Ice Bucket Challenge

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My Reddit AMA

Here it is. My Reddit AMA.

It was a great way to spend an evening. Thank you for the great questions.

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Reddit AMA 9pm Eastern Time TONIGHT

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Just an FYI: I am doing an AMA on reddit.com/r/occult at 9pm tonight.

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The Benefits of Asana

10561570_10203313317928556_7145974589779264419_nLast week I replaced my most important magical tool. I had some fun letting the Strategic Sorcery group guess what that might be before someone rightly guessed that it was my Zafu.

Matt Brownlee and I took a drive over to Samadhi Cushions, visited the actual workroom where they are made, took an assortment out for a test drive and both decided on new cushions. As you can see from the photo, I picked a buckwheat half-moon Zafu with matching Zabuton.

The cushion and the Asana are important, not just because it is the seat where you perform meditation. When practiced regularly an asana like Lotus or Siddhasana, become an instant trigger for your body and mind to focus, clear, relax, and even heal.

I had a pinched nerve in my hip persisting for a week straight and was about to head back to NJ to see my doctor, but after 7 hours in Siddhasana it went away. This was not 7 hours of meditation mind you – I meditated, did ritual, and worked at my laptop. The position itself did the work.

Today I was sick. After laying around for a few hours I dragged myself to the cushion. Kids were home, and my son was also sick, so other than a few prayers and mala rounds of Sidpe Gyalmo practice I did not get to do any kind of healing work for myself. Still, the asana promoted a type of alert-relaxation that was deeper than simply laying down.

Sitting an asana promotes spirit contact as well and most of my evocation methods are done in a small circle with the cushion and small table in the center.

If you have knee or back problems and can only sit in a chair, then pick a particular chair, or better yet a backless stool or ottoman. Same rules apply.

Pick a good asana though. Thelemites seem to overwhelmingly favor “Dragon Asana” mainly because there is a photo of Charles Stansfield Jones in that position and it was also featured as one of the positions in the Equinox. It is a version of Seiza position from Japan. If you meditate wearing swords on your belt, or are going to be springing up into kneeling position in an Aikido dojo, or are learning tea ceremony this is great. If however you are planning on doing long periods of sitting it is unstable, bad for your ankles, and just generally a dumb choice. Most Thelemites aren’t even doing Seiza correctly and hold their feet straight rather than separating the heels to rest the seat in. If you ARE going to do this position, find an martial arts teacher to teach it to you correctly.

If there is interest I will do a short video on Asana basics for Sorcerers. If my fat ass can do it, you can to, and really it is quite amazing practice all by itself.

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Market Sorcery – Apprentice Guest Post

As a follow up to my Financial Forecast post, one of my apprentices decided to do a guest post and talk a bit about about how he uses Sorcery as an investor and business person.

Most of what I write about is aimed at people who want a comfortable and stable financial situation. Here is advice from someone who uses it for much more than that:

I have been a vice president at a Fortune 500 company. Today I am an entrepreneur, business owner, investor and professional money manager. Over the course of my career I have done several billion dollars worth of financial transactions.

I use sorcery at the macro level to aid me in reaching my specific goals by smoothing difficulties, defeating competition, improving relations with others, and sometimes for giving momentum to new projects. I have been hit with specific business ideas while chanting the mantra of certain wealth deities.

I never use divination to make investment decisions. My skill and knowledge of investments and the markets is far more reliable than my skill with any form of divination.

If a person wants to learn to trade they need to invest the time and energy into it just like any other discipline such as sorcery or martial arts or music, etc. As you often like to point our, first the working; then the work. Sorcery can be used to support this learning and even the actual practice, but it is not a substitute for doing the work. Anyone that thinks otherwise is living in a fantasy world.

For those that just want to know a little more at a high level, start with this: http://www.amazon.com/Journal-Complete-Investing-Guidebook-Guidebooks/dp/0307236994/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407594019&sr=8-1&keywords=wall+street+journal+guide

For those that are kind of interested in trading and will likely only read one book, read this one which I had mentioned to you the last time we talked: http://www.amazon.com/Trading-Intermarket-Analysis-Financial-Exchange-Traded/dp/1118314379/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407594184&sr=8-1&keywords=trading+with+intermarket+analysis

This is a great book. It is clear, concise and easily understood.

For those who look at the markets as a fascinating puzzle to be figured out and are passionate about learning to trade, go read the same books that the pros do. Specifically, work your way through the reading list for the CMT program: http://www.mta.org/eweb/dynamicpage.aspx?webcode=chartered-market-technician

Click on the links for the recommended reading lists. If you are not passionate about the markets and trading, figure out how to start a business instead, which is a different set of recommended reading.

For those that want to go pro in an investment related field, skip the MBA and do the CFA program. The CFA program is around $4-$5 K all in vs. somewhere from $30 – $100 K+ for an MBA. The CFA is also a globally known and respected program, while unfortunately MBAs are a dime a dozen particularly if you get it from BFE State vs. one of the Ivy’s. Be aware that the CFA program is much harder than doing an MBA and will require a very real minimum 2 to 3 year commitment.

One more thought – for the person looking to get their first entry level position as a corporate number cruncher, read the following book and do all the exercises:  http://www.amazon.com/Financial-Modeling-Simon-Benninga/dp/0262027283/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407600801&sr=8-1&keywords=financial+modeling+simon+benninga

For $100 and some quality time spent with Excel a person can have a better set of marketable skills than your average newly minted MBA.

I hope this is helpful!

- Sorcerer’s Apprentice

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Sorcery and Financial Forcasts.

I received an interesting e-mail a few days ago. It’s the type of question that I think a lot of magicians ignore or blow off with a statements about how magic is not really about this etc. I thought I might share the question and answer:
Dear Jason,
I enjoyed your recent interview with E. A. Koetting that is posted on his YouTube site.  In it, you mentioned a book you have published named Financial Sorcery.  However, I do not see this book listed on your website.  Is it currently out of print?
You seemed to be a very sensible and down to earth guy in your interview.  I would like to ask you a question that doesn’t pull any punches.  It is a question that I have difficulty ever being answered by occultists.
Can you explain why, with your claims of being able to evoke demons, spirits of the dead, dark gods, and to divine the future and prophecy, you are not able to forecast a single financial market with accuracy over any significant period of time?  I am presuming that while studying and practicing divination you would have attempted to divine the future price of a commodity or other financial instrument.  I am presuming you were not able to do so successfully over any length of time, or you would be listed in Forbes Top 100 richest people.
If the occult is true and its powers are real, why is something as seemingly simple as accurately predicting (over a statistically relevant period of time) whether the gold market will close higher or lower tomorrow than it did today apparently out of the reach of every magician, remote viewer, psionics practitioner, etc., etc.?  I say “out of reach” because even being able to predict the movement of a financial market accurately 70% of the time would soon make someone the richest person on earth. Yet, I see no occultists at the top of any “richest” list. It doesn’t make sense to me.
I hope I have explained my quandary clearly.  Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back from you or someone on your team.

WB-

Dear WB-

The problem with your question is that your presumptions are incorrect. You wrote:
 I am presuming that while studying and practicing divination you would have attempted to divine the future price of a commodity or other financial instrument.
I have not, and neither have most occultists. The reason for this is that to even understand the market to the extent that you could frame such a question requires a good deal of patience and interest. Most occultists are not primarily driven by money. If money is your primary concern there are much better ways of spending your time than magic.
Heck, I have trouble even getting Pagans and Occultists to take  money and financial wellness seriously enough to open simple funds, much less get involved in the markets directly. The most talented mages are simply not going to be doing this  because money is not the primary drive.
  I am presuming you were not able to do so successfully over any length of time, or you would be listed in Forbes Top 100 richest people.
This too is an inaccurate presumption. Despite the general lack of interest in the market among occultists I do in fact know some who do use magic to play the market. They do exceedingly well and make into 7 or 8 figures. The people in the Forbes Top 100 are not simple investors though – they are captains of industry. Again – if you are going to spend all your time training in magic and spirituality you are not also spending 80 hours a week as a CEO.

Out of the occultists that I know who are investors or CEO’s or money driven people I can tell you that they are EXTREMELY private about their practice. These are not people who are going to be on forums or showing up at the local gathering. They practice in small groups that have zero web presence. To belong to a group like this requires signing a NDA. There are Billionaires, Politicians, and Academics who are serious occultists. You simply do not hear about them unless they contact you. I only know about them because I am a writer and known to be discreet about contact.
Finally, many of the powers of spirits and such have been overblown. They are not omnipotent or omniscient. It is an edge, not an infallible force. This goes double for divination which is the touchiest of the disciplines. IMO you are better off at enchanting for an outcome you desire than divining the market. Even then, you are improving chances, not defining the outcome. If your chance of winning the lottery is 1 out of 18 million and you cut that by 2/3 it is still 1 in 6 million. If however you start a business that has a 1 in 4 chance of success you can do AMAZINGLY well with magic. 

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Global Venus and New Cycle Have Begun!

VENUSCycle 18 of the Strategic Sorcery Course and the Global Venus Rite have begun!

If you want to sign up there is still time to…

TAKE THE LEAP!

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Eclecticism Part 3: Eight Rules for Sane Eclecticism

OFFERINGSI am going to cheat on part 3. Last year I wrote a piece called 7 Rules for Sane Eclecticism. I am going to re-post that as part 3 of this series and add an 8th rule.

Enjoy….

Last week I was sponsored by the Tri-College Mellon Working Group on Magic to give two lectures. The first on The Place of Magic was held at Swarthmore College and was only to professors and guests of the group. In attendance was Yvonne Chireau author of Black Magic: African American Religion and Conjuring Tradition, Eoghan Ballard the famed scholar of Afro-Carribean traditions, and Professor Radcliffe Edmond author of RedefiningAncient Orphism: A Study in Greek Religion and the upcoming Redefining Ancient Orphism: A Study in Greek Religion.*

The second lecture was held at Bryn Mawr, was open to all students, and was on Sane Eclecticism: Responsible Synchretism and the Occult.  Truth be told, because of my own eclectic background about half of the first talk was about this as well. The balance between eclecticism and tradition is something that I think about a lot.

One the one hand, the great gift of our age is that the doors have all been more or less thrown open. We have unprecedented access to magical and religious practices that people in former decades never dreamed possible. This is not ONLY because of the internet either. I grew up in a small town in NJ and before I was 20 I had encountered and learned magic from a Wiccan Priestess, a African American Conjure Man, a Santera, a Rosicrucian/Ceremonial Magician, and the Ngakpa that not only became my Root lama but introduced me to the OTO and Thelemic thought.

If I was to just pick one tradition and only one, I feel like it would be a betrayal of what the universe presented me with.

On the other hand we have people that are so loose and eclectic that it is silly. This is the Wiccan that tells you Kali is her Goddess and Jesus is her God – meanwhile she knows almost nothing about either one. This is the person that announces that they also practice phurba – but what they mean is that they use it as an athame to cast circles. This is the ceremonialist that calls on the Orishas in the LBRP. This is the Crowley himself when he tried to tackle Taoism.

So how do we walk the line? How do we take advantage of the access that believe is the great gift of the age, without falling into dilettantism, delusion, or danger?

The question is different for different people, but I myself have some rules that I follow and would like to share here. Following these has generally allowed me to put together a magical system and style that draws upon traditions new and old, yet still allow me to be taken seriously by most traditionalists.

1. DO NOT USURP TITLES: this is by far thee most important rule. If you read a book on Vodou it does not make you a Houngan or Mambo. If you read every book on it ever written, memorize 12 cd’s worth of songs, and spend every weekend drawing veve’s and invoking the Loa it STILL does not make you a Houngan or Mambo, because that is based on an initiation. You can be a Vodousant, and you may even know more than many initiated Houngans out there (more on that in a minute) but you still have not been initiated, so don’t take the title.

This is  not just personal titles. You should not usurp the titles of traditions or toold either. You can read books on Dzogchen. You can do the practices. You can even attain the result. But if you have not had the introduction to mind from a person, you are not doing Dzogchen. Call it something else. You can make a spirit pot. You can even study and draw upon how Prendas are constructed, but unless you do it in that tradition it is not that thing, and should not be called that.

2. IF YOU HOLD A TITLE, DON’T THROW IT AROUND UNTIL YOU KNOW YOUR SHIT: This is the flip-side of #1 above and is something that not a lot of people talk about, including traditionalists. It is possible in this day and age to get the coveted initiations that I talk about above, but still know next to nothing. Houngan Hector here in New Jersey told me that shortly after he developed an interest in Vodou he flew down to Haiti and was initiated Houngan Asogwe along with a bunch of other people that were very new to Vodou. This is the highest level of initiation. He flew down, did his thing, and flew back. The problem was that he only knew a handful of songs and some other things that he gleamed from books. Now, much to Hector’s credit he flew back down again and again, and found people to give him the training that he knew he wanted. Other people however are happy with the title and just use it to validate whatever they make up.

Again, the same thing happens in the east. You can be born a Tulku (recognized incarnation) and be enthroned as a lama without ever going on retreat. One famous Lama was the subject of a paternity suit that he eventually lost. Some true believers thought that he must be innocent because Tantra teaches how to hold back your semen during orgasm, and therefore he wouldn’t get someone pregnant by accident. The problem with this line of thinking is that this particular Rinpoche probably did not ever master that technique or many others you might expect. He was a Tulku by birth, and spent most of his life in the west. He can write books on pop psychology and anything else he wants, and it will be passed off as Buddhism as long as his name is attached.

I am a Bishop because I have been consecrated as such, but I don’t throw the term around much because I have not had (nor am I even desiring) the training that one gets in a mainstream seminary or even in a larger Gnostic Church like the AJC. Thus, I don’t try to use the title to add validity to my crap.

3. SEPARATE TECH FROM SYMBOL SET: Systems of magic can be broken down into symbol sets, and tech. Symbol sets are usually dependent on culture, time, tradition, and sometimes only available through initiation. Using a symbol set outside of its culture, or initiatory stream can sometimes be difficult, disrespectful, or even downright dangerous. Tech on the other hand works because it works, and thus can be looked and examined from outside of any specific tradition. In this way you can find the most effective techniques without falling into the trap of making an eclectic mess. For example it would be find to borrow the idea of multiplying offerings with the mind from Tibetan Buddhism and use it in Wicca. It would be quite another to grab the nearest Phurba and call it your Athame, using it in the way that an Athame is used without really learning anything about the Tibetan Phurba traditions.

Iron being apotropaic. Triangles trapping or manifesting spirits. The appearance of the Swastika. Circles as protection and microcosms. These things work because they work. There is tech there that is beyond anyone’s claim of propriety.

4. REALIZE THAT TECH TAKEN FROM ITS ORIGINAL SETTING IS NO LONGER EXACTLY THAT THING ANYMORE: Recent university studies of Tummo have confirmed that you can control core body temperature with breath and mind. You can do it outside of the context of Tantric training. There are health benefits, and mental benefits. This is a good thing. However, it no longer Tummo at that point. Some people think Tummo is about producing heat in a cold climate (Tibet), but that is not it at all. Tummo developed in India. It is about producing bliss. The heat is a by-product. You use that bliss in Kamamudra practices and other yogas to realize Buddhahood.

I think it is great and cool to learn how to do Tummo and gain the helth benefits, but outside of Tantra it is no longer Tummo. It is something else. I teach it as Inner Heat.

5. REALIZE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO PISS SOME PEOPLE OFF. BE O.K. WITH THAT. For instance I recommended a while ago that people who did not want to use animal sacrifice could borrow the Tibetan tech of the so-called blood red tormas. These are cakes that look like severed heads and blood sacrifices that Buddhists used to propitiate local beings as as Dharma protectors, but who previously relied upon blood sacrifice. I noted that some people involved in ATR’s are already doing this using red palm oil as blood. A noted practitioner who has expereince in both Tibetan Buddhism and ATR took issue with this advice because there is not the same concept of emptiness in ATR’s as there is in Buddhism and the Gods would be offended.

The thing is that this tech was specifically developed when a people that did not sacrifice animals came into contact with, and needed to interact with, people and entities that DID. It arose out of cross-cultural magic. This is EXACTLY what this kind of thing is for.

In the end people have to experiment, look at the result, and decide for themselves. Part of this is respectfully noting, but eventually ignoring the occasional detractor.

6.  APPROACH ANY TRADITION FROM ITS OWN BASE. The Chakras are not the Sephira. If you try and approach the Chakras as Sephira you will not understand them at all, and probably mess up your understanding of Sephira in the process. Freya is not just another venusian Archetype. She is different.

Recently someone on FB was asked if they do the Middle Pillar ritual. They replied that they do not, and they do my Pillar and Spheres excercise instead. While I am honored and touched by this, the two rituals are completely different and have almost  nothing in common with one another, Pillars and Spheres sets up an alchemical reaction among the five elements in the body by placing them in a certain order. It has nothing at all to do with the Tree of Life, and is not a substitute. No reason that one could not do both if you wanted to.

When you approach a different system, try as much as possible to forget what you know about other systems for at least a while. Approach it as a complete newbie so you can view it on its own terms and from its own base.

7. DECIDE ON THE LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT YOU WANT, AND DON’T CONFUSE IT: An argument that people have used against practicing more than one magical system, and even against raising children in more than one religion, is that any given path takes a lifetime to master. This is true. I could spend the rest of my life living in Nepal and studying Himalayan magic and never learn it all. You an spend your entire life as a Kimbanda Priest and never exhaust what there is to learn and master. You can be Catholic from birth till death and never completely master the whole thing. You can spend 30 hours a week practicing Tai Chi and still never get as good as Chen Xiouwang. All this is true.

But sometimes you don’t want to Master something. You just want to gain competency, and that takes a lot less time. You can spend your life studying German and learning to master the language, but for most of us the ability to hold conversations is enough, and it doesnt take that long to learn that. Being a Martial Arts master is wonderful and amazing, but for most people learning enough to maintain health, defend themselves in a fight, and maybe have some fun sparring will not be a lifetime obsession. I am a not about meditation and would spend hours in meditation a day if I could. A cubicle jocky at the insurance company however might only want to lower his stress levels, gain some control over their thoughts, and be happier, in which case 20 minutes a day will do them a world of good.

People that are competent in multiple areas themselves become masters of making connections that specialists lose the ability to see. Look at the CEO’s of the world. Do you think Steve Jobs as the best design person at Apple? Was he the best accountant? Was he the best technician? The best marketer? Probably not. He could however see connections that maybe others could not and bring these all together in ways that others could not.

Competency is fine. Great in fact. I like it. I forget who said it but specialization is for insects. Just don’t confuse competency with Mastery.

8. SUSPEND JUDGEMENT FOR A BIT: There is tendency to value old and established systems even though they may be ossified and no longer as applicable to the world as they once were. There is a tendency to mock new systems even though they may hold just what you are looking for. I have learned the hard way to suspend a lot of these judgements.

I know Lamas that are ethnic Tibetans and recognized Tulkus who are truly worthless human beings, much less spiritually advanced. I also know Vortex Healers, which is about as silly and new age a mythology as you will find anywhere, but who can actually make measurable changes and show more signs of realization than many Guru’s.

Other systems or books like the Grimoires get lots of credit that they do not deserve because they have “been working for people for hundreds of years”, when in fact very few people have actually used them as they were written and even fewer have shown signs of success promised in the books. If you think I am wrong I invite you to fly your ass over here and prove me wrong.

I am not saying that you should not excercise judgement at all, just wait until all the facts are in.

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New Cycle of Strategic Sorcery Starts FRIDAY! – plus cool taglines…

Chess teamThe next cycle of the Strategic Sorcery Course, as well as the Global Venus Rite begins FRIDAY August 1st. If you want a year of the best training in practical magic and the chance to join hundreds of people all over the globe in a rite to invoke the powers of Venus, now if your chance.

Get more info on the Course and Venus Rite here.

Or just sign up immediately:

STRATEGIC SORCERY $150





I recently asked students to come up with a tagline to describe Strategic Sorcery, one that would be better than the “Living Life Unbounded” tagline above. I still haven’t chosen one yet, but instead of yet more testimonials about the course, I thought I might share some of the taglines that students thought were appropriate:

STRATEGIC SORCERY…

From Potential to Power

Classic Methods, Modern Applications

Precise and Powerful Transformation

Living Powerfully

Cheat codes for Living

Engineering Possibility

Game Genie for the Ambitious

The Art And Science Of Change

Full Contact Magic

Strategic Sorcery: Blazing through the limits

Transformational Tactics for Cunning Conjurers

Strategic Sorcery: Dwelling in the Unlimited.

Strategic Sorcery: A guide to Willed Living

Strategic Sorcery: Manifesting the life you want

Make your life your own.

Leverage your will

Tactical Transformation

Liberation By Any Skillful Means Necessary

The Art of Succinct Wonderworking

Illuminating Lessons

Tactical Tech for an Empowered Life

Bad ass magic and then some

No Holds Barred Sorcery for Real Life

The spiritual adventurer now has practical feet

The toolbox of today’s Spiritual Adventurer

Musashi said the Way is in training, here is yours

Advanced tools for Bold Adventurers 

The Spirit Warrior’s map and compass

Skills for Sovereignty

Invoking Mastery

Wisdom for Health, Wealth, Love and Service.

Ars magica meets Art of War

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Evocation Education with Mike Cecchetelli

Let me tell you a story. About two weeks ago I had a dream, one of those big ones that involve overlap into multiple layers and people. The kind that shake you awake and have you reaching for the voice recorder when they are done. This dream was about Abrasax – it stood hundred of feet tall and was giving instruction to someone. I looked to see who, and it was Mike Cecchetelli.

I called him up the next morning and asked him if he did any major work last night. He said “no, but I had this really heavy dream about Abrasax…”

A mark of a successful Magus is that spiritual communication is a two-way street. The gods contact us as well as the other way around. When that contact is powerful enough to wake up a peer 500 miles or so away just to act as witness, you know that person is doing some big things.

Now six people have a chance to learn from MC directly.

Head on over to the Lions Den and fill out the application if you are serious. 

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