Category Archives: Supernatural

Including references to the Supernatural, Praeternatural, Paranormal, Occult, and magick generally.

What’s your favourite tarot layout? – Quora

(A2A) For simple questions I use a fifteen card layout, like this:

Fifteen card tarot spread.

This is most appropriate for situations which can go one of two ways. The general principle is that in each set of three cards, the centre-card represents the main meaning, whilst the cards to either side influence how the first card is to be interpreted.

The cards on the right hand side indicate what is likely to happen if the Querent doesn’t attempt to change what he or she is doing, or intending to do. The cards on the left hand side indicates what will happen if he or she does change, or deliberately does something new. Moreover: the cards in the top-row represent the short-term future; whilst the cards on the bottom-row represent the long-term (i.e. what is likely to develop as a result of what happened in the top-row). Hence:

  • Cards 3, 1, 2 – the present – now;
  • Cards 4, 8, 12 – short-term future, no change;
  • Cards 5, 9, 13 – short-term future, change;
  • Cards 6, 10, 14 – long-term future, change;
  • Cards 7, 11, 15 – long-term future, no change (or what would have happened anyway).

(The numbers represent the order in which the cards are dealt.)

Apart from this, the rest of the interpretation is pretty conventional (i.e. observing traditional tarot meanings). One peculiarity though is that it does not necessarily used “reversed-cards” – however, cards to either side of each main card can be used to indicate whether it is “well-dignified” or “ill-dignified.”

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to What’s your favorite tarot layout? – Quora

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Occult: What is the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? – Quora

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a magical order founded in 1888. Its teachings focussed on the Qabalah, Hermeticism, astrology, tarot, alchemy – albeit through the lens of Theosophy. In its higher grades (the “inner order”) members passed from the theoretical to the practical and practiced ceremonial magic.

Notable members included S L MacGregor Mathers, Aleister Crowley, W B Yeats, Dion Fortune, A E Waite, Paul Foster Case, as well as a whole host of others.

“The Golden Dawn,” by Israel Regardie

In 1934, Israel Regardie went public with the teachings of The Golden Dawn, although many of them had been published previously by Crowley.

The original order broke up and stopped operating under the name of “Golden Dawn” in the early twentieth century, but there are nowadays modern revivals of the Golden Dawn, operating in England, America, and elsewhere.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to Occult: What is the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? – Quora

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What is your source of occult information? – Quora

Alex at home, studying.

(A2A) Donald Michael Kraig’s “Modern Magick” was my first serious book on practical occultism as well. It is an ideal book for beginners because (a) it contains a lot of suitable material to get you started; and more importantly (b) it also has an extensive bibliography which will clue you in as to where to go and what to read to pursue your studies further.

Other books I generally recommend:

(For beginners):

(More advanced):

(Even more advanced):

The Greek Magical Papyri In Translation” (H D Betz), “Transcendental Magic – its Dogma and Ritual” (Eliphas Levi), “Light on Yoga” (BKS Iyengar), other books by Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, Crowley, S L MacGregor Mathers, primary texts on Adam McLean’s Alchemy website / Joseph H Peterson’s website, etc, etc, etc.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to What is your source of occult information? – Quora


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Review: “High Magick” by Damien Echols

“High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices that saved my Life on Death Row,” by Damien Echols.

Damien Echols has forcibly wrested the kind of superstardom of which most occult writers dream but never see. But then – has has paid a far higher price that any other magician – myself included – would ever want to pay, i.e. spending eighteen years on death row for a crime he did not commit.

Whereas most would-be occultists might want to cast spells for money, sex, power, and all the rest, Damien has been using his magickal skills for the considerably less frivolous ends of avoiding being executed; preserving his life, health and sanity; winning his eventual freedom; and coping with severe PTSD after having been released.

The blurb of this book describes Damien as having been initiated into a lineage of Zen Buddhism whilst incarcerated: however, almost none of this comes across in the present book. Instead, what we have is a number of Hermetic techniques, mostly drawn from the Golden Dawn, with a smattering of Franz Bardon thrown in for good measure.

Thus, what we get is: a number of Chi-techniques (thus placing Damien squarely within the Energy Model of magick). This at least shows original thought not present other books on magick. He goes on to give his own take on some well-known techniques of magick such as the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (sophisticated by the addition of Metatron and Sandalphon in “the column”), as well as the Middle Pillar Ritual. He proposes the Lesser Invoking Ritual as a replacement for the Golden Dawn’s Supreme Ritual, whilst describing practical techniques of creating thoughtforms, charging amulets and talismans, the magick use of tattoos, and intriguing thoughts on urban shamanism.

Most of the practical techniques function at the same level as “Neophyte” in the Golden Dawn. Hence a complete beginner to magick might profit from reading this book.

HOWEVER – and this is the biggest fault of the book – it lacks any kind of Bibliography or suggested reading list. So if complete beginners are indeed the book’s intended target audience, and they wanted to know where to go to find out more (as one naturally would), they would not find such information here. This is especially frustrating as Damien constantly mentions advanced concepts such as the Qabalah, the Holy Guardian Angel, Evocation, etc without giving further explanation. (A book such as Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick, or John Michael Greer’s Circles of Power would serve better in this respect.)

High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Save My Life on Death Row by Damien Echols is available from Amazon in Hardback or on Kindle.

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How can you do a tarot reading on yourself? – Quora

(A2A) In the tradition with which I am familiar, it is unusual not to do tarot readings for oneself, because: firstly, Tarot is most importantly a tool for self-discovery; and secondly, you can only ultimately learn the real meanings of the cards through practice. A real Tarot reader ought to know what the Tarot cards mean without having to refer to the Little White Book all the time.

You can use any decent Tarot spread like the Celtic Cross, but you should Use ALL the tarot cards at once: don’t resort to the vile practice of removing some of the cards from the deck, and don’t interfere with the cards once you have dealt them. In other words, don’t resort to any of the practices that hucksters use to cheat rubes who come to them for fake readings. Be brutally honest with yourself – that’s how you achieve objectivity.

Whilst you may chose to go to another person to read your Tarot cards for you, I find the idea of insisting on someone go to another person for a reading is deceitful: it encourages slavish dependence at best, and charlatanism at worst.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to How can you do a tarot reading on yourself? – Quora

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Review: “Archangels of Magick,” by Damon Brand

I was surprised by how powerful the magick contained in this book actually was. I admit I have been wary of occultism contained in mass-market paperbacks, having had low opinions of Finbarr Books and Parker Publishing and the like. However: whilst reading this book, and especially examining the methods of invocation and evocation, I became convinced that the formulae which Damon Brand describes actually work. This may be because he describes them as being derived from “Shorshei Ha Shemot,” a very hard-to-come-by Qabalistic text, and other obscure tomes which only Masters of the Holy Name are said to be able to use.

In one sense I find it disturbing, because my first reaction is how can such potent magic be published in a book for public consumption? Is it not like giving babies nitro-glycerine with which to play? Nevertheless, me and a group of magicians have been adapting some of the rituals here for use in ceremonial magic, and to good effect. It also inspires me to go search out Shorshei Ha Shemot et al for deeper research, on the supposition that there is far more within the Hebrew Qabalah without having to go outside it to Hermeticism. Possibly not what Damon Brand intended, but for me it is a happy side-effect.

Archangels of Magick: Rituals for Prosperity, Healing, Love, Wisdom, Divination and Success by Damon Brand – available on Amazon.

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What does dreaming about demons but not scary mean? – Quora

A Demon

(a2a) On the quest to become a fully-realised individual, every one of us, sooner or later, comes to realise that we each have a Dark Side, and the only way to become whole is to face up to it. It remains Dark, because it represents what we most hate about ourselves. Ironically however, it is also a source of strength. Hence the journey to wholeness involves integrating the Dark Side – or making your Demons work for you, instead of against you.

Luckily for you, dreaming about demons but in a non-scary manner would suggest that you are confident about facing up to your inner darkness, and are already well on the way to becoming a well-rounded individual.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to What does dreaming about demons but not scary mean? – Quora

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Do you believe in tarot card readings? Have you ever had one? How do you believe that would work? Did you gain insight from the reading? Did you do it more than once? With different readers? – Quora


(a2a) I rarely go to other people for Tarot readings (I’ve had about two in my entire lifetime) – usually it is me giving readings for them. So if I wanted a Tarot reading, the first person I would think of going to is myself. The cards make me think of things which I would not normally consider, and hence because I am forced out of my habitual thought-patterns, this helps to spark my intuition. The Tarot cards really work as Keys to Unlock my own insight, and stimulate my psychic awareness.

I also find that if I have a question bothering me, and I do a tarot reading on it once, that provides closure on the issue, whatever the particular outcome of the reading happens to be. I strongly advise against the temptation to attempt to have more than reading or consult more than one reader attempt to answer the exact same question – you would be losing objectivity by hearing only what you want to hear.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to Do you believe in tarot card readings? Have you ever had one? How do you believe that would work? Did you gain insight from the reading? Did you do it more than once? With different readers? – Quora

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How do you astral project from a lucid dream state? – Quora

Astral Projection

(a2a) If you can lucid dream already, you are so close to full astral projection. You just need to be able to do three things:

Firstly: take control of your lucid dream. Not only do you need to be aware you are dreaming but you can alter the content of, and move about in, your dream at will.

Secondly: you have to do something which in New Age speak is called raising your level of vibration. In practical terms this means invoking divine energy, e.g. through the chanting of divine and angelic names, meditating on and filling yourself with the qualities of the place on the Astral Plane you wish to visit, etc.

Thirdly, after you’ve done that, you then project to somewhere you -know- is on the Astral Plane. This could be done by deliberately flying as far away from Earth as possible – which signifies getting away from content created by your own brain, until you reach astral phenomena which exist objectively. Alternatively, try dissolving everything you see into Whiteness – and when you think you can’t dissolve any more, dissolve -that- as well.

In occultism, the most popular method is to project through a Magical Symbol as if it were a Doorway – this has the effect of taking you away from your own mind, to a place on the Astral Plane which the Magical Symbol represents. “Tattva” symbols are commonly used to take one to a place associated with Elemental forces, but you could theoretically use a whole host of symbols, such as astrological or Qabalistic symbols, or even Tarot cards.

Apas (i.e. Water) tattva

It is always sensible to remain cautious: be open to what you see and experience but don’t necessarily believe it; ask for a Guide to accompany you when you project, and always make the beings and things you encounter show bona fides that they are telling you the truth. Then when it is time to leave, thank your guides, and retrace your steps back to your physical body here on Earth.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to How do you astral project from a lucid dream state? – Quora


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Alex Sumner’s answer to As someone interested in Alchemy, would you recommend any book? Why would you propose those book in particular? What did they taught you? – Quora

For a beginner, I would recommend “The Alchemist’s Handbook” by Frater Albertus. Although the spagyric work it describes is only introductory, it does do a good job of acquainting the student with the basic terminology.

Also, one should read up on Hermeticism. Freke & Gandy’s “The Hermetica” is an introduction, although I prefer GRS Mead’s edition of “Corpus Hermeticum.”

Splendor Solis

After one has read these, one is then ready to move on to the more advance stuff such as:

– all of which I would also recommend.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to As someone interested in Alchemy, would you recommend any book? Why would you propose those book in particular? What did they taught you? – Quora

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