WHO AM I?
When I was five I had one of those weird experiences. The kind that feels like a glimpse behind the curtain of a play, the rigging and boards behind the set. I never shook that feeling that there was more to our minds and our lives than was being taught.
When I was a teenager I started trying to peek behind that veil again, and studied everything I could find on magic, mysticism, and the occult. I got those glimpses I was looking for, and I learned how to make use of what I was learning, how to make a better life and a better mind.
For over a decade I studied both High Ceremonial Magic and folk magic techniques of Rootwork and Witchcraft. I found that together, each approach strengthened the other and made for a Sorcery that could be streamlined for the modern world, and be startlingly effective.
I still wanted to go deeper though: more wisdom, more power, more liberation.
So I did what all my childhood mystical superheroes like Dr Strange, Mandrake, The Shadow, and Dr Doom did: I moved to the Himalayas.
It was in Nepal that I crossed the abyss and underwent the initiations I would need to do Sorcery the way that I knew it could be done. A practice that integrated the very best of training for the mind/body/spirit with influences from key spiritual powers. A practice that could send one on a journey to the deepest and highest planes and states of being, and bring back the power and mojo to change the waking world for the better.
This is Strategic Sorcery.
It is what my life has been about for nearly 30 years, and I want to share it.
JOIN THE STRATEGIC SORCERY COURSEA One Year Intensive Training in Practical Magic If you are looking for measurable success with through magic, and not just fantasy attainments... If you want to not only improve your spiritual life, but your financial and love life as well... If you want real magic that works in the real world, than I hope to hear from you soon. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for an information packet.
Woke up this morning to a vision of me wearing a black triangle with the Strategic Sorcery Saturn Seal in silver letters in the center. I am already deep in the Saturn for the next three days, and here’s the thing…
I feel great about it.
More focused and determined about not just this working but other projects on my desk.
Never let people scare you about Saturn as a “malific”. Saturn rocks as long as its not the only planet you deal with or the primary focus of your work. Without discipline, without timelines, without restriction, expansion has no focus. Without your bones you are just a bloated sack of protoplasm.
As to the size: Hurricane Joaquin was threatening NJ so a lot of people I am sure cancelled their travel plans. NJ Pagan Pride happened in south Jersey and of course the amazing and wise Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki was speaking in Philadelphia. As much as it is nice to have Crucible grow, it was nice to enjoy a smaller more intimate setting.
I got to appear on panels on magical ethics, and another that was allegedly about evolution of consciousness but which turned out to be more about astral and energy work. Both Panels were quite full of smart people with varied opinions.Arthur Moyer, Victoria Whitfield, Maggie Horseman, Ernest McClosky and Soror LM, and some guy names Rufus Opus all were present to comment on the topics that Jason Colwell tossed out. The ethics talk this year was particularly good I thought and avoided the stale “is it ok to curse” debate in favor of how the community at large handles itself.
With two events going at any given moment, you cannot do everything at Crucible, but the lectures I attended were all top-notch.
Arthur, host of the event, gave perhaps his clearest explanation of Omnimancy to date and had people break up into small groups each with an experienced Omni in it to do some energetic/astral experimentation. Omni is a strange thing for most people coming from Pagan or traditional occult backgrounds to get a handle on and I think this did a lot to make the basics of it clear.
Rufus spoke on the Seven Spheres and gave a very impassioned account of the theory behind the work, a streamlined and simple method for performing the work, and a deeply personal autobiographical account of how he came to the work and how it has changed his life.
The only thing that I was not terribly happy with was my own lecture. My topic this year was a talk called Proccultism and was meant to be stories and tips for those who are making money via spiritual arts. I spent far to much time deconstructing arguments of haters and nay-sayers, and took the opportunity to release a blow off some steam at people that I usually ignore. Because of this I didn’t quite cover everything I wanted to. Still, I think it was helpful to those who were meant to hear it.
Truth be told I am a little uncomfortable talking about the business of occultism because I tend not to like it when people start teaching how to do what they do rather than doing it. It is a slippery slope to the “let me teach you how I made money by telling people how to make money” nonsense. I felt a call to do it this year and I did. I am re-working the talk now in case I ever decide to do it again.
Crucible of course more than just the talks. It was wonderful to re-connect with old friends that are just coming back on the scene after a long hiatus, and to hit it off with new friends. This is also a great time to connect with peers that I came up with like Rufus and the charming Deb Castellano to talk shop and compare notes like we did back before the books and businesses, when we were all just bloggers.
Big thanks to Arthur and the Omnimancers for hosting this event and making it what it is. Thanks to all my fellow speakers for sharing your dropping your knowledge, and thank you to everyone who attended for spending your hard earned money and time on coming out to events like this and giving your support.
It has now been revealed to the world that Pope Francis met with Kim Davis. People are of course losing their freaking minds over this. Liberals feel betrayed, haters feel vindicated, and people are thrown into a tizzy as they now choose whether to feel completely and totally good about the Pope or completely totally bad about the Pope.
Anyone genuinely shocked by this has not been paying attention to Pope Francis – he is not what you would call liberal or supportive of LGBT issues. While he did NOT call transgendered people nuclear weapons (read the actual quote), he is certainly not an ally.
What I am going to suggest is apparently a radical notion completely foreign to most people in the spiritual community: You can like what he is doing for the poor and the environment and still dislike his statements on LGBT.
This way you can applaud the changes he has made to the church’s positions, which for an organization like the Catholic Church are truly radical and good and at the same time hold his feet to the fire for stances on LGBT issues, birth-control, and a whole host of other things.
You don’t have to choose. It’s true. Try it.
Don’t let your support for LGBT and women’s issues diminish your support for his stances on Poverty, Environment, and Religious tolerance.
Don’t let your support for him on Poverty, Environment, and Religious tolerance ever be a mask for his truly shit statements on LGBT and Women’s issues.
In short, evaluate his work as you would anyone elses: not with a resounding thumbs up or down, but with a nuanced well-considered view.
Then try this with other things.
Politicians, entertainers, community leaders, your favorite occult authors….
It is kind of amazing what happens. You start to see the world as it is, not as one side or another would have you see it. You even start to empathize with these folks for being real people who have habitual patterns and flaws and feelings and all the stuff that makes you and I real people.
Next thing that happens is that you get so used to seeing things this way that your BS detector goes off any time you feel entirely positively or negatively about anyone or anything. This is a good thing.
Here is an exercise for you today: take someone you cannot stand, lsay Donald Trump, and come up with five things that you like about them or support them on. It is actually REALLY easy.
Sadly there are still some people who ignore every piece of advice I give except for the magic bits, completely missing the parts that are meant to interface with the magic and make big changes. One of these is the side income with income based on changing variables such as sales. If your only income is a flat wage, magic aimed at increasing income dramatically can only do so much – but if you have a variable in your life that magic can work with, the sky is the limit.
Brief field report: so, Jason mentions have a “side gig” variable to allow for the influx of increased revenue streams in the SS course, the SS book, and in Financial Sorcery… and after seeing it three times, I figured he probably thought it was important. After taking stock of my abilities and inclinations to where I might incorporate this variability, I landed on audiobook narration, which I’ve been doing now in my spare time for a little over a year.
Having a modicum of talent and doing a HELL of a lot of ensorcelling (offerings and Kurukula ftw) – I can now proudly say that while many of my peers proudly boast of reaching 10k sales over a couple of years, I’ve managed to break 20k books sold in just over one year, through what appears to be simply a string of “lucky breaks” – being in the right place at the right time saying the right thing to the right person.
My “side gig” of audiobook narration, which I do in my spare time – has brought in nearly DOUBLE my regular day job income (which isn’t chump change) for the past three months running. If all goes according to plan, by this time next year my “side gig” will be my “only gig” and I’ll not only have more regular money, but more freedom and free time with which to enjoy it!
Saturday was the feast of St Cyprian and St Justina. That night he asked that I take him out from the shrine room and install him at the center point of the course for the night with a candle and water glass, which I did. The three cards I drew this morning were Magician, Popess, and Chariot – an obvious nod to Cyprian, Justina, and Theoctistus. (The fact that it was not the Pope that came up for Cyprian holds a mystery I think).
Anyway, every feast day he inspires a sort of sermon for me to share. This year it is on Curiosity.
One has to imagine that Cyprian was a curious soul. Legend has him traveling all over the Mediterranean world learning his magic. When he encounters a power that easily diffuses his magic, even when wielded by a young virgin, he decides to investigate and eventually to take ordination. Despite all he knows, he knows that there is much more that he doesn’t. He is curious.
After his martyrdom, he starts to REALLY get around. Norweigan spells, High grimoires like Liber Juratis, Maria Padhila’s Witch cults in Iberia. Shaman in Peru Curanderos in Mexico and the Soutrherm US. Quimbanda in Brazil. Greek Orthodox healing rites. It seems like wherever people get curious about St Cyprian, he gets curious right back.
St Cyprian this year wanted me to write some words of encouragement for the curious. Those who are always learning and asking questions. Those whose only surety is that there is more than they know and more than they can know.
So keep questing. Till the day you die. Keep learning and keep looking.
I see a lot of people out there struggling to look like they know everything already. I see writers and teachers masking where they learned things so that it seems like their ideas originated with them or were fed directly by the spirit. Don’t do this. You are not diminished by learning from others. I am a teacher with over 1200 people in my course, and I learn things every day.
From my teachers.
From my peers.
From my students.
It’s what you do with that knowledge that is yours.
Even if you have been at this for decades and have written dozens of books – seek the places where you can occasionally be the youngest and least knowledgeable person in the room.
Respect the knowledge you receive and where it comes from. Do not misrepresent it. If you change it, and meld it, or create something new inspired by it – than make it clear. Make your source clear and make where you depart from tradition clear. That’s really all anyone can ask of you.
Access and communication are the gifts of the age if we use them wisely. If we don’t then it becomes of the curse of the age. It is fine to use this gift to share what you know, as long as that does not kill your curiosity about what you don’t.
Like John Burroughs, make joy in the universe and keen curiosity about it your religion.
Its just two weeks to Crucible have you registered yet? Have you gotten your room?
Now is the time!
I will be giving a workshop called PROCCULTISM. Its all about the intersection of magic and money and magic for money. If you are working in the field, interested in starting, or just want to hear some stories from a magician that has worked for a lot of people over the years.
I will also be on Panels discussing Magical Ethics and another on the Evolution of Consciousness.
And that’s just me. Look at the rest of the speakers here.
As every year, I encourage the Strategerati to do the a Novena to St Cyprian. Two years ago I wrote a Sorcerer’s Prayer for this occasion that you can find on my blog. This year however I have been directed to encourage people not only to pray to St Cyprian, but to Justina and Theoctistus.
As I mentioned before, In my communications with Cyprian he has expressed serious issues with his current popularity and the sidelining of his Christianity. Viewing him as someone that was only masquerading as a Christian is incorrect. It is precisely his conversion to Christianity that makes him notable.
Because of his growing popularity and reputation for success a lot of non-Christians want to work with him, which is fine, but if you cannot utter the name “Jesus Christ” in a prayer without getting apoplectic then I would advise against working with this saint. One must also not forget to mention Justina. As Jesse Hathaway pointed out this weekend when we were chatting: “It was she that overcame him and his rape demons after all!”
The role of St. Justina is clear: she is the Wisdom to compliment St Cyprians means. She is the taming influence to his wild power. She is the shield that not even he can overcome. I also want to offer that she is an excellent saint to call upon for the prevention of rape, and for rape survivors who are dealing with their pain.
The role of Theoctistus is that of grace in extension. He witnessed the execution of Justina and Cyprian in Nicomedia where they were beheaded (only after unsuccessful attempts to boil them in Antioch – very similar to the story of Padmasambhava and Mandarava) and he instantly converted to Christianity, and was himself promptly beheaded. Their bodies were left for six days on the banks of the river Gallus until Christian sailors took their bodies to Rome where they were interred.
This Novena invokes all three of them as both Christian martyrs and sources of Sorcerous wisdom and intercession.
NOVENA TO THE MARTYRS OF NICOMEDIA
In the name of the great and mighty power of God I invoke the sublime influence of St. Cyprian, St. Justina, and St. Theoctistus.
Answer the resolve of my devotion with success in all that I do. Remove all spells worked against me and all bonds placed upon me. Make level the path before me and clear every obstacle in my way.
Holy Cyprian Sorcerer Saint, Martyr and Mage, bless my efforts to follow you in your path. You who commingled with angels, devils, and earthly spirits, grant the power to commune and command the spirits as you did, and as Solomon and Manasses did before you.
Holy Justina, Virtuous Virgin, Arcane Abbess, make me immune to curses, crossing, and conjurations. As you tamed Cyprian and brought him to serve the Lord, tame all demons and spirits whether they be set against me, or whether I call them myself.
Holy Theoctistus, Soldier Saint, first convert of the holy pair. Lend me your strength and resolve. As the grace and power of Cyprian and Justina was extended to you, extend it to me that it may work through me, and that I may act upon it.
I bare my heart to you and place all worry and care into your holy hands. Free me from all evil. Smite those who would do me harm. Draw a circle of protection around me and those whom I love. In the night be my lantern and my solace. In the daylight be my guide and my protector. Through the intercession of the martyrs of Nicomedia, in Christ Jesus hear my prayers and spells. Bathe my words in the blood of Christ and bring them to fruition.
St Cyprian ora pro nobis
St Justina Ruego ora pro nobis
St Theoctistus Ruego ora pro nobis
At the end of the Novena make the sign of three nails with the right hand and cross yourself with it three times.
If you want to do more, you can anoint yourself with oil. If you want to do even more, set up an altar with a statue or image of St Cyprian and St Justina and perhaps Theoctistus, a purple candle, and a glass of water. If you want to do more than that… read a fucking book you lazy bastard
There are a LOT to choose from suddenly….
Five speakers all with different approaches to necromancy and the black arts. First up was Stephen Grasso…
Stephen spoke about his necromantic experiments in the boneyards of London. Every tale was not only entertaining, but rife with useful tidbits for the adventurous Sorcerer. From the history of city features like Litchgates and the corpse-road, to lesser known spirits like St Oswin of Deira, to how to handle getting walked in on, to the different requests you might make of spirits based on how they lived their lives. The big thing I hope everyone took away from this talk is a lesson in specificity. Work changes depending on which place you are working, and which spirit you are walking – there is no boilerplate that works for all times and places.
Next up was Jesse Hathaway. Have you ever had someone share a family recipe with you? I have. A friends Italian Grandmother gave me a little glimpse at how she makes meatballs. My mother-in-law taught me how she makes cornbread. Hearing Jesse speak is like getting this kind of imtimate glimpse at deep, personal, family stuff. Jesse has deep family roots in Curandismo and Lukumi, and then built upon that by becoming a Tata Quimbanda. This was a talk that went deep into a lot of traditional knowledge about all of the above. One of the keys that he drove home is the idea that the dead are not just these individual quantifiable entities, there are multiple souls that grow, combine, flow, and separate. Oceans of everything that has died surrounding and flowing everything that can die. One of the big pieces of tech to take away is that you can program a spirit to respond to a symbol or name. Many people seem to think its a one way street, that the spirit just tells you how it is, but that is not it. If you have interest in working, not only with named spirits, but those less-well-known spirits of the place where you live, this is a huge bit of tech for people to walk away with.
Plus now Jesse has me frantically reading up on Kimpa Vita and the Kongolese St Anthony. Like I didnt have enough to do….:-)
Dr. Al Cummins took the stage next. His talk focused on ‘The Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magick’ and its attendant scrying record, ‘Visions’. This work, preceeding slightly the work of John Dee and Edward Kelley is focused on first calling Assasel (Azazel) as the intermediary for the work followed by the four demon kings Oriens. With their contact established the book focuses on summoning dead mages and saints: Solomon, Job, Adam, Agrippa, Luke, etc. The work presents a very interesting position on torture of spirits: first insisting that it must be done in order to get them to work, then finally St Luke telling them that it is not necessary and that it can be done through less wrathful means. More than anything though Dr Cummins had an important message about the “why” of Necromancy: we summon the dead because they like us more than other spirits. Their nature is in line with our, they understand our dilemas, they share or at least shared our concerns.
After dinner Troy Chambers took a seat on the comfy chair, leaned in on his Obi-Stick, and gave one of the most personal and passionate talks on the occult I have ever seen. After he gave some background on Obeah in Trinidad and the figures of Sassabonsam, Papa Bones, and Anima Sola. When he began to talk about his own initiation under the mango tree, things got very person. He stopped talking and started testifying. But this was not a testimony to draw you towards Obeah, it was a warning, and one that is much needed. There are far to many people in the comfy suburbs of America seeking the biggest baddest darkest shit they can find just because… Often they have no clue as to what they are really getting involved in. Troy gave a glimpse in to that, not just through his words, but the fervent emotions with which he spoke them. The big takeaway? This shit is real. People can die. Possessing certain types of power can be having one of Lewis Vendredi’s antiques. Power has a price.
Last up was Jake Stratton Kent. Jake has been turning the grimoire community upside down in recent years with his almost evangelical message of what Goetia really is and how it differs from angel magic. After some brief words on the important difference between interfacing and learning from living traditions and appropriating their stuff as your own, he launched into a talk on the Other Magicians. The other magicians are the ones that your books on high magic warned you about. The Cunning Men, Conjurers, Witches, Pellars and Sorcerers that work more often than through offerings and relationships with the demons and spirits than by harsh exorcisms and commandments in the name of God. Jakes work is epic and I am still reading my way through it. I took this opportunity grab a copy of the Testament of Cyprian from Catland so that Jake could sign it. Jake made the point that while much of the Grimoire community is focused on recreating the instructions in the books verbatim, it is also traditional to take those books and the seals therein and work with them through other means. Tradition does not mean lack of change. Traditions change or they die.
Apart from the speakers I have to mention Misha Newitt who put this even together. It took a fair amount of vision to the underlying thread of chthonic conjure that runs through these five speakers, and how their talks would interweave to create an experience greater than the sum of its parts. It took a fair amount of sacrifice on her part to put that vision into action and actually make this thing happen – flying speaker from London to NY is not cheap. Her energy as hostess was the thread that bound this event together and I will be paying close attention to whatever she organizes next.
In the meantime…
Stephen Grasso is working on a book and website and we will hopefully hear more about that soon.
Jesse Hathaway is Mr. Goat of Wolf & Goat as well as the author of the Serpent Shod Blog which is regularly updated whenever someone harasses the shit of him about it. There are rumors he is returning to Catland next month to speak on Santissima Muerte, so pay close attention.
Troy Chambers is Mr. Wolf of Wolf & Goat and the genius behind all those amazing statues you may have seen.
Jake Stratton Kent is the author of The True Grimoire, Geosophia, and The Testament of Cyprian the Mage. Further works published by JSK can be found in Diabolical and At the Crossroads and many other works.
Catland Books, Fashion, and Esoterica provided the space for the event. It is a great venue and shop and most importantly for a guy who drives into the city – amazingly easy to access and park. Plus Melissa will giftwrap your books!
POST SCRIPT: After the event was over, most everyone gone home, Melissa locked up as she ushered the last of us out the door. On a fire escape above the store a Hawk stood perched. A strange sight for a store on Flushing Ave for sure. A seal on the magic done? An omen of things to come? Who can say for sure.
For a few weeks now the idea of card pairs have been a fixation in the Tarot de Marseilles community. This pair is one that comes up when people need to let go of trying to fix everything, and instead should focus on letting it crash and burn in a controlled way.
One of the dangers of sorcery that people don’t think about is the ability to perpetuate a bad status quo with the power of magic. Its just as dangerous as a demon or psychic attack. The job you hate, the relationship that is dead at the core, the place that you live in but cannot afford anymore. There are some situations that magic cannot fix outright, but instead perpetuate for years on end – putting off the hard fall that eventually lets you regroup and do something even better.
A much better option is to use magic to control the fall, so that we wind up minimizing damage, recover quicker, and open new opportunities.
In La Maison Dieu we have the blasted tower and the two figures falling head on into the ground from the blasted tower.
So what can we do?
Look at the comparison image for image. The two falling people have become the water in the jars. They are still going to wind up on the ground, but instead of falling, they are being poured out. Its a controlled event. They get to flow rather than splat when they hit.
The tower itself becomes the woman in Le Toille. Is she a goddess that you invoked to help deal with the situation? Is she simply the fact that when you acknowledge and plan for something you at least have some influence as to how it happens?
The blasted top of the tower becomes the stars themselves. From this perspective it ceases to be this heinous happening and instead becomes just another event in the perpetual clockwork of reality, like the movement of the stars themselves. It is not that it is not a tragedy and a loss – it is a reminder that in this world good things and bad things happen but that like always moves along, and that the best we can do in some situations is let things go, pick ourselves up, and then rise to even greater heights.