Summer update: Jailbreak the Sacred, the Salem Summer Symposium, and more!

I hope everyone’s been enjoying the Reviewing the Trithemian Conjuration posts that have been going up lately!  There are still a few more to go, but in the meantime, I didn’t want you all to think that I was just relaxing taking a vacation (as much as I might want or need to).  Rather, things have been as busy as ever, between commuting and working and Working and writing and Writing and this and that and the other, and I wanted to take a quick moment to fill you guys in on some of the things that have been happening lately.

First, a few updates about the website structure.  I decided to go through my blog archives and make things a bit easier to navigate for some of the more fun or interesting posts I’ve made, and while there’s too much to outright do a whole highlight reel of posts, I have made a few new pages for ease of navigability and readability, including adding a few goodies to the Rituals pages from old posts that discussed some rituals I apparently forgot about.

  • The About page has been updated with links to all the different categories of posts (which are also accessible on the right side of the blog page, at least while using the desktop view of the website blog).
  • Several new pages have been added to the top navbar:
    • About → Geomancy Posts: an index of all the important posts I’ve done about geomancy, geomantic divination, geomantic magic, geomantic spirituality, and divination generally.
    • About → Post Series: an index of all the different multipart series of posts I’ve written about over the years, with a summary of each series and links to each of the individual posts in each series.
    • Rituals → Candle Blitzkrieg Blessing: a ritual that utterly fills a house or dwelling with divine light for the sake of blessing it.
    • Rituals → Dream Divination Ritual: a ritual to be done while the Moon is in your ninth house for dream divination, lucid dreaming, or other forms of dreamwork.
    • Rituals → Uncrossing of the Mouth: a ritual to uncross, unbind, and free the mouth from any maleficia, cross, or curse that has settled upon it so that you can speak freely and easily once again.
  • The page Rituals → Classical Hermetic Rituals → The Headless Rite has been (finally) updated, with much of the Greek being corrected, a full transcription of the Greek provided, and more information provided on carrying out the ritual itself.

Second, I was on another podcast!  The wonderful, amazing, and handsome astrologer Nate Craddock of Soul Friend Astrology started a podcast earlier this year, Jailbreak the Sacred, where he sits down to talk with leaders, thinkers, practitioners, and activists about the intersection of mainstream religion and alternative spirituality.  After all, as he says, “spirituality in the 21st century is only getting weirder from here on out, and there’s no better time to team up with people who have walked that path before”.  It’s a wonderful and refreshing thing to listen to, and there are some great speakers already in the lineup, and it’s an honor for me to be included among them!  We spent a good hour and more talking about the intersection of my magical and religious practices, what it’s like being an orisha priest in the Afro-Cuban tradition of La Regla de Ocha Lukumí, and how that impacts my philosophy, ethics, and morality in how I approach my life and Work.  Head on over to JTS and take a listen!  And, if you use iTunes, be sure to subscribe to JTS through that platform, too!

Also, for his patrons over on Patreon, there’s an extra bonus episode of Nate and I talking about geomancy, where I give a very rough-and-fast explanation of the origins of geomancy, and I read for Nate on the air and give a full explanation of what a geomancy reading with me is like on the spot.  You’ll also be able to listen in on a special prayer I’ve written for divination, what I call the Praise of the Lord of the Unseen, which has hitherto not been published anywhere (yet).  If you’re interested, help Nate with his podcast, pitch in $10 a month, and get access to this and all sorts of other goodies and bonuses Nate has for his subscribers!

Third, I’m really super excited to announce that I will be in Salem, Massachusetts in early-mid August this year to attend, present, do readings, and generally have fun at the Salem Summer Symposium!  This is the first major event of its kind hosted by the good folk at the Cauldron Black, with the main show of events lasting from August 7 through August 11, but with other activities occurring around the city of Salem as early as August 3.  I’ll be teaming up with the wonderful Dr Al Cummins for a Double Trouble Geomancy Power Hour on Friday, August 9 from 10am to 12pm, and later on that day I’ll be presenting on my own about my recent development in geomancy-centered theurgical practices from 4pm to 6pm.  Tickets are still available, and I heartily encourage those who are able to attend to do so; there’s a massive list of fascinating talks, presentations, workshops, and other delights for the eyes and heart and mind to partake in, and that’s besides just the social fun to be had in a spot of great renown in old New England!

Last but not least, I mentioned a bit ago that the Russian occult website Teurgia.Org is working on translating some of my writings and works into the Russian language.  They’ve done it again, this time translating my old post on Ancient Words of Power for the Directions (April 2013) into Russian on their website.  If you’re a speaker of Russian, go check it out!

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say for now.  I hope the weather is treating you all well, and that the upcoming summer solstice (or winter solstice for those in the Southern Hemisphere) is blessed and prosperous for us all!  And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

I was on a podcast, this time on Glitch Bottle with Alexander Eth!

While I’m always flattered and excited to be interviewed and hosted on someone’s podcast or radio show, truth be told, I’m always a little terrified.  My preferred medium is writing, both for taking it in and putting it out there.  Plus…I mean, let’s be honest, I don’t like listening to people.  Yet, when I am invited to speak on someone’s show, I find myself listening in, if for no other reason than to get a feel for someone’s style and what I might expect, and yet I’m always drawn into the show itself and all the wonderful things people say.  Once more, it just so happened that I found myself talking on someone’s show, and I gotta say, this is one for the books!

Earlier this month, I was invited to chat with the dreamy, excellent Alexander Eth on his podcast, Glitch Bottle, “the esoteric podcast and blog where we Uncork the Uncommon in magic, mysticism and the generally misunderstood”.  He’s a well-accomplished magician in his own right, but combined with his actual radio-host voice and brilliant mind, he’s also got a name for himself as having one of the most popular podcasts on the occult and magic out there today.  I’m his show #47, but on earlier shows he’s had luminaries and dignitaries among whom we can count Fr. Ashen Chassan (#44), Dr. Stephen Skinner (#36, #40), Jason Miller (#34), Joseph H. Peterson (#32), and so many others.  To be counted among them is a huge honor, because clearly, Alexander just doesn’t fuck around and goes right for the top.  He’s been trying to get me on his show for a bit now, and apparently his readers kept calling for my name like a mob does for blood.  (Perhaps it was the same thing, it’s hard to keep track anymore.)

So, late one night this early April, we finally met up online and had a blast of what came to be a three-hour conversation in total.  What did we talk about?  My own occult and spiritual upbringing, geomancy (as always), the Munich Manual and translating Latin as part of the Work, various aspects on ceremonial and Hermetic and Solomonic magical practice, how to get started on the Work in a reasonable way, how occult texts evolve and adapt and vary amongst themselves within lineages of practical literature across the centuries, who Saint Cyprian is, how to make ritual offerings to gods and spirits, how to learn Latin, why the Kybalion is still crap and why I specifically don’t like it, the difference between devotional and conjurational magic, prayer beads, and so much more.  It was a great chat, and I’m honestly honored and privileged to have had it on the Glitch Bottle show.

So what are you waiting for?  Take a listen!

Notice how I said we had a three-hour conversation, yet the podcast above was only a little less than two-and-a-half hours?  And how I said we talked about some topics that didn’t come up in what you just heard (if, indeed, you just subjected yourself to it)?  That’s because Alexander does something super nice for his patrons where he has a special in-depth conversation and interview, his “Inside the Circle” that’s released only to those who support him through Patreon.  Of course, he has other bonuses, too, such as sharing non-interview occult media including blog posts, videos and tutorials (protorials?) on practice, early access to posts and interviews, and letting people submit their own questions for interviews.  So, clearly, if you (for some unfathomable reason) can not only stand hearing my voice for so long and want more, you know where to get it!

So what are you waiting for?  Go listen!  In addition to however you access your podcasts, whether through iTunes or Stitcher or some other way, don’t forget to check out his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter (@glitchbottle), subscribe to him on YouTube, and if you really wanna go the extra mile and get all the good stuff, support him as a producer of high-quality occult media on Patreon.

I was on a podcast over at My Alchemical Bromance!

Personally speaking, my preferred medium is the written word.  I get to clarify and refine my thoughts into an actually acceptable format, it’s easy to peruse if you have time or skim through if you don’t, and searching through it is trivial with most modern search functions (though I have my issues with the WordPress search from time to time).  It’d be a weird day indeed if I were to start making videos or podcasts of my own as a Thing, but I’m certainly not opposed to other people doing it, especially when they’ve got good practice at making it work well for them and entertaining to boot!  I like leaving this sort of thing to the good people who’ve mastered it.

Not that long ago, I was invited to chat with the good Rev. Erik L. Arneson over on his podcast of My Alchemical Bromance,  Rev. Arneson, who also manages the website, blog, and reading services of Arnemancy which focuses on a variety of Hermetic topics old and new, invited me onto the show to chat about the Greek Magical Papyri, geomancy (which I think is becoming almost my cliche thing? eh, it’s definitely my thing, to be sure), ceremonial magic, and a variety of other topics as we share a drink.  He had a fancy beer, while I drank my already-half-emptied 1.5L bottle of Barefoot Sweet Red blend, leftover from offerings done earlier in the week, which he mirthfully mocked me for (and rightfully so).

What?  Y’all knew I don’t bother with taste if I don’t need to.

You can listen to the episode directly on their website at this page, or you can listen to the 1hr37min debaculous chat here:

Once you’re done (and I do hope you enjoyed it—it was super fun chatting with the good reverend), be sure to like them on Facebook, follow them on whatever RSS feeder you prefer, and subscribe to their podcast!

I was interviewed on Witches & Wine!

So, not that long ago, I was approached by the wonderful Chaweon Koo from her YouTube channel Witches & Wine, where she talks about various aspects of the occult, spirituality, and other related topics ranging from New Thought to Korean shamanism with experts and veterans in all sorts of arts. It’s a lovely channel with an entertaining host and buffet of topics and chats, and I highly recommend you check her out, subscribe on YouTube, and like her on Facebook!

Anyway, she and I had a good long chat one evening, and we talked about—you guessed it—geomancy, how to apply it, and what some of the pitfalls are in picking up the art.  It was such a good interview, but it also went on so long, that she decided to break it down into a two-part series.  At last, both are now up on her channel, which I share down below!  Check out the actual YouTube pages for timestamps for specific topics.

Part 1: Geomancy 101 — History and Theory

Part 2: Geomancy 101 — Practical Applications

(Also yikes the camera really does add twenty pounds, I need to find a better angle for myself.  I swear my chin isn’t that fleshy in real life.)

I had a lovely time chatting with Chaweon, and I hope you enjoy our conversations, too!

Also, lately I’ve been going through my temple and spiritual goods, and I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning for some of the old tools, supplies, charms, and other knickknacks I have and putting them up on my Etsy page.  If you’re interested in getting one-of-a-kind crafts that will likely never be made again, or if you’re interested in my ebooks or divination services, go take a look at the Digital Ambler on Etsy!

Apprenticeship Interview Questions

I was hanging out with a very well-experienced friend a while back, and we were talking about how damn lazy those young’ns are out there, not willing to put in even five minutes a day into their Work yet expecting everything to happen like it does in the movies.  After hearing similar talk from the Unlikely Mage (especially regarding GCBS mages, who only know how to ground, center, banish, and shield) and other folk, and from having my own brushes with them in my oh-so-limited past, I can totally agree.  I mean, I’m not the most dedicated person ever (even though I try, at least half-assedly), but I spend at least an hour a day in prayer and meditation, and I think that that’s nowhere near enough for adequate progress without being used in conjunction with conjuration and the like.

However, she said something that gave me a shiver.  She mentioned that, from what she knows of me and from a strong hunch she has (which I’m inclined to trust generally) I’m eventually going to have an apprentice or several of my own some day.  Honestly, that freaks me out, y’all.  It won’t be soon, but the fact that someone someday might want to directly learn from me instead of with me, the idea that I’ll eventually have enough experience and knowledge (no such thing) under my belt to impart it with some measure of authority to another, it’s almost like being faced with becoming a father.  And, given my temperament towards children, that is among the worst possible things to happen to me.

Okay, not that bad.

But, like, if I were to take on an apprentice, what would I need to look out for?  I’d want to do a divination reading on the person, of course, as well as consult with my HGA (with whom I’ll have contact by then).  But an interview of some kind is also probably suggested, to figure out what they can do in terms of capability and capacity.

  1. What’s their daily schedule like?  I’d want to see what they do in their day-to-day life and suggest times to practice, things to cut out or emphasize, or rearrangements to their schedule.
  2. What’s their religious and/or occult background?  An understandably important question to get a feel for where they might be coming from, what strengths or biases they may already have, and what preconceptions might help or hinder the process of learning.  This’d also include any supernatural/paranormal experiences they’ve had that they can recall.
  3. Although not a question per se, I’d want to see their living arrangements to get a gauge of what’s going on with the place spiritually, what space can be used for altars or storage or rituals, what interference from housemates or family might happen, etc.
  4. What artistic or creative abilities do they have?  Magic and art have very close affinities with each other; half of this stuff is making it up as you go, and the other half is figuring out new combinations to put old data, techniques, and tools into.  Whether it’s poetry, drawing, sculpture, welding, programming, or some other creative act, having some spark of creation is only a good thing.  Having the experience in woodworking or metalworking is good, too, especially for tool creation.
  5. What educational background do they have?  Magic, though like an art, has a lot of learning to go with it.  What someone studies in college usually points out how someone is likely to learn, whether through numbers or colors or sounds, and also helps provide a set of metaphors and symbols that can help them wrap their minds around complicated concepts.  Plus, if they’ve got degrees in chemistry or something, that’s definitely a pointer for rootworking, spagyrics, or other forms of alchemy.
  6. What big issues are going on in their life?  Drama, fights, inability to hold a job, deaths of loved ones, whatever gets them worked up or angry is important in their life.  This would also include any past experiences with long-reaching repurcussions.  Figuring out ways to fix those problems and move onto bigger ones is important, but they can’t be things that overwhelm the person so much that they can’t focus on magic.
  7. How much time would they be willing to dedicate to the Work each day?  From what I’ve heard, this number will almost always be either 0 or thrice what it actually is.
  8. Any psychological conditions or issues?  I’m not saying that all crazy people are right out (you have to be at least a little crazy to be into this stuff to begin with), but some people aren’t capable due to psychological issues to handle some of this stuff.  Plus, for even the most stalwartly sane people, some areas of the occult make you crazy if you’re not already; how much easier it is for someone who has all the ammo but just needs the slightest of triggers!
  9. Any physical conditions or issues?  This follows from the same vein as the previous question.  Do I want to put people through extreme breathing exercises if they’ve got bad asthma half the time?  Probably not.  Based on this, I could suggest an extra physical regimen like jogging or yoga to help out with the mental and spiritual aspects of the Work.

Are there any other queries, questions, or comments you might pose to a would-be apprentice?  Anything you’d be especially keen on knowing about before taking them under your wing?