August Updates: back to routine, I guess!

What a time it’s been, y’all.  After a bit of annoying circumstances that pushed it back a few days, I gave my presentation for the Salem Witchcraft & Folklore Festival 2020, hosted by the good people at the Salem Summer Symposium.  By the accounts of those who attended, my class, Spelling by Spelling: Greek Alphabet Divination & Magic, went well, and even I’m pleased with it, having gotten a bit of extra time to polish up the presentation, and having ended about on target (with ten minutes leftover for questions instead of fifteen).  I’m frankly surprised that so many people still managed to show up as they did, rescheduled as it was from a Saturday afternoon to a Monday evening, and I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to all the attendees as well as to the organizers of the symposium and festival for hosting such a wonderful event even in light of the current awkward situation of the Reign of the Lady of Crowns.  Unfortunately, since it was just a two hour class, I didn’t get to cover half the things I originally wanted to, so I guess I’ll just have to do a separate series of classes sometime in the next year to make up for that, but that’ll be in the future.  If you didn’t manage to catch my class or any of the other amazing classes offered by SWFF2020 live, you can still register for the recordings through the end of 2020, so check out their website and sign up for everything that catches your interest, or get a package deal for multiple classes at once!  The recordings will be up in the coming days after they finish processing and uploading them, so stay tuned to their website for more information.

I consider my little hiatus from blogging well-spent, though it’s not like I wasn’t busy in general these past six-ish weeks.  It seems that I can’t not avoid writing one way or another, and I’ve been pretty busy on Twitter lately with a series of threads that I’d like to share pontificating or didacting about this or that.  To be fair, Twitter these past few weeks has been…interesting, between everything being cakes to newbie witches hexing the fae and also the Moon, to more shade being thrown against the Kybalion (which, I maintain, is more hernia than Hermetica), but a few of the highlights I wanted to share of my own twatting (which can be considered blog posts in their own right) would be these:

  1. That men (of all types) need to listen to women (of all types) more in general
  2. How our words can offend and injure even when we don’t mean for them to
  3. How we shouldn’t bias ourselves regarding accusations towards us based on what we hear alone about them and from whom
  4. How we present ourselves can affect how people react to us
  5. Nobody gets to buy any more crystals until you first learn how to treat, use, and work with the rocks in your own driveway/alleyway first
  6. How magic, spirits, and curses don’t need belief and how revealed experience is Hermetically superior to both discursive logic and faith
  7. An unfortunate incident with someone who asked for way too much information in a rather wrong way
  8. Follow-up to the preceding: on how and why closed traditions limit knowledge and teaching
  9. Why non-Jews working with or venerating Lilith most likely isn’t cultural/religious appropriation
  10. What learning from books really means and how to read them properly
  11. An unfortunate incident when someone tried to use one of my copyrighted designs for their own advertising
  12. Accuracy is not precision, but both are needed for diviners

All that in addition, of course, to the usual shitposting and antics I get up to on Twitter.  Somehow I’ve only gained followers over the past few weeks, which is nothing short of a profound mystery to me.

For those with a linguistic bent, Dr. Christian Casey of Brown University is hosting a free online course for teaching Sahidic Coptic.  If you have an interest in translating Coptic works from the early Christian, Gnostic, and Hermetic traditions or have an eye on getting at the non-Greek more-Egyptian magical papyri, this is something to keep an eye on!  The classes will be weekly on Saturdays at 1pm Eastern US time, starting September 5 and continuing for 30 weeks, so sign up if you’re interested!  I’ve signed up and hope to keep up with it, but we’ll see.

I’ve also picked up Final Fantasy XIV again.  I had a dream during a nap one day a few weeks back that I was playing again, and BOOM the desire hit me to play again, even though I hadn’t played in about two or three years.  So, after about two weeks and no small amount of enticing from some other magicians and astrologers who also play, I’ve caught up on all the main story content from patches 4.3 to 5.3 (holy shit you guys, I cried so much), though I’m still getting caught up on the side story and other stuff.  I’m trying to limit myself mostly to weekends for playing and spending the rest of the week researching and writing as ever, but I’ve definitely missed the game and my friends who play it.  Plus, this gives me a good reason to pick up my writing about the Deck of Sixty, the in-game divination deck used by the Astrologian job, and how it can be used and expanded upon using in-game lore and other canonical information given by the lorebooks to be used as an actual method of divination we ourselves can use.  I’ve written about it in a publicly-viewable spoiler-free Google Doc for those who are interested in checking out the system, such as it is.  (And yes, I’m still Smoking Tongue on Aether/Midgardsormr.)

I’m sure other things have happened these past six weeks that have escaped my memory, but in general, things have been largely quiet and peaceful for me on my end.  Still at home and rarely leaving the house, still working from home full time, still annoying the cats, still keeping up with housework and ritual work as best as I can.  I wish I could say I’ve caught up on sleep, but we all know that’d be a lie.  On the whole, things go well and busily as ever, and I’m happy with that.  I hope the past few weeks have been at least as nice for you all, dear readers, and that things continue to improve for us all, wherever we might be and whatever we might be doing.

With that, I suppose it’s time to figure out what to write about next.  I’ve got a few ideas lined up, but it’ll take me a few days to get back into the swing of things.  At least, with the presentation for SWFF2020 over, I can devote more time back to my other projects again—and start figuring out what to propose for next year’s symposium, too.  Plus, with it getting to be towards the end of summer (finally), the busy season is really going to start ramping up soon, so there’s always more to do.

I was on the Talk Gnosis podcast! Tune in and take a look!

I know I’m supposed to be on a hiatus so I can focus on my Salem Summer Symposium presentation (Spelling by Spelling: Greek Alphabet Divination and Magic, at 1pm EDT on Saturday, August 15, which you all should totally join in and also book your places in their other online sessions later next month!), but…it’d appear that, in lieu of writing on my blog, I’ve ended up writing blog post-length tweet threads on Twitter like once every week or so on this or that topic.  I swear, it’s like I don’t know how to not work.  Oh well.

In the meantime, I also wanted to bring up something pretty cool: I was on the Talk Gnosis podcast, a weekly show about Gnosticism and related traditions from the Gnostic Wisdom Network (website here, YouTube channel here)!  Me, Bishop Lainie, and Deacon Jon jammed earlier this month talking about theories of divination, geomancy, occult practice, and so much more.  It was a pleasure and honor to be on their show, and I hope you tune in, watch, and listen to us chat and joke and jape!

Of course, don’t just stop there!  Talk Gnosis puts up new episodes weekly with awesome people who are way out of my league talking about everything religious, spiritual, magical, and occult, all for the betterment of humanity and the solving of the mysteries of creation.  So, besides just liking and subscribing to their YouTube channel, also follow them on Twitter (@TalkGnosis) and Facebook (talkgnosis), and support them on Patreon to get extra content, early releases, and other special bonuses!

And now, back to researching, writing, and ranting on Twitter.

Geomancy in the Reign of the Lady of Crowns

So, I’ve been up to a little something the past few weeks, and while I’ve kept it only kinda sorta quiet, I think it’s time to be more public about it.

We all know that there’s a pandemic going on across the world, one that I’ve taken to poetically and euphemistically calling the “Reign of the Lady of Crowns”, and while some countries have their acts together and have gotten things kinda under control (inasmuch as any pandemic can be “controlled”), it’s apparent that some countries, including my own, don’t.  As a result, life is rapidly changing for many of us, both in the short term and in the long term, and this is a trying and difficult time for many of us.  As a result, people are looking for new ways to either fill their time working from home or to get an edge over others whenever an edge can be found; online classes and interaction have never been more important or critical for our sanity and survival, it would seem.

To that end, back towards the end of March, I floated an idea on Twitter to my followers, and several weeks later, having carried that idea out, I think the idea was a success: “Geomancy in the Reign of the Lady of Crowns”, a set of free geomancy lectures I did on Zoom with a number of Twitter friends that explored the various aspects of European geomantic divination.  In addition to the various writings I’ve shared over the years on my blog, I figured this would be a good chance and change of pace to experiment with teaching geomancy in a one-off series of conversational, more-or-less informal lectures expanding on my approach to geomantic divination and covering all the major bases that would enable anyone who’s interested to learn geomancy in an audio-visual format with examples.  Totaling about 13 hours of video (maybe 12, once all the breaks and silent stretches are taken out) over five sessions, I think I covered what I wanted to cover fairly well and thoroughly, and while geomancy is definitely an endless art with plenty more that could be explained, I feel like this is a good introduction to learning geomancy that anyone could do at their own pace.

And now, with this series of lessons having been brought to an end, I’m happy to announce that I’m going to let any others who are interested to get access to it as well.  To sign up:

  1. Send me an email saying that you’d like access to the videos.
  2. After you agree to the terms in the email I’ll send in response, I’ll send you an access link to the videos.

That’s it.  The terms are basically that you don’t share the videos with others, and that you direct anyone who’s interested in the videos to contact me in the same way.

As for the cost?  As I established for my friends on Twitter, there’s no cost for access to these lessons, and I offer them gratis, free of charge.  After all, I did this all informally and conversationally, and I didn’t really prepare anything except using my Zoom account for hangouts, and I’m not really going to bother editing the videos.  There’s little enough cost for me, and I feel it better to have this information learned and shared to those who need it however they need it, knowing that these lessons were given in a fairly off-the-cuff way.  While you could certainly approach this as a pay-what-you-like or a donation-only class and send me money through Ko-fi, I took a different approach: if you’re feeling generous and have some money to throw around, while I’d certainly appreciate it, there are plenty of other people and organizations online who are in desperate need of money and resources far more than I am.  Starving artists, queer people in need of support, people in abusive situations, local homeless shelters, local food banks, Doctors Without Borders, you name it: in this time of the Reign of the Lady of Crowns, there are plenty of people who are actively suffering due to collapsing infrastructure and rapid societal changes both in my country and abroad that could do with some extra support.  I do not expect payment for giving these lectures on geomancy, nor do I ask of it, but I do ask that you consider paying it forward and giving some charity as a way of supporting your fellow humans in this world during this harsh and hard time.  I have nothing to give you in return for that except my joy and thanks that you’d support the rest of us caught up in this storm of the fate of the world.

As mentioned earlier, there were five sessions, each about three hours long (four for the last one), covering the following topics.  Both the whole video files as well as the audio-only files are provided.  Some of these topics I planned out in advance, some of them were brought up as impromptu questions (amongst other topics that maybe I don’t recall as clearly or which were talked about only in brief):

  1. (2020-04-09) Introduction to the Figures, Introduction to the Shield Chart, Interpreting the Court, Ways of the Point, How to Phrase the Query, When to Abort a Reading
  2. (2020-04-11) Mindset and Divination Preparation, Introduction to the House Chart, Allotting the Figures to the House Chart, Parts of Fortune and Spirit, Aspects, Ethics in Divination
  3. (2020-04-28) Perfection in the House Chart
  4. (2020-04-08) Radicality, Company, Company and Triads, Perfection through Co-significators, Rotating the Chart
  5. (2020-05-16) Follow-up on Rotating the Chart, Edge Cases of the Aspects, Chart Examples

In addition to setting up these lectures, I also set up a groups.io mailing list for geomancy.  This is basically an old-school email-based discussion list, not unlike what Yahoo! Groups or usenet lists used to provide, and can provide people with an alternative email-based forum to discuss and learn geomancy together.  This can be beneficial for those who are not on Facebook and can’t or aren’t comfortable joining the Geomantic Study-Group I admin, so if you’re interested in joining, let me know in the same way as you would above for the geomancy lessons I offer.

I can’t promise people an easy time in their lives; nobody can, I suppose.  But this is a small attempt on my part to help people have easier lives, all the same.  Whether it’s to navigate our time and place in the Reign of the Lady of Crowns or any other time period in our lives, I hope that by spreading a bit more knowledge about geomancy about and around, we can all have something that can help us and those who come to us learn a bit more and a bit better about the world and situations we find ourselves in to make the most of it.

I upgraded to Ko-fi Gold with plenty of new bonuses, so check it out!

It’s been about two years since I signed up for Ko-fi as a way to take donations for the Digital Ambler.  It’s a simple thing, really; like Patreon, Kickstarter, or Gofundme, Ko-fi is a simple way to support artists or other content creators.  As I said when I got a Ko-fi, the Digital Ambler is free and I plan to keep it that way; between my day job that pays me an actual salary, my divination and consultation services, the ebooks I sell, and the occasional crafting commission I take on, I earn myself a little extra pocket change while also supporting the operating costs of my website and Zoom account, to say nothing of my occult supplies and books and ongoing lessons and classes.  Ko-fi is just a simple way for people to chip in with an Internet-based tip jar and support me and the things I do and write about, so if you don’t need a reading or want an ebook of mine but still want to help support me, this is the way to do it—by buying me a symbolic coffee.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Well, after considering it for a while, I recently upgraded to Ko-fi Gold, which gives me some pretty neat ways to do some nifty things with the platform.  Besides the aesthetic changes that Ko-fi lets me make (color of the page, changing the base donation price from $3 to anything else, changing “coffee” to anything else, etc.), one neat thing is the ability to take commissions, which…I mean, for me, I’m really kinda getting away from taking on physical crafts anymore, due to the time and energy that it takes that I often just don’t have anymore.  (When I do get in the mood, I’ll probably make them as once-off things and just slap them up on my Etsy for whoever wants it first.)  However, “commissions” here can be a pretty broad thing, so I’ve also put up my own services of divination and consultation up through Ko-fi over there as “commissions”, which you can pay by PayPal (just as you would on my website directly) or by credit card through Stripe.  So that’s pretty nifty.  I’ve even put up a few services as tests over there; I might try out temporary services through Ko-fi, since it’s easier than putting them up through WordPress directly, so if they seem to work well for me and for others, I’ll put them up on my website directly if it seems workable.  Besides my usual divination and consultation offerings, I’ve currently got two other services up on Ko-fi for those who would be interested:

  • Prayer Requests:  Need an extra push from a kind hand? As a mage and priest, I’m happy to offer my ritual services to make prayers, make requests, or make offerings on your behalf. If you need something special to help get you over the edge, then this could be just the thing for you.  Can also set lights, make offerings to ancestors and spiritual courts, and offerings to the Greek gods as requested.
  • Domino Readings: Puzzled by what to do? Need a simple forecast for the coming month or year? Got questions about what’s going on in your life? Divination using the fortune-telling art of reading the dominoes. At their simplest, only a single domino needs to be drawn, but if desired, another one or two may be drawn for more information, but never more than three at a time.

So if you’re interested in either of those services, take a look!  I’m offering them for a fair price for now to see how popular they might be, but if they seem to be desired, I’ll refine the process (and the price a bit) and move them over to my main website’s Services page.  In the future, when I try out an experimental service, it’ll go up on Ko-fi first, and I’ll mention it on my website.

Something else that Ko-fi Gold lets me do—or, rather, lets you do—is the ability to make a recurring monthly subscription, based on multiples of the base “coffee” donation of $3 (which isn’t a number I plan to increase).  Unlike Patreon, Ko-fi is a pretty simple platform, so there are no tiers or anything.  If you find yourself regularly turning to the Digital Ambler for my blog posts, writings, articles, and the like, then consider this a way to help out for the help and entertainment you yourself might be getting!  Of course, I write for the joy and love of it, and even a simple once-off donation is more than enough to make me grovel in appreciation—so of course there’d be something in it for you, dear reader, if you were to put in a monthly recurring donation.  Ko-fi Gold lets me make supporter-only content through their platform, which I think is a pretty nifty thing, don’t you think?

So, tell you what.  I need practice with domino fortune-telling and divination reading (which is one of the reasons why I’m putting that up as a test service through my Ko-fi commissions), and I kinda miss the days when I used to do my Daily Grammatomancy over on my Facebook page years ago.  With that in mind, here’s my plan to start with:

  • Around the start of every month (or maybe around the New Moon?), I’ll do a general reading forecast for the coming lunar month, with the forecast shared up on Ko-fi, available only to monthly subscribers.  It could be with dominoes, it could be with geomancy, it could be with grammatomancy; I may change it up, or I may settle into using one system more than others.  We’ll see!
  • Around the latter part of every month, I’ll set up a general Zoom chat for me and my readers to hang out, chat, and discuss whatever’s on your mind, a sort of hour-long-or-so private radio show kinda thing.  The exact date, link, and password will be sent out through Ko-fi only to monthly subscribers.

Of course, these are just a few things I have in mind for now.  Ideally, this would start in January 2020, assuming I get at least one recurring supporter through Ko-fi by the end of the month (or, rather, December 26, when there’s a New Moon—and also an annular solar eclipse).  While I’ll always keep writing for the Digital Ambler, I think it’d be nice to give something special for those who want to keep me aloft, and I’d be happy to consider different things to do for my supporters (group prayer requests, communal offerings, weekly forecasts, in-depth lessons on a particular aspect of magical practice, excerpts of my books and private projects, etc.) if they’re suggested and seem popular enough.

Also, one last thing: do you yourself have a Ko-fi and have been eyeing a Ko-fi Gold account for yourself?  It’s only US$6/mo, but if you use this referral link you can get yourself a 10% discount for the subscription to Ko-fi, which helps put a bit of money in my own pocket, too!  Since Ko-fi doesn’t take a fee out of supporter’s donations and commissions, Ko-fi is entirely supported through donations itself as well as through Ko-fi Gold subscriptions, so by upgrading to Gold, you yourself can help support the platform for endless artists and content creators.  This is a really neat, hassle-free, ethical website that I enjoy supporting, and it does good work for a lot of people.  Consider upgrading today!