HELIOS GLOBAL RITE IS NOW!!!

090ab1e9-ac4b-420e-8544-6850216bd790The Helios Global Rite is happening now, but the window is still open through the 4th if you want in on it.

Best yet, we are following this up in the Strategic Sorcery Community with a 2 week challenge – an invocation of a planetary power every other day starting next Monday. This lets us hit them in Chaldean Order and set all the seven rays upon our goal.

The Global Rite and Challenges are open to anyone in the course, so if you want a 52 lessons on Strategic Sorcery AND a community of people all working to boost each others success, COME ON IN. 

THE STRATEGIC SORCERY COURSE: $150





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Conventions and Money

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Last month Taylor Elwood wrote an Open Letter to Pagan Convention Organizers, detailing how he is no longer going to present at conferences where it is expected that he foot the bill to come and present workshops. This post was followed by much conversation and a few other posts on the subject. Some expand his post to talk about the place of Money in Paganism, and others that take a more moderate approach.

Doing live presentations stopped being an integral part of my business a few years ago when my wife got Breast Cancer. I cancelled any and all appearances for the future and wound up making more money that year than ever before, so I didn’t really look back. Now when I appear at one of these things, its mostly because I want to go and hang out and get away for the weekend, not because its part of my career.  I really can only make time for once or twice a year at best due to other obligations anyway.

That said, my position  for myself has been similar to Taylor’s for a few years now. If you want me to talk, I am not paying for the conference and travel needs to be taken care of. Of course, I have written four books that are published widely and have been a professional for a long time now. If I was just making my name, or trying to break in, I would not hold the same position. What you can do after you accumulate your proverbial 1000 True Fans, is a lot different than what you do before that.  Individual presenters should assess where they are at in their career and build a business plan for themselves. What is good policy for me now, would not necessarily be good policy before I wrote a book. That said, while there was a time when I would not expect to be paid for my presentations, at no point would I ever pay to get into a conference or festival that I was presenting at. I think, that’s a pretty good hard limit for anyone.

We also need to be aware of how things are on the other side of the convention. Organizers take risks and massive planning to put these things on. SOMA is still trying to recover from having to cancel its Conference in October. Without there being some transparency and communication between organizers and presenters there will be nothing but lack of understanding. Organizers should have a clear idea of how many established professionals, pre-established professionals, and purely local presenters they want to have and set their rates accordingly.

I believe, and have built my career on the idea that writers, magicians, diviners, and Pagan teachers should be paid professionals; but lets not equate not getting paid at a conference to being asked to work for free. It’s a conference. In most fields conferences exist for people to meet and share ideas, and there are only a few paid key-note speakers.

So, if I don’t attend these events much, and think everyone just needs to decide for themselves whats right, why am I even making this post?

Because the financial well-being of Magical and Pagan Elders is one of the things I care a lot about. Seeing the generation of Authors that I grew up on spend their elder years in poverty is one of the reasons I wrote Financial Sorcery. While I often donate to them as a matter of policy I have stopped sharing GoFundMe campaigns because they are appearing in overwhelming frequency asking for everything from help with true emergencies, to money for festival travel, and paying for initiations.  All of these are fine (though I would argue that some ingenuity and good old capitalism might yield better fuit), but clearly the Pagan and Occult community needs to build a better relationship with money.

I think ultimately that there should be some re-thinking of the whole festival/conference scene at all links of the chain: Presenters, Organizers, Attendees.

Some suggestions:

PRESENTERS: Be firm  in what you expect when you present. If it’s local, then by all means pop in and give a talk. I do this at Crucible almost every year and wouldn’t take money even if it was offered. If its not, and you are at a level where you don’t need to get your name out there, then only appear if they pay travel expenses. Other than that, be clear about what YOU want out of it. Most of the time I only go to these things because I want to meet people and hang out, so the money is secondary to a weekend away from the kids hanging with people in the picture above. If money is your motivation, then be clear about it. That said, if your business model hinges on payments from festivals and conferences, you should probably re-think it.

ORGANIZERS: Charge enough admission so that you can make money if the festival goes well. Worried about the people that can’t afford it? Charge enough admission so that you can be generous to those that need a scholarship or a discount to get in. Have work study. Charge enough admission so that you can pay people that you think will make you money. Be frank about those who you think won’t do that for you and don’t over-extend yourself.

Also, experiment with some different formats. Crucible is interesting precisely because it holds spaces for non-professionals you would not get to hear elsewhere, and its focus on the fringes of practical magic. Perhaps a convention where you have not just a theme but ONE TOPIC that you explore in depth. I don’t mean a broad topic either like “LHP”. I mean one ritual or one ritual act. In the 90’s when a Buddhist event and a Pagan festival would happen at the same time I almost always chose the Buddhist event. Even though it would be less fun (a lot less fun) I knew I would learn something in depth that I could use.  You could have an entire convention around Trithemius’s Drawing Spirits into Crystals or the Marseilles Tarot.

Provide more value and people will pay the admission price that will ultimately make you and your presenters more money.

ATTENDEES: I don’t have much in the way of advice for you. You really are what make the whole thing run. I know that there are a lot of complaints about how you expect everything for free and don’t want to pay for teachings, but I have not found this to be true at all. It is up to the organizers and presenters to create value that you will pay for, and to provide some kind of easements for those that can’t but have honest and earnest interest. Sure there are a few haters out there that bitch that anything costs money, or don’t understand why they can’t barter their mojo bags for admission, but for the most part I think you absolutely will pay when value is demonstrated. This goes not just for festivals but for paid Pagan Clergy as well. Whenever someone tells me that they want Pagan Clergy to be paid like Christian Ministers are, I point out that if they form an organization that provides charity, comunity, REAL pastoral counseling, and care for sick and the old that getting paid positions will happen in short order.

My only advice is to let organizers know what you really are looking for and put your money where your mouth is.

The picture above is from a panel at Between The Worlds conference, which from what I could see, is an excellent example how to do a convention right for Organizers, Presenters, and Attendees alike.

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Strategic Sorcery: Does it work TOO WELL?

Helios Rite 02I got the following comment in an apprentices field report, that sums up something that many students have communicated:

Sometimes I almost wonder if I am not neglecting other parts of my magical education by having my problems solved so (relatively) easily this way. The thing is, it fucking WORKS.”
-VM

You see, when most of your magic is aimed at fixing stuff thats broken, you might not know what to do with yourself when it gets fixed. When you learn how to apply sorcery effectivly, when you learn how regular high-ROI practices can grease the wheels of probability, when you learn how spirit allies formed though offerings and communion can start solving problems while or even before they manifest, you might have to start thinking beyond fixing things.

You start to focus on the great work of realization.
You start to project sorcery out in the world to make changes for others.
You start to live the life that reflects who you are – A Sorceress and Mystic.

On February 2nd, we are having the HELIOS GLOBAL SUCCESS RITE. It is open only to members of the Strategic Sorcery Course.

Want in?

Shoot me an e-mail at strategicsorcery@gmail.com

or just hit the link below.

STRATEGIC SORCERY COURSE
52 Weeks of Lessons for $150





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Framing Goals on a Trajectory

Last week I did one of my resolution consults for a client who wanted to increase their income. The goal they listed was “To make $20,000 per month in 2016”. This would represent a significant uptick from their current income, but is not unrealistic or unattainable given their business and they brought in last year.

I had them re-frame their goal anyway because it was too static and did not set them on a trajectory for future success.

In this case January was alredy half over and while business has been steadily improving they were not likely to hit the 20K mark, so they would be starting off the year failing at a monthly goal.

But even if they did hit that goal in January – Do you really want to have the same goal 12 months later? What does that say about your business? That it has plateaued.

Of course in business, as in most of life, things generally do not stay plateaued. Things grow, or shrink, which is why I am not a huge fan of big static goals, and instead aim to set things on a trajectory.

I told the client that making $240,000 year was totally a great yearly goal, but that they should be sure to break it down so that they were hitting that 20K a month mark in June or July. Aim for 13 in January, 15 in February, 16 in March, and so on.  Then in September aim for 23. In December be aiming at 24 or 25k for the month. This way to hit the number you want for the year and do not suffer from failing the first few months when an instant increase to 20 falls outside the spectrum of enchantable possibility. Best of all you set the trajectory for next year.

No matter what you are attempting: weight loss, increase in clients, return on investments, or clarity of mind – remember to think in terms of trajectory and not static goals – then strategize accordingly.

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Fantasy and Sorcery

pic505841Over on the Strategic Sorcery Group we have been having some discussions about the intersection of Role Playing Games, Fantasy fiction, and Sorcery.

Here is my position in a nutshell:

Magic is real but deals with subtle forces and intelligence’s that, Because of their subtle nature, are is easily polluted with fantasy from the mind of even the best magician. The job of the Strategic Sorcerer is to anchor it more strongly to reality. Anchoring it to fiction does the opposite.

I am not against Role Playing Games. I have played D&D, Mage the Ascension, and my favorite Arcanum.

I am not against comic books. I love the Invisibles. I have read the whole series multiple times. I read through a readers guide to the Invisibles because I love it so much. Yet, I find the idea that it is on any list of how to learn magic, much less a top 5 list, to be inane.

More often than not I see people linking their magic to fantasy or role playing games as an extension of fandom, not of magic. It is an attempt to frame real life in the terms of the game or show or book. To view yourself as a Mage against the Technocracy, or an Invisible against the Archons. It promotes a fantasy life over dealing with real life, and makes magic worse not better. I don’t think many of us would like cops who think “Man, I am just like Jack Bauer on 24! I am gonna act like that…” or doctors who think “I am just like House. What would House do?”

As Sorcerers we are already dealing with powers and forces at the edges of reality. It is our job to ultilize these forces to effect the real world, not drift off into fantasy. Strategic Sorcery is all about real life, not escapism.

RPG‘s do help visualization skills, promote imagination, and can even build empathy and other skills. But you get these benefits from playing the game as a game, just like any other game. Games are great and helpful. One of my favorite reads from last year was Superbetter. But that is something very different

You might even find yourself inspired to try an experiment or investigate something magically through an RPG or a piece of fiction. If so, take that idea and see what the essence of it is and apply in as real a way as possible.

It’s not that there is no overlap. Real magic finds its way into fantasy all the time, and magicians can take some inspiration from fantasy. I joke all the time that I went to Nepal to learn magic from the Tibetans because that’s what Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange did. But they did that in the stories because it was once the place that many people thought of as the ultimate seat of esoteric knowlege. I didn’t pretend I was Doctor Strange, or try to create spells like the Crimson Bands of Cittorak, or contact Agamotto. I moved to Nepal to see what it was actually about.

I will end by reiterating my main point:

Sorcery is subtle and intangible enough. The work of the Sorcerer is to apply it to influencing reality, not drift into escapism.

 

NOTE: This is not an anti-chaos magic rant. Chaos magic has much more to offer than weaving fiction into magic, and there is a lot of exciting work being done in that field.

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What to Teach First?

OFFERINGSWhen I first learned to play guitar I did not take a class or learn music theory. A friend told me to bring a guitar to coffee house called The Inkwell. He taught me two chords: G and A. He taught me to strum the tune to Jane Says by Jane’s Addiction.

He told me to practice it for a week and to learn to sing along with the tune. A week later I went back to the Inkwell and got up and played Jane Says in front of the crowd. It was exhilerating, and the people at the open mic were supportive and understanding.

I was hooked. It sparked a passion for playing that drove to learn as much as I could as fast as I could.

Why am I telling this story?

Because a long time student of mine recently had someone who has never done any magic at all ask to be taught. He assured me that he would start with meditation and make sure that the student knew how much work and practice is involved in magic. I told him to do the opposite. I said teach a spell or a ritual that will excite him.

Yes, meditation is the cornerstone of my work. Yes, sorcery requires work and study and practice. It also requires drive, and excitement, and motivation.

I think that those of us who put in decades of work sometimes want to over-emphasize how much we work and sacrifice for our craft and forget about igniting passion. I see people join orders and get told to memorize 777 columns or sit perfectly still for an hour a day. I get it. I also get disgusted at young practitioners who get upset if they cannot find a PDF of a grimoire within 20 minutes of hearing about it, or can only hold attention on en entire tradition of magic for the time it takes to read one book on it.

All that work is real, and you should make your students aware that being good at it takes work, time, and effort. Just give them something to get them excited enough to do the work first!

At 19 if I was told to practice scales for a month before I played a song, I might have given up learning to play. Instead someone ignited a passion in me that made me want to put the work in.

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HELIOS GLOBAL SUCCESS RITE – Feb 2nd

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Candlemas/Imbolc is coming, which means that its time for the Helios Success Rite.

As the sun begins to grow in length and strength we will honor the power of the sun and ask it to illuminate the paths to our goals – spiritual, financial, romantic, and otherwise. Those of you who have made New Years resolutions – this is the time that the sh*t gets real, and a nice warm breeze and a ray of light from Helios is just the thing to keep it going.

Here is a testimonial from someone that used the course material to turn their finances around. Its kind of long, but indicative of the work we do in the Strategic Sorcery Community:

“Eight months ago, I was in trouble. I was laid off from a job that I have had for 14 years. After six months of looking, I had not gotten one job offer and every week that passed saw me digging myself deeper and deeper into credit card debt to cover my expenses. 

I have 20 years of experience in both Wicca and Ceremonial Magic. I was trying every kind of money magic that I could think of. Each spell would turn up a small amount of money as a gift, or an off-the books job here and there but nothing long term. 

A friend told me about success he had been having with Jason’s class and I signed up. That was eight months ago. I wrote Jason about my immediate problems and was hoping for some spell that would turn things around in a hurry. 

Instead of a spell he had me forward him my resume and some over letters. He suggested several spells to be done at different points in the search and was kind enough to forward me the Job Finding lesson, even though it comes later in the course than where I was.

He also tore my resume to shreds, essentially telling me that I had better learn how to look for work in the new economy or no amount of magic would help. He was polite about it, I was still pretty pissed off about being told that my resume was inadequate. It felt like an attack. Still, I took his suggestions, went to my unemployment office, and signed up for a resume writing class. They pretty much confirmed everything he said, and I whittled my 2 page monster that listed everything I had ever done, down to a lean one page bullet listed resume that could easily be changed for each job. 

Sure enough after starting regular offerings to the local spirits, praying to Gaia for my Macro-Enchantment, doing a loadstone spell on a master copy of my resume’s (I have a different one for each job now), and trying my hand at some embedded commands in the  job interview, I was offered a job just five weeks later. The only problem is that it barely paid above what unemployment was paying. 

I wrote Jason to thank him for the advice and tell him about the job. Even though it really did not pay enough, it was work, and could maybe lead someplace better. I had called on the earth mother and spirits for help, and I would graciously accept what they offered to me. 

What Jason suggested next kind of blew my mind. He told me that if it was him, he would turn down the job and keep looking. 

To me this seemed like an affront to the Gods. I prayed for help, they offered help, and now he thought I should piss them off by not accepting their assistance! This was against everything I have been taught about magic.

Jason’s argument was that when I did my invocations I was not specifying my salary requirements, only that I wanted a job. Since I still had a few extensions left on unemployment he suggested that I thank the powers for their offering, but change my invocations to be specific about my salary. He also suggested that if I was worried about unemployment running out that I devote more time to finding more off-the book my work as well. 

Although it went against my own instinct I took his advice and was glad I did. Though it is not what I was making before getting laid off I now have a job that covers all my bills and have part time work at a local tool rental place fixing and maintaining the machines. I have never had two steady streams of income before, but now that I do I feel invincible! I am quickly burning through my debt using the Strategic Sorcery Debt killing strategy and will then move into savings and retirement. In eight months I went from thinking I would have to abandon  my house and move in with my parents, to focusing on building retirement savings.

I cannot speak highly enough about the course and the way it has changed my life.

 – D.G.   

Of course to take part in the rite, you have to join the course:

If one year of the best practical magic training and a series of group rites aimed at bolstering your success seems like a good idea to you, just click the link below, or send me an e-maiat at strategicsorcery@gmail.com for more info.

STRATEGIC SORCERY COURSE $150





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The Blog-o-Sphere

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Me and Gordon from RuneSoup.com making fun of you for not updating your blogs.

The “Blogosphere”? What is this 2008? 

Yes dammit! The Blogosphere!

Many of the magic blogs that I follow have slowed down to a snails pace. Those that have been active, seem to have most of the comments on facebook rather than on the blogs themselves. Part of this is due to spammers slamming blogs so hard that we shut comments off unless we approve them – which is a hassle, but part of it is simply that most people are on FB and its a good platform for commenting and sharing.

But we shouldn’t yield ground to Facebook for what it is not good at, and it does suck for long form thoughts and articles. I am re-committing myself to this blog and am aiming at two original content posts a week: Tuesdays and Fridays. There will still be sales announcements and global rite announcements and all that jazz, but at least two articles a week.

I am also re-doing my blog-roll on the side and wanted to bring attention to the following Blogs and Bloggers, all of whom have passed through the hallowed halls of Strategic Sorcery and may or may not have a post or two that relates to that work. Some of them have been blogging for a long time and just new to my blog roll.

All the bloggers above have active and vibrant blogs with at least one post per month. Any less than that and I will be dropping them from the blog roll.

A few other blogs took long breaks but now seem to be springing to life:

Patrick Dunn is waxing philosophic at POST MODERN MAGIC

Christopher Warnock seemed silent for a bit but has popped out a few new posts over at RENAISSANCE ASTROLOGY

Balthazar woke up CONJURE GNOSIS last year after a long slow period and has continued to pop out excellent posts

Of course there are many long standing blogs that have been active and kicking up much since their inception.

RUNE SOUP has now gotten into podcasting, and Gordon is releasing not one but TWO books this year.

CHARMED I’M SURE remains the place to get the Glad Hand on Deborah”s  Glamorous Glamoury

BLOGOS continues to tie Occultism to genetics and cellular consciousness, and to tell us what us wrong with the WMT (hint: it has to do with the Kircher Tree...)

HEAD FOR RED has slowed down but is hanging in there.

ANANAEL is the home of Aaron Leitch who is also doing the blogging duties at Llewellyn since the passing of DMK.

GLEAMINGS FROM THE GOLDEN DAWN manages to be one of the only GD related blogs that is still sane and interesting to non GD people.

AUGOEDES is the place to go for commentary on occulture.

WANDERINGS IN THE LABYRINTH is the home of one the most insightful occultists I know.

Do you have a blog that I should be following? Did I miss you? Let me know.

There are a lot of people I would like to hear more from, but who have not updated their blogs in more than a month. Get writing! Make Video! Record something on Vocaroo! Something…

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David Bowie.

This morning, Tiffany woke me up with the words “David Bowie died last night”. It’s kind of odd how some moments feel like they just get stapled into the memory books because of their importance. I barely knew who John Lennon was when he died, but remember distinctly the moment I heard about it and feeling that it was an important moment of loss. This felt like that

Bowie had been on my mind lately because I just purchased his new album Blackstar two days ago based on Gordon White‘s recommendation. I am still absorbing it. It was released on his birthday, January 8th. Like a lot of people I will be listening with new ears today and hearing it as his goodbye to the world. It inspires me deeply that he released relevant and good work right up to the end.

Bowie of course was deeply interested and involved in magic and the occult, and so is certainly on-topic for this blog, but other than a few songs he kept that part of his life mostly private. In other ways his influence will continue to be felt for ages, and I don’t think it is much of a stretch to say that the culture would look different if he had not been here. By playing with gender and androgyny at a time when it was deeply taboo, he helped pave a way for thousands of people to feel comfortable in their own skin and be who they really are.

This morning the kids ate breakfast listening to “Starman” and “Life on Mars”. Matthew said :”Are all his songs about space people?”, and I got to tell them about this crazy rock star who used to dress up and pretend to be a space alien named Ziggy Stardust. I also told them that a David Bowie song was the first music video recorded in space.

When Bowie sang the words “Let the children lose it. Let the children use it. Let all the children boogie.” They got up and danced.

 

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20+C+M+B+16

Today is the last day of Christmas, also known as Epiphany.

There are a lot of events and meanings that get tacked onto this day: the baptism of Christ, the extension of grace to gentiles, and most importantly the visitation of the Three Magi-Kings.

The three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar are mentioned in several grimoires. The Epiphany Mass is when special chalk for making the circle mentioned in the 6th and 7th books of Moses gets consecrated.

Catholics of course use the chalk to mark their door with the year and initials of the three wise men.

20 + C + M + B + 16

The initials also stand for Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.”Carmelites use the following prayer:

The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and sixteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here with the gift of your love; and grant that we may manifest your love to each other and to all whose lives we touch. May we grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of you; guide, comfort, and strengthen us in peace, O Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

I have to thank Dr. Al Cummins for posting a link to an amulet that links the Kings to Atropos – the eldest of the fates.

There are lots of other traditions related to Epiphany: The Three Kings Cake, the Candlelight Mass, etc.

Whether you care about any of this or not, its a good opportunity to take a sip of a Three Wise Men cocktail:
1 part Scotch Whisky (recommend a blended Scotch for Coctails. Johnnie Walker Red or Black. Green, Gold and Blue should never be mixed with anything else.
1 part Tennessee Whiskey (e.g., Jack Daniels).
1 part Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (e.g., Jim Beam White or Black Label).

Serve either neat or on the rocks, according to taste.

Variations include:

Three Wise Men go Hunting, which is the recipe above with the addition of Wild Turkey Bourbon.
Three  Men and a Baby: recipe above, add milk. (YUCK!)

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