Thelema Academic Lecture On Cattle Magick

Thelema Academic Lecture On Cattle Magick Image
I've often joked about the old folklore belief that a magician could put a "bad word" on their neighbor's cow, presumably using some sort of spell rather than spray paint and a thesaurus. Later this month a lecture by Dr. Karen Cullen at UHI, an educational institution located in Inverness, Scotland, will explore these beliefs and discuss their historical significance.

The lecture is amusingly entitled "Charmed Cows and Contentious Neighbors" and it is part of a continuing positive trend in academia involving the scholarly study of esoteric beliefs, from mysticism to folk magick. For practicing magicians these studies can be a wellspring of new (or more properly old) practical ideas, and from the standpoint of history folk beliefs have not been taken very seriously by historians until relatively recently despite their influence within societies and cultures.

I don't really need a collection of cattle-related spells, but if I lived in Scotland I would still be interested in attending. You never know, someday I might find myself in a bizarre situation that would require me to hex a heifer.

Suggested ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - Basic Techniques Of Sex Magick
Eliphas Levi - The Doctrine Of Transcendental Magic
Ophiel - The Art Practice Of Caballa Magic

Tim Maroneys Comments On Satanism And Thelema

Tim Maroneys Comments On Satanism And Thelema Image
Tim Maroney's comments on Satanism and Thelema
July 1991

Dear Diane,

To expand on my earlier comments on Satanic symbolism in Thelemic ritual,
and their relevance to the question of whether Thelema is a form of
Satanism under some reasonable definition of that word.

You ought to get a copy of "Magick in Theory and Practice" if you're
interested in the issue. Crowley's ritual and meditative instructions
were his best writing, possibly because they dealt with what he knew best.
It's because of the power and importance of these instructions that I was
willing to overlook his appalling right-wing politics and cite Crowley
as a source in Twilight Crossing; LaVey and Aquino have made no
contributions that measure up to these.

I'm going to track through the various Liberi in Appendix VI, "A Few
Principal Rituals
", in order.

Grimorium Sanctissimum. The O.T.O./A.'.A.'. sex magic expressed in the
form of a Black Mass, with a naked virgin as the altar.

The Star Ruby. Therion and Babalon, who are the Beast and the Scarlet
Woman from the Apocalypse of John, and who are explicitly Satanic symbols.
(The Star Ruby is the Thelemic recension of the Lesser Banishing Ritual
of the Pentagram.)

The Star Sapphire. Set, a very close Satanic cognate, and Baphomet,
the demon supposedly worshipped by the Templars.

The Mass of the Phoenix. The magician carves his or her breast with
the Mark of the Beast, soaks the blood into a cake, and eats it.

Liber V vel Reguli. "Being the Ritual of the Mark of the Beast".
The Beast 666, Therion, Babalon, Averse Pentagrams, "Saturn or Satan
is exalted in the House of Venus or Astarte
", "the Father-Mother
", and so on.

The Gnostic Mass. Chaos, Babalon, Baphomet, Abrasax, Therion, Simon
Magus, and another reclaiming of the Black Mass with its naked virgin
on the altar. (The G.S. form above is more adapted to the ceremonial
use of two people, while this form is for the puhblic and is veiled
with a cloak of symbolism.
) Interestingly, something very like this
ritual may have a great deal to do with our general conception of the
Black Mass, coming from the Star Chamber affair in France. It is
unclear how much of the accusations were exagerrated and brought into
line with the Inquisitional mythology, and how much was an actual
"amatory mass" as some of the sources refer to it.

This ends the appendix containing the principal Thelemic rituals, with
the exception of Liber Samekh. That is so important that it receives
its own appendix, IV. As you know, the emphasis of Liber Samekh on
Satan is intense. It also exalts the Beast and the Scarlet Woman yet
again. This is the ritual of "the Attainment of the Knowledge and
Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel
" or Higher Self; in Crowley's
case, he believed this "devil or angel" to be named Aiwaz or Aiwass,
and to have delivered the Book of the Law, the foundation of Thelema.

I have not mentioned the constant repetition of the Serpent symbol,
which for Crowley was interpreted along the lines of Genesis -- or an
anti-Genesis which reclaimed the pagan symbol demonized in the Hebrew
myth. Someone could object, after all, that Serpent-worship is hardly
confined to Satanism; we have to see how much Crowley explicitly inverted
the tail of the Bible before we can know certainly that he did the same
with the head. So the Serpent or Snake has little evidentiary value
in itself, except where it is very plainly a reference to Genesis, as
in "I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge" in the Book of the Law.

As we can see, there is not one Thelemic ritual, among those Crowley
thought most important, which is lacking in Satanic symbols.

Now, we should also consider Appendix VII, "A Few of the Principal
Instructions Authorised by the A.'.A.'.
" These are much less Satanic
by and large. Many of them have no Satanic references worth mentioning,
such as the Yogic instructions of Liber HHH, Liber E, and Liber RV,
and the Golden Dawn derived ceremonial magick practices of Liber O,
Liber Yod, Liber Resh, and Liber A. Similarly for the past-life recall
practice (perhaps Theosophical?) of Liber Thisharb and the penultimate
practice of Liber B vel Magi. Yet there are other works in the same
appendix which contain notable Satanic symbolism, such as Liber Astarte,
Liber III, Liber Cheth, and Liber A'ash.

The interesting thing about the instructions of this category is that,
for the most part, they are not particularly Thelemic either. There is
little mention of the Thelemic trinity of Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit,
or of the Book of the Law, or of the word Thelema, or "Do what thou wilt"
or its cognates such as "the law of liberty". Where these do occur, they
are usually in passing rather than central to the instruction; and in
nearly every case, the degree of Satanic symbolism is proportional to
the degree of Thelemic symbolism.

That is, there is hardly a book that contains noteworthy Satanic symbolism
that does not also contain Thelemic symbolism of roughly equal note, and
vice versa. The books which don't contain one rarely contain the other.

Liber A vel Armorum could be taken as a counterexample, but even there
the quote from the Book of the Law is merely an opening clause having
no import to the teaching in itself; it is a single sentence stating
Crowley's authority to present the book. If it were omitted, it would
have no effect on the instruction of how to construct elemental weapons.
It's of no more significance than the mention of Typhon in Liber O.

In Liber Astarte and Liber III, the Thelemic and the Satanic symbolism
are both used in passing, almost as afterthoughts. (Astarte also contains
some of the anti-Satanic symbolism that Crowley sometimes uses; the
Thelemic devil is named Choronzon, and here he is presented as leading
the aspirant astray.
) In Astarte, the little Satanic symbolism consists
of a reference to Babalon, which is also Thelemic symbolism; the only
other Thelemic references are to Choronzon and a single short clause
(out of fifty clauses) which urges the use of Thelemic books and aphorisms
in the practice. In Liber III, the Thelemic mythology is solely in an
opening benediction which (once again) could easily be omitted without
having the slightest import to the meditation practice, while the Satanic
symbol of "Cerebus, the great Beast of Hell" is almost as unimportant.

(Is it even Satanic at all? some might ask. After all, Cerebus is Greek.
Indeed, if Crowley had not craftily used the phrase "the great Beast"
there might be some doubt under a restrictive definition of Satanism.
The Twilight Crossing definition of Satanism as the reclamation of
demonized mthological figures would include it even without that
phrase, but there is simply no way that Crowley used the phrase "the
great Beast
" except as an explicit reference to the demon of Revelation.
Crowley's "Cerebus, the great Beast of Hell" has a double meaning, both
of which are Satanic under the Twilight Crossing definition, and one of
which is Satanic even under the overly restrictive definition preferred
by anti-Satanists.)

Liber Cheth and Liber A'ash are the only books of the category which are
aggressively either Satanic or Thelemic. And each of them are both. In
them, we are back to the sex magic of the O.T.O. and the A.'.A.'., and
once again we are dealing with Babalon, the Beast, Hadit, Nuit, Set, Chaos,
and Baphomet. No knowledgable person would deny the centrality of these
sex practices to Crowley's systems, and no truthful person could deny that
every time they are set forth in ritual and meditation instructions, they
are flanked and upheld by a constellation of Thelemic and Satanic symbols.

Was Crowley a Satanist? Is Thelema a form of Satanism? Only the most
contrived definition of "Satanism" could answer these questions "no".

What would Crowley have answered? In a dedication to "Why Jesus Wept",
he told G. K. Chesterton that he, Crowley, had "found [his] Messiah in...
the Devil and all his angels
", and showed through gematria that the
Serpent was the true Messiah. In "Magick in Theory and Practice" (cap.
) and "The Book of Thoth", and many other places, he praised Satan
at length. He sang rapturous love-songs to the devil in his ritual
practices, and gave him the unholy kiss referred to in the legends of
the templars and the Sabbat. He wrote, in the last chapter of "Magick
in Theory and Practice
", that:

"The Devil" is, historically, the God of any people that one
personally dislikes. This has led to so much confusion of
thought that THE BEAST 666 has preferred to let names stand
as they are, and to proclaim simply that AIWAZ -- the solar-
phallic-hermetic Lucifer -- is His own Holy Guardian Angel,
and "The Devil" SATAN or HADIT of our particular unit of the
Starry Universe. This serpent, SATAN, is not the enemy of
Man, but HE who made Gods of our race, knowing Good and Evil;
He bade "Know Thyself!" and taught Initiation. He is "the
" of the Book of Thoth, and His emblem is BAPHOMET, the
Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfection.

We have no need to speculate on the issue. The man has spoken clearly
for himself.


Brain Unable To Understand Existence Of God

Brain Unable To Understand Existence Of God Image
Interesting article from the Vancouver Sun, via the Ottawa Citizen. This is simply a statement of the apparent truth that phenomenal experience will likely never be fully explained with materialist science.


By Jennifer Green, Ottawa Citizen

March 14, 2010 5:02 PM

OTTAWA - One of the world's foremost neuroscientists is about to tell some of the world's foremost theologians the bad news: God may exist, but the human brain is simply not capable of knowing that for sure.

Georg Northoff, research director of Mind, Brain Imaging, and Neuroethics at the University of Ottawa's Institute of Mental Health Research, will speak March 23 to several hundred theologians at the University of Marburg, in Germany. The 500-year-old school has produced such towering intellects as theologian Paul Tillich and philosopher Martin Heidegger.

Northoff, internationally recognized for his research into brain function, will be the only scientist to speak to the group.

"We will never be able to answer the existence of God," he said this week from his office at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. "There is a limit because of the way the brain functions. (That) limit... is the price we to pay for consciousness.

"We can research the neuro-mechanism into belief, but we cannot say anything about God. That's where we have to go to philosophy."

To any theologian, or simple man of faith, the fact that science doesn't have all the answers seems laughably self-evident.

But Northoff points out that all our thoughts and feelings, even a transcendent sense of holiness, ultimately emanates from a big, wet, physical brain trapped in a hard skull. The brain is built to focus entirely on the threats and pleasures of its immediate environment - attacking lions, lovely young mating partners - and can never escape to see the larger picture. It cannot see beyond its own life without dying. It cannot even look at itself without ending up in a surreal fractal loop of the mind examining itself, examining itself as it examines itself ad infinitum.

"I would never deny the feelings (of the faithful)," said Northoff. "But what I would deny is that the content of his feelings, God in this case, exists independent of him. That is something that is beyond his knowledge."

Northoff thinks his reception at next week's meeting may be a little chilly but it could be worse.

"Many colleagues of mine say all belief is b
and everything is the brain,
" he said.

"I'm not saying that, I have an open position."

In his clinical work, Northoff has found people with strong religious beliefs are not as prone to suicide, because they have a sense of obligation to God. He had one patient in a deep depression who had nagging doubts about God, "but on the other hand it was the only thing that kept her alive."

As a young doctor, a psychotic punched him and knocked him down, outraged that anyone would treat Jesus with such disrespect as to suggest he was suffering a mental illness.

Two other psychotics both claimed they were God - and each thought the other was clearly delusional.

Northoff finds spiritual practices can help in some mental illnesses, and he believes it would be worthwhile to study the meaning of religion from a sociological or anthropological point of view.

He has done research on brain activity in people who react emotionally to something positive or negative - a picture of a gun, or a smiling baby, or a prayer.

Of course, religious people reacted to the prayer. But what does that really mean? From a neurological point of view, what is faith? What is belief? What happens when it goes away?

He was raised Catholic, but no longer practises.

"There was a certain coziness, which is lost, an emotional coziness. On the other hand, you substitute it by other things. For me, all this research, and philosophy are as important for me."

Northoff arrived in Ottawa last year, a major catch for the research institute.

"He's one of the top psychiatry researchers in the world," said chief executive officer Zul Merali.

Northoff, who holds doctorates in both neuroscience and philosophy, holds two prestigious Canadian research chairs simultaneously: Canada research chair in mind, brain imaging and neuroethics, and the ELJB-CIHR Michael Smith chair in neurosciences and mental health. The chairs carry with them more than 3 million in funding over the next seven years.

He will be advancing the new technology of brain imaging, which allows the conscious mind to be studied scientifically.

Tags: Georg Northoff, Brain unable to understand existence of God, expert, Jennifer Green, Ottawa Citizen, Psychology, brain, Religion, consciousness, neuroscience, God, belief, brain imaging, neuroethics

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Metaphysics Daily Om We Dont Need To Suffer

Metaphysics Daily Om We Dont Need To Suffer Image
Ah yes, suffering, the choice we make to identify with our pain. This article addresses suffering in terms of belief about the spiritual life/path, but the principles can be applied to any part of our life where we hold onto to false beliefs.




The idea that we have to suffer or live in poverty in order to be spiritual is an old one and can be found in the belief systems of many philosophies. Most of us carry this idea around subconsciously, and we may be holding ourselves back from financial or emotional well-being, believing that this is what we must do in order to be virtuous, spiritually awake, or feel less guilty for the suffering of others.

While it's true that there can be a spiritual purpose to experiencing a lack of material well-being, it is rarely intended to be a permanent or lifelong experience. What we are meant to find when material or emotional resources are in short supply is that there is more to our lives than the physical realm. Intense relationships and material abundance can distract us from the subtler realm of the spirit, so a time of deficiency can be spiritually awakening. However, once we recognize the realm of spirit, and remember to hold it at the center of our lives, there is no reason to dwell in poverty or emotional isolation. In fact, once our connection to spirit is fully intact, we feel so compelled to share our abundance that lack becomes a thing of the past.

If you find that you are experiencing suffering in some area of your physical life, perhaps your spirit is asking you to look deeper in your search for what you want. For example, if you want money so that you can experience the feeling of security but money keeps eluding you, your spirit may be asking you to understand that security is not to be found through money. Security comes from an unshakable connection to your soul. Once you make that connection, money will probably flow more easily into your life. If relationships elude you, your spirit may be calling you to recognize that the love you seek is not to be found in another person. And yet, ironically, once you find the love, your true love may very well appear. If you feel stuck in suffering to live a spiritual life, try to spend some time writing about it. The root of the problem will appear and it may not be what you expected. Remember, the Universe wants you to be happy.


Discuss this article and share your opinion

Suggested ebooks:

Aleister Crowley - Gilles De Rais The Banned Lecture
Stephen Flowers - Fire And Ice Magical Order The Brotherhood Of Saturn

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Criticism Of Religion

Criticism Of Religion Image
I feel that atheists are often quite malaligned. OK, some of my atheist friends think what I do is a little wacky. That's cool. I think they often don't see the bigger picture and are needlessly limiting their perceptions. That's cool, too. However, I find that on about 95% or more topics, I am in complete alignment with the way they view and approach things. That's WAY better than anyone else!

I think in a way, they appreciate having a thinking, skeptically-minded theist (eh, I don't know if theist is the right way to describe me, but I'm not atheist. I have a philosophic explanation that I am seeking which reconciles both.) However, so much of that relies upon the freedom to question, to make a fool of yourself (so that you can learn from the Trickster!), to accept and then to deny after re-assessing the acceptance. Freedom to express, to blaspheme, to question, to mock, to celebrate, to exalt anything and everything which comes from your own connection with what you see as Divine (or if you're a non-theist, what you see as Pretty Awesome But Not Divinely Inspired Whatsoever.) - these are all as important to me and my seeking as they are to the atheist.

Atheists often only pick on Christians (and often Islam, for the same reason) because they seek to deny that freedom to everyone - their followers included. So with that, they're my best friends politically and socially speaking. I often invoke Dawkins' quote, "We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." I add, "and I just go a few gods less." I don't often see atheists griping about Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, or Sufis... or Pagans, or Witches, or Chaos Magicians, or Hermetics or Thelemites or even Satanists! That's because they typically don't cause any trouble... they're happy to live and let you live as you see fit. Again, I have a very moral fit. Like them, freedom is one of my most treasured virtues.

I often find myself thankful to the conversations I have with them because they keep me on my toes. They point out my nonsense. Sometimes I say, "Well, that's my mystical nonsense, and you just wouldn't get it because you don't accept the power of belief. So we have no common ground to speak on this matter." And the conversations go on, typically, to topics we can talk about (there are so many!). I realize that certain things I do will not ever be a part of a conversation we can have to any depth. That's fine. I do have theist friends too. Sometimes they point out my nonsense and I realize that what they are saying makes great sense and I grow as a result of it.

It's typically the hard-headed ones they don't care for - who start referencing some ancient text as the ultimate guide for truth, completely unwavering. I think that as a magician, it is very important to keep attacking my own beliefs. "If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him." To keep questioning and examining - that is the great work.


Suggested ebooks:

Phil Hine - Aspects Of Evocation
Andrew Lang - Myth Ritual And Religion

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