Upcoming Classes at Sticks and Stones!

Yes, despite my constant activity and increasing workload, I am still teaching classes at the metaphysical shop near me in Fairfax, VA, known as Sticks and Stones.  It’s been a while since I taught anything there, and now that I’m only going there to do readings every other weekend (ish) instead of every weekend, some of you guys might miss the chance to see me.  But fear not, I’m not abandoning the place!  This is a list of the three classes I’m teaching at the local store through May 2014.  If you’re attending, feel free to let me know in the comments or select attending on the Sticks and Stones event pages in the links!

Geomancy I and II ($50), Sunday 3/2 and Sunday 3/9, 2pm ~ 4pm both days
Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.  Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Greek Alphabet Divination ($30), Sunday 4/6, 2pm ~ 4:30pm
Alphabets and letters have always been held as magical tools and powers in their own right, and have been used as a form of divination in countless cultures.  Much like the Nordic runes, the ancient Greeks had their own method of letter-based divination or “grammatomancy”, where each letter has a particular oracular meaning.  When combined with the other astrological and magical meanings that the Greek alphabet has gained over the centuries, this can become a powerful divination and magical tool indeed!  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of the Greek alphabet for easy-to-use divination and magic.  A copy of his first 60pp publication, “De Grammatomanteia”, is included with the course for reference and study.  No prior knowledge is necessary, though a familiarity with the basics of divination and magical ideas would be helpful.

Thinking With Planets ($15), Sunday 11/10, 2pm ~ 3:30pm
A lot of modern magical traditions focus on using the four elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, occasionally with the fifth element of Spirit, as the primary or only forces of their work.  However, even a few hundred years ago, magicians of all kinds used another set of forces: the planets!  With the powers of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, magicians were able to accomplish a lot more a lot faster, including directly affecting the elements themselves.  Join yours truly to learn how to introduce the use of the planets into your own work, basic magical timing, and how to connect the planets to the elements and vice versa.  No prior knowledge is necessary.

Upcoming Classes at Sticks and Stones!

After a long while of not having classes at Sticks and Stones, the local new age/earth-based spirituality store I do readings at, the lovely owners and I finally came up with a few classes and workshops for me to teach through the rest of 2013.   After all, being one of the few ceremonial magicians in the area, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge under my belt (though by no means enough) to share around with folks willing enough to hear me out and pay a small-but-reasonable fee.  With that in mind, here’s my teaching schedule for the first half of 2013.  All the classes will be on Sunday afternoons.

Greek Alphabet Divination ($30), Sunday 9/29, 2pm ~ 4:30pm
Alphabets and letters have always been held as magical tools and powers in their own right, and have been used as a form of divination in countless cultures.  Much like the Nordic runes, the ancient Greeks had their own method of letter-based divination or “grammatomancy”, where each letter has a particular oracular meaning.  When combined with the other astrological and magical meanings that the Greek alphabet has gained over the centuries, this can become a powerful divination and magical tool indeed!  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of the Greek alphabet for easy-to-use divination and magic.  A copy of his first 60pp. publication, “De Grammatomanteia”, is included with the course for reference and study.  No prior knowledge is necessary, though a familiarity with the basics of divination and magical ideas would be helpful.

Introduction to the Headless Rite ($30), Sunday 10/13, 2pm ~ 4:30pm
Written 2000 years ago in Egypt, the powerful ritual known as the Headless Rite has been used for exorcism by mages in the Mediterranean, knowledge and conversation of the higher Self by Samuel MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, and empowerment over harmful forces by countless other magicians.  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of this ritual as he shows participants how and where to use the ritual to get the most out of it, both in the physical and the astral.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for ultimate cosmic power would be appreciated.

Basic Magical Tools and Supplies ($15), Sunday 11/3, 2pm ~ 4pm
Magic can be seen as the use of higher forces to attain lower ends or vice versa, and has been practiced differently by countless traditions, groups, lodges, and people across the ages.  That said, you don’t need to be a Wiccan to use an athame or a Christian to use holy oil!  Some magical supplies can be made, created, or adapted for any practitioner of magic for fantastic results.  Join Sam Block to discuss what forms magical tools can take, how to create basic tools and supplies, and methods to augment and empower yourself with everyday blessings and items you wouldn’t otherwise consider magical.  No prior knowledge is necessary.

Thinking With Planets ($15), Sunday 11/10, 2pm ~ 3:30pm
A lot of modern magical traditions focus on using the four elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, occasionally with the fifth element of Spirit, as the primary or only forces of their work.  However, even a few hundred years ago, magicians of all kinds used another set of forces: the planets!  With the powers of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, magicians were able to accomplish a lot more a lot faster, including directly affecting the elements themselves.  Join yours truly to learn how to introduce the use of the planets into your own work, basic magical timing, and how to connect the planets to the elements and vice versa.  No prior knowledge is necessary.

Introduction to Angelic Conjuration ($30), Sunday 12/8, 2pm ~ 4:30pm
When you hear about “conjuration”, do you think of pompous magicians in ruined castles wielding swords and hurling imperious threats at misunderstood spirits bound in arcane circles?  Then stop by with yours truly and learn the truth about ceremonial magic’s most famous type of ritual!  He will go over how conjuration really works, its history and roots in shamanic practices, proper conjuration etiquette, and a complete and easy introduction to conjuring and chatting with angels.  With little more than a circle and a glass of water, you too can start a magical practice with some of the most powerful and easily accessible forces in the cosmos!  Some knowledge of planets and spirits in the Western Mystery Tradition would be appreciated.

Dear readers, you have a good idea of what I know, do, and write about.  If you were (or are) able to stop by for a class or two, what other classes would you like to see taught?  I’m planning my two-day geomancy class for sometime early in 2014, but I also have a few other ideas.  What might you think would go well for a broadly introductory or basic topic for workshops?

Upcoming Classes at Sticks and Stones!

So Gwen and I were sitting down at Sticks and Stones, the store I do readings and classes at, and talked about our schedules for the first half of 2013, through the end of June.  Once we figured out what I wanted to blab endlessly about, we settled on the following set of courses from now until the end of June.  After all, being one of the few ceremonial magicians and geomancers on the East Coast, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge under my belt (though by no means enough) to share around with folks willing enough to hear me out and pay a small-but-reasonable fee, about $30 per class.  With that in mind, here’s my teaching schedule for the first half of 2013.  All the classes will be on Sunday afternoons.

Written 2000 years ago in Egypt, the powerful ritual known as the Headless Rite has been used for exorcism by mages in the Mediterranean, knowledge and conversation of the higher Self by Samuel MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, and empowerment over harmful forces by countless other magicians.  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of this ritual as he shows participants how and where to use the ritual to get the most out of it, both in the physical and the astral.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for ultimate cosmic power would be appreciated.

  • Geomancy I and II (March 3 and 10, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., $50)

Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.

Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Ancient Alexandria during the Roman Empire was a melting pot of Greek, Hebrew, Egyptian, Roman, and other influences as far west as Morocco and as far east as India and China.  With those cultures came their gods and goddesses, spiritual beliefs, and magic rituals.  Many of these were preserved in the Greek Magical Papyri, considered to be occult’s version of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Join yours truly as he goes over Hermetic beliefs, practices, and rituals used by magicians from the early Roman Empire in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.  No previous experience necessary; come on by and learn these ready-to-use rituals!

The Western Mystery Tradition is often seen as dry and boring, barren of the vibrant multitude of spirits, fey, and familiars that many forms of paganism and rural religion have.  Not true!  In fact, this system of occult philosophy is teeming with huge numbers of spirits, many of whom are more than happy to lend a hand.  Join yours truly in learning about the two major kinds of spirits worked with and called upon in the Hermetic tradition, who’s who in the seven planetary families and the four elemental families, how to call upon them, and what they can do for you in your own practice and life.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for getting chatty with the spirit world would be appreciated.

When you hear about “conjuration”, do you think of pompous magicians in ruined castles wielding swords and hurling imperious threats at misunderstood spirits bound in arcane circles?  Then stop by with yours truly and learn the truth about ceremonial magic’s most famous type of ritual!  Yours truly will go over how conjuration really works, its history and roots in shamanic practices, proper conjuration etiquette, and a complete and easy introduction to conjuring and chatting with angels.  With little more than a circle and a glass of water, you too can start a magical practice with some of the most powerful and easily accessible forces in the cosmos!  Some knowledge of spirits in the Western Mystery Tradition would be appreciated.

Creating magical items of arcane power have always been a high art in magical traditions, ranging from hoodoo-style mojo bags enchanted with oils and herbs to silver discs inscribed with astrological symbols to pull power from the stars.  Although different traditions have different concepts of creating, maintaining, and decommissioning magical items, also called talismans, the process in creating them is often the same.  Join Sam Block as he describes different styles of talismans, how to use them, how to make them, and how to maintain them.  No prior knowledge or experience necessary, though a familiarity with astrology, geomancy, or elemental forces might come in use.

Besides the above, are there any other classes you might want to see me teach?  After all, dear readers, you probably know specific things you’d like to see me blog about more, and helping to teach others helps teach myself as well.  Possibly a class on Hermetic cosmology, magical timing, or similar, but what might you like to see for the latter half of 2013 and years beyond?

Recommended Books (it’s not technically a lie)

An email forwarded to me by one of the owners of the store where I do readings and workshops at:

Hello,

I recognize Magic as a high path of knowledge, and because of my desire for what it offers, wish to follow this path.

I am writing to ask if you can offer any book recommendations for a beginner. I want to learn all the fields of Astrology, Tarot, Kabbalah, and Magic at the same time. This is because I believe more information from more than one source will draw out connections faster and lead to understanding essential principles.

Regards,

<redacted>

And my earnest(?) reply:

Heya!  Hope you’re doing well, Mr. <redacted>.

As Gwen and Bubbles mentioned, I’m one of the readers at Sticks and Stones, and my specialty is on qabbalah, geomancy, and Hermetic ceremonial magic.  Learning astrology, tarot, kabbalah, and magic at the same time is quite the endeavor, and to learn all the fields would take multiple lifetimes; learning even one field of one of those arts sufficiently is quite the challenge in and of itself!  Astrology encompasses the natal, horary, electional, mundane, and synastric styles, and that’s to say nothing of Vedic jyotish or Chinese traditional astrology; Kabbalah is sufficiently different in its fields that it can be considered a family of separate arts in and of themselves; magic is so broad a term that it really can encompass most of human civilization!  However, I can definitely offer some resources to help introduce you to the fields generally.

A very short, very abbreviated list of books:

  • Homer, “Iliad”
  • Homer, “Odyssey”
  • Virgil, “Aeneid”
  • The Bible
  • Jack Miles, “God: A Biography”
  • Jack Miles, “Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God”
  • Plato, “Timaeus”
  • Aristotle, “Metaphysics”
  • Ptolemy, “Almagest”
  • Ptolemy, “Tetrabiblos”
  • Brian Copenhauer, “Hermetica”
  • Robin Waterfield, “The Theology of Arithmetic”
  • Storm Constantine, the Wraeththu series of books (the first three, at least)
  • Draja Mickaharic, “Practice of Magic”
  • Judy Hall, “The Art of Psychic Protection”

You may notice that the list above is primarily religious, philosophical, and mythological, mostly because that’s what magic is.  One needs a very, very strong grounding in a wide variety of fields before one can even begin to approach the mysteries of magic, especially the long and ancient tradition of Hermetic magic.  Works like Homer or the Bible were considered holy and magical in their own right, even back in classical times, and are still considered so today thousands of years later.  Only when one is deeply intimate with the heart of Western literature and symbolism will the rich and sublime language of symbols speak to you and teach you themselves when you crack open most books on magic and the occult.  Even just gazing at the Tarot (say, the Rider-Waite or Thoth decks) will teach you on their own as a kind of abbreviated textbook of the universe.

Hope this helps!

Geomancy Class Outline

I’m getting ready to teach a few classes at Sticks and Stones, the local new age and earth spirituality book store I do readings at, for the rest of this year.  Later this month, on September 23 and 30, I’m teaching a two-part course on geomancy, since apparently I know things and can teach them.  I dunno why people trust me to do this for them without, like, burning down the state of Virginia in the process.  Either way, it’s an awesome opportunity for me, the local occulture, and the art of geomancy as well, since this really is an art that deserves more love than it gets after being neglected for a few centuries.

Well, as usual, I’m pretty much winging it, and don’t really have a structure yet for the course.  Regardless if they go well, I’d like to keep teaching about geomancy, perhaps offering the course several times a year or offering special workshops on detailed topics within geomancy.  If the courses go well, fantastic!  If not, I hope to tweak the courses around and figure out what went wrong, what went well, and what can be improved upon.  To that end and to help me prepare, I’d like to ask the occult blogosphere and you, dear reader, to help me out.

Each session is two hours long, and there are two sessions.  I’ve decided to break the material up into the first session:

  • What geomancy is and is not
  • History of geomancy: Sahara, Middle East, Africa, Europe
  • Basic figure meanings
  • Figure groupings: stable vs. mobile, odd vs. even
  • Geomancy and astrology: planets, signs, elements
  • Making the figures: traditional sand-and-stick method, pen-and-paper, coins, dice, cards
  • Pairwise interpretation: two parents and a child

…and the second session:

  • Practice of divination: ethics, state of mind and conditions, query vs. querent vs. quesited
  • Generating the Mothers, the Shield Chart, and the House Chart
  • Interpreting the Shield Chart: the four groups of figures, via puncti, sum of the chart, figure triads
  • Interpreting the House Chart: the houses, perfection, aspects, favorability, company

Attending the first session is a requirement for attending the second, which makes sense to me.  I want the first session to give a solid foundation for geomancy and its symbols while giving them a taste of what they can do, with the full art and technique being explored in the second session.  I’m also planning on giving a set of handouts for the course, so people can take something home with them, have some premade notes, and some references to guide them as they start working with geomancy:

  • Basic terms, symbols, definitions
  • Figures, meanings, correspondences
  • Shield Chart template
  • House Chart template
  • Perfection and examples

Knowing the above, what do you, dear reader, think?  Is the course inclusive enough to get a basic but firm grip on geomancy?  Is there anything I missed you’d like to see included?  Is there anything you think doesn’t need to be gone over?

Upcoming classes at Sticks and Stones!

Now that I’m doing weekly divination readings at the local bookstore, Sticks and Stones in Fairfax, Virginia, I’ve been willingly corralled into offering workshops and classes for the public.  Being one of the few ceremonial magicians and geomancers on the East Coast, I’ve got a lot of experience and knowledge under my belt (though by no means enough) to share around with folks willing enough to hear me out and pay a small-but-reasonable fee, about $30 per class.  With that in mind, here’s my teaching schedule for the rest of 2012.  All the classes will be on Sunday afternoons.

Tired of Tarot?  Pained by pendulums?  Weary of runes?  Want something new and fun, or just a system of divination that makes sense?  Learn geomancy!  This ancient art was second only to astrology for centuries, and known across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East for its ease and accuracy of getting answers.  Join a seasoned geomancer, yours truly, as he introduces geomancy back into the occult scene once more.  Learn about its history from desert sands of the Sahara to its modern revival across the world, the sixteen geomantic figures and their meanings, and how to answer any kind of question with geomancy using basic and advanced techniques.

Note that this class is not about feng shui, the I Ching, ley lines, or sacred geography, all of which may be called “geomancy” in other contexts.  Due to the amount of material, this class is broken up into two sessions; attending the first is a requirement for attending the second!  A basic knowledge of astrology and mathematics is suggested but not required.

Written 2000 years ago in Egypt, the powerful ritual known as the Headless Rite has been used for exorcism by mages in the Mediterranean, knowledge and conversation of the higher Self by Samuel MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, and empowerment over harmful forces by countless other magicians.  Join yours truly in discussing the origins, development, and use of this ritual as he shows participants how and where to use the ritual to get the most out of it, both in the physical and the astral.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for ultimate cosmic power would be appreciated.

The Western Mystery Tradition is often seen as dry and boring, barren of the vibrant multitude of spirits, fey, and familiars that many forms of paganism and rural religion have.  Not true!  In fact, this system of occult philosophy is teeming with huge numbers of spirits, many of whom are more than happy to lend a hand.  Join yours truly in learning about the two major kinds of spirits worked with and called upon in the Hermetic tradition, who’s who in the seven planetary families and the four elemental families, how to call upon them, and what they can do for you in your own practice and life.  No prior knowledge is necessary, but a desire for getting chatty with the spirit world would be appreciated.

When you hear about “conjuration”, do you think of pompous magicians in ruined castles wielding swords and hurling imperious threats at misunderstood spirits bound in arcane circles?  Then stop by with yours truly and learn the truth about ceremonial magic’s most famous type of ritual!  Yours truly will go over how conjuration really works, its history and roots in shamanic practices, proper conjuration etiquette, and a complete and easy introduction to conjuring and chatting with angels.  With little more than a circle and a glass of water, you too can start a magical practice with some of the most powerful and easily accessible forces in the cosmos!  Some knowledge of spirits in the Western Mystery Tradition would be appreciated.

I’ve already got some ideas lined up for some classes in 2013, so stay tuned, both on my blog and the Sticks and Stones site for more details! I’m thinking about going over sections of the PGM, various topics on geomantic technique, Hermetic cosmology, Greek gematria and stoichiometry, magic circle design, ceremonial magic timing, and more. If you have any suggestions for classes, feel free to let me know in the comments!

Local Divination Readings!

Not too long ago, I was at the local new age bookstore with some friends of mine, who themselves are friends with the shop owners and sometimes sell their own crafts and wares there.  I overheard them talking about divination and oracles, and since that’s been my speciality (even given all this ceremonial magic stuff, geomancy will always be my ars prima), I asked what they were talking about.  It turns out that a gentleman came in for a reading, but there weren’t any readers present that day that could take him.  My friend piped in a (hugely influential and highly praiseful) word and suggested I do the reading for him, so I did.  This pleased the shopowners, and since they needed someone to do readings on weekends, and since I could use the extra practice and pocket money, I agreed.

So, if you’re local to or passing through the northern Virginia or DC metro area, stop by from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday afternoons at Sticks and Stones in Fairfax and come see me!  It’s a store with excellent people serving the local new age, pagan, and occult community, with classes, sessions, readings, and wares galore. It’s geared towards earth-based or Goddess spirituality crowds, but real Divinity is accessible to all, so whatever.  Besides, Western Mystery Tradition magic and lore is part of the bedrock of a lot of things, so hopefully I can make a contribution in my own ways to the local community!  Also, the owners, Gwen and Bubbles, are hilarious and fantastic people, and for once, I’m not the only male reader in the crowd (psychic fairs are fairly female-dominated, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

As for me, I do three types of geomancy readings.

  • Simple readings (two figures plus their resulting figure).  Good for simple questions about a situation, in either a you-versus-them view or a past-present-future perspective.
  • Full readings (complete geomantic chart interpretation).  Applicable for any situation, in-depth and detailed.  The most common, too, since it actually helps flesh out a situation pretty well.
  • Life readings (complete geomantic chart interpretation overlaid with astrological natal horoscope information).  Interprets a geomantic interpretation of one’s life combined with traditional astrological technique and information.  Comes with a full transcript and analysis.  Requires full birth date, time, and location, as well as contact information to send the transcript.

If you’re interested in geomancy in general, I suggest you take a look at the Yahoo! group Geomantic Campus, which has plenty of resources to get started with and where I’m involved in chart analysis and technique critiquing.  I’m not taking divination requests online right now, but if there’s enough of a demand, I might set up an online payment thingy for people interested in it.

Also, a quick word on my particular style of geomancy.  The technique of generating the geomantic charts relies on obtaining the four Mothers, four geomantic figures that form the “seed” of the rest of the chart.  How the Mothers are formed is up to the geomancer in question; as long as the method can produce a binary answer, it can produce a geomantic figure.  The traditional method is to make sixteen lines of dots in sand, dirt, or wax, then figure out whether each line has an odd or even number of dots, then group the odd/even result into groups of four lines, and boom, four geomantic figures.  I use this method when I have no supplies with me, since it takes nothing more than a pen and paper (or a stick and sand, if you’re being really old-school about it), but it takes a long time and it feels messy.  Dice also work well, especially since a lot of my friends are tabletop gamers, where I use a d4 (tetrahedron) to represent the Fire line of a geomantic figure, a d8 (octohedron) for Air, a d20 (isocahedron) for Water, and a d6 (cube) for Earth, using the proper Platonic solid for each elemental line of a geomantic figure.  However, I most prefer my deck of geomantic cards: a 64-card deck of cards I designed and printed, with four cards per geomantic figure (because it is possible that a geomantic figure can appear more than once in the Mothers).

Update: Come out and meet me for the official meet and greet on Sunday, 7/29, from 2 to 4 p.m.!