would never occur to me to say something like “Last sunday the Order of XXXX met at such&such Hotel in London to perform YYYY Ritual and there were present His Royal High Prince —-, the famous chef and director of Norwich City FC —–, and —- straight from the premiere of her new movie Salt.” This would quite clearly be going too far. 😉

That being said, here are my most recent ruminations.

Imagine for one moment, that you are an Evil magician, an initiate of the left-hand path, someone who can’t be trusted, etc. In short – a character from one of my novels. Imagine further that you want to form your own magical order, of which you are the head (naturally), in which you intend to engage in all manner of vile and evil practices – the kind of thing that will get you in trouble with the police if they find out. How do you go about recruiting new members, and running such an order?

Clearly, anyone you do recruit, being an evil person like yourself, cannot be trusted. Hence, what you would have to do is to limit the amount of knowledge that a recruit is first given on joining, only admitting them to further portions of knowledge after they have proved reliable and trustworthy. Furthermore, you would swear them to secrecy on first joining, pointing out that the penalties for breaking their oath of secrecy are terrible and severe. Finally, in order to protect the identities of those already in the order including yourself, you might insist on everyone only being known by a pseudonym.

You see what I am getting at? The structure of a strictly hierarchical magical society, with terrible oaths of secrecy and what-not,  is geared not towards white magicians but black magicians. They are the mechanisms which would be used to run a successful black-magical order, not a white-magical one.

In a white-magical order, the teachings of the various grades are not anything to be ashamed of, therefore there would not be such a necessity to keep things strictly secret. One would expect Privacy yes, because otherwise the order would not have any integrity. Also, the fact that the attendees go through very personal experiences when participating in magic.

So: an oath of secrecy which aims at respecting the sensitivity of the members is good. An oath of secrecy which aims at enforcing slavish cult-like obedience is bad. And an oath of secrecy which binds someone to keeping secret that which is palpably public knowledge is a load of complete and utter bollocks.

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Square Dealings

Folks, I have a confession to make: I am on the level. What is more, in this blog post I am going to reveal some of the deepest darkest secrets of Freemasonry. Now the first thing that everyone who does not know anything else about the Craft knows is that Masonry has something to do with “funny handshakes.” These funny handshakes are technically known as “modes of recognition” and are supposedly the most secret bits of the masonic rituals which true Masons will always refuse to divulge even if the rest of Masonry is publicly discussed.

The fact that most of the handshakes are described on the internet somewhere if you search hard enough on Google is beside the point.

Now I am going to reveal something which no Mason has hitherto said on a public forum. So if you hear that I have been brutally murdered like one of Jack the Ripper’s victims or been found hanging underneath Blackfriars Bridge or died as a result of a bizarre accident at a cricket match, you know the reason. The gripping revelation is this:

The traditional modes of recognition are no longer in use: instead there is a new and completely different way of telling a brother by day or by night.

Yes, I shit ye not, there is a method now in use at lodge meetings and meetings of appendant bodies for telling if someone is a real Mason or not. And I am goint to reveal it to you! It is this: you go up to a bloke you suspect of being a Mason and say:

“Have you read the new Dan Brown book? It’s really rather good!”

OK I am joshing somewhat. But the fact of the matter is that up and down Great Queen Street and the various other masonic venues in London, the current talk is that The Lost Symbol is actually the greatest advert for Masonry in a long time: it actually depicts Masons as heroes. Not that it is an accurate description of Masonry at all: Brown has deliberately played hard and loose with the details, presumably to make it more exciting.

I was watching a programme on British TV “Channel 5” in which there were some lurid descriptions of American Freemasonry, whilst UGLE’s own Director of Communications, John Hammill, appeared defending the Craft. Reading through the credits at the end, I noticed that one of the masons interviewed in the programme was the executive producer thereof, and the production company was called “Three Degree Productions.” Oh ho!

I want to clear up some ambiguities which I feel have arisen, certainly amongst people I have spoken to. Firstly, this whole business of  there being 33 degrees … there are in fact only three degrees in Craft Freemasonry, the supposed other 30 being worked by an appendant or side order known as the “Ancient and Accepted Rite,” or as it is more colloquially known in Britain, Rose-Croix. Now get this: the supreme authority for Freemasonry is not the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree of the Ancient & Accepted Rite, it is the United Grand Lodge of England – the reason being that the former has bound itself to source all its members from Craft lodges. You see the point here? The A&AR may work more degrees than the Craft, but it is only the Craft who work the three most important ones.

In any event, the A&AR do not work all 33 degrees. The first three are not worked at all – they are left to Craft Masonry. Of the remainder, the A&AR work only five degrees, the rest being conferred in name-only.

Another cannard that pops up regularly is some idea that Freemasons are somehow involved in a giant conspiracy. The fact of the matter is that there is no mechanism in Freemasonry which would allow such a conspiracy to operate. One of the reasons why Masonry has survived so long is that subject to a token amount of supervision, individual lodges are treated with a great deal of independence by United Grand Lodge. However the flipside to this independence is that just as the central hierarchy does not generally interfere with individual lodges, so the lodges are not in a position to interfere with the central hierarchy. Hence, the mere fact of joining a lodge is not going to increase one’s influence in the new world order.

It is conceivable that a mason could eventually use his connections to achieve some influence: however, if he did that much networking, he would not need Masonry to do so.

According to my personal research, there are at least two forms of corrupt networking which are far more sinister than Freemasonry, but these are seldom mentioned by the chattering classes. The reason I think is because Freemasonry has all the glamour – the rituals, the regalia, the nice big Art Deco grade 2 listed building on Great Queen Street – it attracts all the attention!

Far more serious in the conspiracy stakes is the Old-Boy Network. It is quite easy to get into Freemasonry, so long as you have a belief in a Supreme Being, but the OBN and the “old-school tie” are by their very nature exclusive. I seem to recall that many years ago the OBN got more publicity than it does now, but that was before Stephen Knight came up with his Jack The Ripper: The Final Solution. How one badly written conspiracy theory can affect public perception!

But by far the most insidious conspiracy in the world today is neither Masonry nor the OBN. It is quite simply a matter of sniffing cocaine with the right people in the right toilets. This is especially so in some of the more glamorous industries which appeal to young and creative types.

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