Category Archives: Magick

The Witch Continues to Enchant as a Feminist Symbol

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Gertrude Abercrombie’s “The Stroll” (1943). Credit Credit Oil on fiberboard, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Gertrude Abercrombie Trust

I was pleased to see this in the Times today. It makes sense that women are newly inspired by the figure of a witch, as they embrace their histories and stand up in power.

New York Times: “… A witch, after all, is a woman with power. She has the ability to heal, satisfying wellness types…  More than that, as the prophetic “weird sisters” of “Macbeth” make clear, she has the power to drive the plot. ”

By Kate Guadagnino
Oct. 31, 2018

“THIS WITCH,” BEGINS the recently released documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It’s a recording of the conservative talk-radio host Michael Savage, who often characterizes the justice this way. He’s hardly alone in his fondness for the word, which has only grown in popularity in the 300-plus years since the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692. These days, though, it’s often women — Lana Del Rey and Björk among them — deploying “witch” (or related terminology) to describe themselves, not as a pejorative but as a badge of honor. They may not all recite spells or worship a moon goddess, but at a time when misogyny is rampant and women’s rights are on shaky ground, they relate to the witch as a feminist symbol. A witch, after all, is a woman with power. She has the ability to heal, satisfying wellness types who like to gift potions of hyssop and mugwort, anise seed and bladder wrack from Enchantments, a decades-old occult-themed shop in Manhattan’s East Village. More than that, as the prophetic “weird sisters” of “Macbeth” make clear, she has the power to drive the plot.

Lately, witches have moved from the edges of the action to become the plot themselves. “Wil-o-Wisp,” a video work by the artist Rachel Rose, which debuted last May at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is set in 16th-century agrarian England and concerns a fictional mystic named Elspeth Blake. On a night when there is a full blood-red moon, her family’s house catches fire and she disappears, only to turn up a few towns over 30 years later. Meanwhile, Kiernan Shipka is starring in “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” a new series about the teenage witch from Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the creator of “Riverdale,” and Chloë Sevigny is at work on a short film she wrote about self-proclaimed witches in contemporary culture. Last month saw the release of “Suspiria,” Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the 1977 horror film, in which the matrons of a Martha Graham-style dance school are revealed to be members of a secret and violent coven. Set along the border between East and West Berlin, where echoes of wartime anxiety persist, the women have little need for men or society — an independence that attests to their strength as much as any feat of magic.

How, though, to perform the trick of growing fashionable but not diminished? Much has been said about the ongoing commercialization of feminism, but the symbol of the witch is perhaps not so easily corrupted, retaining both an earthiness and a hardness, one born of an instinct for self-preservation. Because whatever the nature of their abilities, women — often those already on the outside, such as the poor, the old and women of color — have a very real history of being accused of witchcraft and suffering greatly. “We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn,” read a sign at the 2017 Women’s March. A few months later, the president began to tweet “witch hunt” whenever he felt picked on by Robert Mueller. The moral outrage implicit in this cry depends on the fact that witches do not exist. Oh, comes the collective response from multitudes of women, persecuted yet powerful, but they do.”

Happy Birthday Aleister

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from Liber-Al.com

“Today is Aleister Crowley’s Birthday (12th October 1875).

Born Edward Alexander Crowley, he was an accomplished mountaineer, artist, poet, chemist and occultist, who is most well known for his esoteric books. He studied at Cambridge then travelled widely, and was amongst the earliest westerners to study, translate and bring back the key works of Eastern Philosophy. In his youth he was part of a team of mountaineers who very nearly climbed the then unexplored K2.

He was deeply involved in the world of fringe Freemasonry and magical orders, most notably The Golden Dawn. He studied and socialized there alongside all the great and good of the day (artists/poets/authors), along with the Order of Oriental Templars. Although vilified during his own lifetime by the tabloid press and accused of being a traitor, it has since come to light that during the wars he spied for the allies. Labelled “The Wickedest Man in The World” he often courted controversy and led a very liberal lifestyle that would hardly raise an eyebrow today – but did back then.

Keenly interested in personal freedom and the discovery and fulfilment of ones own personal destiny, he founded his own religious/philosophical movement which he called “Thelema”. It stated “Do What Thou Wilt” –  a counter culture statement of freedom embraced in the sixties, but often misunderstood to mean do what you like! John Lennon was a fan, and Crowley was featured on the cover of the Beatles “Sgt. Peppers” album. Another fan, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, bought Crowley’s old home (Boleskine house) in Scotland on the shores of Loch Ness. He died 1st December 1947. A complex and controversial person no doubt, a man ahead of his time, but a man who certainly left his mark on the world!

For those interested in reading more about him I highly recommend the excellent biographies: Aleister Crowley by Tobias Churton or Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley by Richard Kaczynski.”

Fall Equinox horoscopes

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Fall Equinox at 6:54pm 9/22, Sun into Libra.
Venus retrograde October 5th.  Focus is on relationships this Fall.
Libra: Love, Beauty, Harmony, Socializing, Parties, Negotiation, Friendship, Teamwork.

This is a big moment. The Autumnal Equinox marks the midpoint between Summer and Winter. Today we have equal day and equal night. Libra is about balance, harmony, justice, and partnerships of ALL kinds. If something feels out of balance in your life right now, you’re going to really feel it – and hopefully do something about it.

Today is referred to as the festival of Mabon. This is the second harvest festival of the year, the first being Lammas (August 1st) and the third being Halloween (October 31st). Whatever was started in March this year is now coming to fruition. It’s harvest season, where we see the result of our labors. We reap what we have sown. It’s the time to take stock of where you are in your life right now – what you’ve brought forth and what you still want to manifest. Have you been keeping your promises this year? Especially ones made to yourself?

Today we feel the turn of the wheel of the year. Standing in the middle of equal daylight to equal nighttime, we look at BALANCE. Are we out of balance in our lives? Are we taking care of ourselves? Are we working hard AND making time for our dreams and having fun too?

Mabon also relates to mid life; to our 40’s and 50’s when we have accomplished some things, but also might harbor regrets. The Equinox is a time to give yourself credit for all the wonderful things you’ve created and the positive difference you’ve made in the world. Honor your courage! And how much smarter you are now than when you were young.

This holiday was pivotal in ancient times, since a good final harvest was crucial to surviving the winter months ahead. Relationships are reassessed so we can decide who is best to take into the harsh winter with us. If someone is draining your energy, now might be the time to let go.

The horoscopes below take the Sun into account, but focus on your Rising sign. The Rising Sign, or Ascendant (AC) is the most accurate reflection of your chart when reading most horoscopes. You can calculate your Rising sign here.

Aries: The Ram
Partnerships of all kinds will be significant in your life over the next month. The Sun is in your House of Partnerships, bringing a new shift in relationships, faith, healing, expansion and balance. Your ruler, Mars, is newly Direct. After a summer of delays you can now move forward with confidence. Watch the Full Moon rise on Monday, it will be in Aries.

Taurus: The Bull
Your ruler, Venus, is in Scorpio, the sign of relationships and your polarity. Tomorrow begins a foreshadowing of the lessons this season will have for you. They aren’t bad or good, just themes for you to work on. You’ve had some tests with Work, Health and Habits over the last year, but with the entrance of the Sun into this area, you should be able to gain some new traction in daily life matters.

Gemini: The Twins
The Sun is in Libra, putting focus on your Romantic and Creative Life. You can also attract romance! Be sure and get out and socialize a lot. Good luck comes in the form of creative partnerships. Your ruler, Mercury, went Direct recently, so you are in forward motion again.

Cancer: The Crab
Cancerians love their home environments, so you will be thrilled to know that the skies are sending you ample opportunities for home improvement and social gatherings.
Autumn also supports you healing your ties with your family of origin, and increasing your self knowledge and faith. It’s a time of digging into your roots and healing your soul.

Leo: The Lion
The Sun is shining in your House of Learning and Communication this month. You will love this because your self expression will get a huge boost. You will set the pace with regards to speaking, creativity and visibility in your community. Meanwhile Saturn brings maturity and discipline to your art, and helps you manifest your ideas.

Virgo: The Virgin
Your ruler, Mercury, is giving you a last birthday present by turning Direct in your sign earlier this month. New, positive, forward motion has begun. Meanwhile the Sun is in Libra, and the focus shifts to your financial world. For the next couple of months ask yourself, what do you value most? And what is the truth about what you value?

Libra: The Scales
It’s birthday season! The Sun has entered Libra and the spotlight is on YOU! It’s the rebirth of your identity for the next solar year. Who are you now? It’s time to set goals for where you’d like to be this time next year. Your ruler, Venus, is in Scorpio giving some intensity to your relationships.

Scorpio: The Scorpion
All the action is in your 12th House of spiritual connection, solitude, artistry, universal connection and the soul. It’s the place you retreat to for healing, safety and security. The inner planets will be visiting you there over the next month to assist you in clearing cobwebs and brightening up the place. Your ruler, Mars, is traveling with Saturn through Aquarius and Capricorn, bringing focus to your career and social circle.

Sagittarius: The Archer
Making new friends and lots of money? Your ruler Jupiter (good fortune) is hosting a party in your 11th House of Gains, Wishes, and Friends right now. Jupiter expands your social circle and helps money flow in, and Saturn and Pluto in your 2nd House ensure you won’t spend it all on frivolous things.

Capricorn: The Goat
Saturn, your ruler, is moving through Capricorn and restructuring how you experience the world. There’s a new maturity in how you see things, and a new discipline in your actions. What’s the reality of your ambitions, and are you including your spiritual life in your plans? Do they still suit you and do you need a change? Saturn isn’t big on changes, but DOES support your climb up the steep mountain to reach your goal. Think about what that goal is and shift it if necessary. Remember you have Pluto in your sign right now, and that’s a VERY powerful ally. He brings up toxic energy to be purged and healed.

Aquarius: The Water Bearer
The Sun is traversing your House of Life Perspective right now. The harvest season is a time of education, training and travel. The transit of Jupiter in Libra expands your mind, faith, self knowledge and personal philosophy. Your ruler, Uranus, is in Taurus which makes you slow down and get grounded.  Patient, methodical approaches bring confidence, optimism and ambition to your humanitarian goals.

Pisces: The Fishes
All the action is in your 8th house this Fall! This area of your chart represents Other People’s Money – i.e. banks, loans, real estate, rentals and credit. Don’t overspend. Kinda boring stuff for artistic Pisces, but with the Sun and Jupiter there it’s a great time to negotiate with authority and solidify your relationships. You can attract helpful people to your life right now. This house also relates to SEX, so it could be a hot and steamy year for you!

 

 

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Jack Reynor and Bella Heathcoate in “Strange Angel”

Did you see the first season? I loved it. We’re still waiting to hear if the show has been renewed for a second season.

The post below really sums up my thoughts about “Strange Angel” – the CBS series on rocketry scientist and Magick practitioner Jack Parsons. Although many of the ritualistic sequences are presented out of sequence or completely fabricated, I’m thrilled that Thelema is finally being created for a mainstream audience.

What do you think of it?

Here’s the article by Peter Pendragon:

“Be blessed in the name of man. And if any god deny you for this, I will deny that god.”
– Jack Parsons

“On June 14, 2018 e.v. the CBS All Access service premiered Strange Angel, a streaming series based on George Pendle’s book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

There have been several reviews from the usual media outlets (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, etc.) as well as some preliminary dismissive comments online from my fellow Thelemites with regards to its historical accuracy, and the critics, Thelemic and otherwise, have been decidedly mixed in their opinions. So was the show any good? This first ever media portrayal of one of the most prominent Thelemites in the 20th century, who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory — how was his history, his memory treated in this first of its kind program?

Yes, it was a fictionalized account with most of the characters names changed from their real life counterparts, or in some cases new people invented out of whole cloth. But the pilot’s inherent narrative, its juxtaposed elements of science and Magick, and its full throated embrace of Thelema itself is what stood out to me. “Do what thou wilt” is not just used in the show’s advertising as a summer series catchphrase — it actually provides a link to the narrative that is important in establishing the main themes of the pilot.

The cast is solid, the writing is allowed to take its time and explore the world of the series, and, visually, the show is a typical treat we have come to expect from Ridley Scott, who also produces The Man in the High Castle, which shares this show’s high end production values. Honestly, it was weird, surreal watching this, after having been in the O.T.O. for so long, recognizing the many easter eggs left for Thelemites, it seems, a small group of fanboys and fangirls to cater to, but what the hell. I noticed that they were quoting Class A stuff directly, and, God love ‘em, they even got the “A Ka Dua” mantra right. Now, they did modify the rituals, of course, which I frankly expected — it’s that the pilot was able to get so much right that was surprising. Yes, it’s weird watching what is essentially a streaming soap opera set in the early world of Magick and Thelema, but maybe now, after all these years of dwelling in the countercultural underground, perhaps it is time for the story of Jack Parsons and the O.T.O. to come out of the shadows.”

Frater From Another Mater

via Strange Angel: Darker Than You Think

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Interesting post on the attainment of Power, for people studying the Tree of Life, or who identify as Thelemites.  

The Qabalistic Tree of Life represents many things, but in the interests of this post it symbolizes the “Path of Return” to one’s higher self and actualization:

“It seems to me that brutal, unchecked power must ultimately be balanced by Chesed before one can attain any further. Believing might is right is a roadblock to spiritual progress when entering the Abyss.
We know Chesed is Mercy. Mercy must be sought, attained and given before the Abyss can be crossed. The Abyss is a leap of Faith. We must return to a child-like state or we stagnate and die. The so called Geburan “Path of Power” ends here. It is limited and microcosmic and only suitable for the aspirant who refuses to take up the Path out of ego-fear (which, I suggest is impossible for any one who has truly attained to Tiphareth.
I believe that 5=6 in the A.’.A.’. system, or the attainment of Tiphareth, along with the ensuing “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel”, may in fact be attained via this so called Path of Power). However, in my opinion, any magickian who has achieved Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel–and is operating their True Will–cannot, but act in accordance with 1. Universal, 2. Consistent and 3. Self-Evident natural laws–which are ultimately Balanced and not Mars heavy.”

Read the full post here! via Thelema and the Path of Power

 

Magick is…

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“The function of magic is to ritualize man’s optimism, to enhance his faith in the victory of hope over fear. Magic expresses the greater value for man of confidence over doubt, of steadfastness over vacillation, of optimism over pessimism.”

~ Bronisław Kasper Malinowski. 1884-1942. Anthropologist.

Magicians

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From Lev Grossman, the author of “The Magicians” that spawned the show on SYFY (I love that show):

“A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it.Most people carry that pain around inside them their whole lives, until they kill the pain by other means, or until it kills them. But you, my friends, you found another way: a way to use the pain. To burn it as fuel, for light and warmth. You have learned to break the world that has tried to break you.”

This is a wonderful statement. A magician is (hopefully) someone who looks at their pain and tries to feel it and understand it. The challenges we’ve been through in our past is part of what shapes our Will (the reason we are here) in the world. We’re not running away from hard times but validating them as lessons and as a way to know and love ourselves! Are you a magician?

“Magic is the highest, most absolute, and most divine knowledge of natural philosophy, advanced in its works and wonderful operations by a right understanding of the inward and occult virtue of things; so that true agents being applied to proper patients, strange and admirable effects will thereby be produced. Whence magicians are profound and diligent searchers into nature; they, because of their skill, know how to anticipate an effect, the which to the vulgar shall seem to be a miracle.”
– The Goetia of the Lemegeton of King Solomon