Sexism is a topic that came up in a forum I recently started participating in. None contested that it was endemic in occulture, but few seemed interested in exploring why this was.
I know women who have been asked “who are you here with?” when they attended events. Several have had men try to “explain” technical points to them, unprompted. In my own experience, at a public gathering, after choosing a stone to represent an element, I overheard a man complain that I should not have been “allowed” to choose Fire.
The most common reaction reaction to the above was a dropped jaw, and a private resolution to never attend such events again. And they don’t. Yet many (men, usually) seem bewildered by low attendance of women in their groups, temples, and lodges. Continue reading
In a recent discussion on AIM, I was asked about tarot’s role in decision-making. We’ve looked at tarot and accuracy, and sharing bad news with a client, but what happens when they want you or the cards to make a decision for them?
I’ve heard it’s not “good” practice to expect the tarot to make decisions for you and it may be better to only ask it what the outcomes to things might be if you continue down the same path?
Many will suggest that the mere fact the querent is aware of new possibilities may alter the outcome, but past experience has demonstrated that it is incredibly rare for someone to radically change their character, even when it may be in their best interest to do so. Continue reading
Recently I posted a list of my top five foundational books on tarot – books that give a solid grounding in tarot’s history and practical use.
I’m no tarotist scholar, and I found Decker’s article in Gnosis (#46, Winter 1998) convincing and enlightening. However, I was left unconvinced that there was no connection to esoteric Egyptian tradition. Tony Bushby…suggests that 22 Hebrew characters were ‘occulted’ in the Egyptian Book of Thoth/God, and that ‘tarot’ is a plural form of Torah. [...]
In tarot’s fairly well documented history (letters, accounting ledgers, early examples of tarot cards and “regular” playing cards, etc.), there is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that tarot cards were intended for use as anything other than an innovating card game. Serious tarot practitioners know this, it’s the occultists who resist reading anything in depth outside their genre – and I say this as an occultist myself! (Probably because occultists have invested so much in the mystification of tarot they figure it’d be a shame to stop now.) Continue reading
There are some books that are required reading for the dedicated student, and this list represents my top five books dedicated to chaos magick – books that defined chaos magick as a distinct field of study and practice.
1. Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic, by Peter Carroll
Liber Null, first published in the late 1970s by Ray Sherwin, is the handbook for the Illuminates of Thanteros, the first group dedicated to chaos magick. The IOT was conceived of as a new kind of order based on meritocracy, and Liber Null serves as an introductory text to what was then a new approach to magickal practice.
New Falcon published Liber Null and Psychonaut together in 1987. Psychonaut expands upon themes raised in Liber Null, and contains the much maligned pseudo-scientific approach to catastrophe theory, but it does have its moments, defining and reframing magickal theories for a new generation of occultists.
The material draws heavily from Aleister Crowley, and sections of Magick are frequently paraphrased – even example for example in some cases. Even so, it remains a cornerstone of chaos magick, and its relevance has not dimmed. Continue reading
I do not believe in sin as typically described by the various sects of the world’s major religions. In my heart, there are two kinds of sin: sins against humanity (abuses of human rights) and sins against yourself. It is with the latter that the following missive is primarily concerned, heavily informed by Thelema, New Age philosophies and Modern Satanism.
A sin against yourself is something that only you can judge. You sin against yourself every time you do something that goes directly against your True Will. When you do not live up to your honest potential, when what you do holds you back instead of propelling you forth, even if that thing is refusing to forgive yourself for past mishaps, I believe you are sinning against yourself. (It should be noted that I do not feel this applies to normal, natural, healthy periods of stagnation, contemplation and plateau states.)
I used to think that the concept of True Will was malarkey. No one I spoke with could tell me what True Will was or how to discover it. I kept asking and wondering what kind of person doesn’t know what he or she really wants in life? But then I took a good look at the society around me, and I saw that we tie ourselves into secret knots all the time, constantly confusing ourselves about what we want and what is best. Continue reading