Cuneiform inscription from the Ziggurat of Ur – The British Museum

In certain galleries of the British Museum, visitors are allowed to hold ancient artifacts with their own hands. This piece in my hand is an inscription in cuneiform from the 21st Century BCE Ziggurat of Ur. The Ziggurat, which still partially stands, was a temple complex dedicated to the Moon god Nanna (Sin). He was described as the father of all gods, and the “Lord of Wisdom”. The main sanctuary at Ur was called E-gish-shir-gal, “house of the great light”.
In some legends, Nanna begat the goddess Inanna (also known as Ishtar), who governed love and beauty and was associated with the planet Venus. She was called the “Queen of the Heaven”, and her religious influence has stretched into the present day: later known by the Phoenicians as Astarte, then to the Greeks as Aphrodite, all of whom share many similarities to the Virgin Mary of Christian worship (also a Queen of Heaven).
We are all heirs to great Mystery. None of our modern religions have ever stood on their own. They are built on the shoulders of giants, ever more ancient and nebulous because of the vast gulfs of time that stand between us and them. As I held this precious and unique artifact in my hands, I had a true sense of awe as I contemplated these ideas in my heart. To many of my friends, history is boring. I have always found that history is alive and we are surrounded and formed by it in every single way. Perhaps in another 4,000 years, this tablet will still be preserved next to artifacts from our own times, where other people will delicately hold them and wonder at what was…

Worship of the Moon God. Cylinder-seal of Khashkhamer, patesi of Ishkun-Sin, and vassal of Ur-Engur, king of Ur (c. 2400 BC) (British Museum). 

Treasures of John Dee, The British Museum

My recent trip to London included many points of historical interest, especially the day I spent strolling through the British Museum. I had one object in mind, however, as I was searching through the Enlightenment Gallery, the magical shew-stone of John Dee. This piece of polished obsidian likely came to England after the exploits in Mexico of the conquistador Hernan Cortez.
Dr. John Dee (likely an inspiration for Shakespeare’s Prospero) was known across Europe both as the astrologer for Mary I and Elizabeth I, but also for his spirit work with the notorious Edward Kelley. Together they used their magical expertise to contact the Enochian spirits, whose language and alphabet Kelley scried and Dee transcribed. The Enochian language is said to contain great power and its full meaning remains mysterious even today. Still over the centuries many great magicians used Enochian magic in their work: Crowley, Mathers, and even Anton LaVey.
To look into this same mirror with my own eyes, to see my own reflection looking back through it, was a profound moment in my own life as a student and historian of magic–also as a disciple of John Dee!

John Dee’s mirror, and me, being touristy AF


The powerful Sigillum Dei Aemeth casually sitting in a display case among thousands of other treasures


Portrait of John Dee from the Wellcome Collection

Sinister Ministers – Cardinal Pell is Behind Bars!

I would normally reserve this kind of post for the Sinister Ministers page, but it is far too important to be tucked away. Cardinal Pell, basically the “Holy” See’s No. 3 administrator and custodian of Vatican finances for many years, has been charged and accused of five accounts of child sexual molestation. He is now, happily for me and many others, rotting in prison with other high offending criminals who I’m sure are not too keen on having him there. Freedom is one of the most precious things a human being can possess, and now he will pay the temporal wages of his sin by having that freedom stripped away. I would even bet money that he will be laicized by Pope Francis some time soon.

Today is a good day for justice.

Everything is Mind – Alan Watts

My old metaphysics teacher expounded every day on this subject, “No Man, No World”.

My old Zen teacher expounded every day on this subject, “Mind/No-Mind, World/No-World”.

We ordinarily assume there is a great and unbreachable border between the Self and the Universe. If there is such a border, who put it there? What part of me is not connected to the greater whole? What part of the whole universe is not connected to me?

To the man, the angel, the mouse and the cockroach, the entirety of the universe presents itself through Mind. There is no Other. We are all God.

Details of Totentanz – XVI C. Germany (Artist Unknown)

Sacristy painting commissioned by the Observant Franciscans. The catalogue description did not give many details, but I would guess by the costumes that this was made somewhere between 1560’s to 1580’s. The theme of the Dance of Death was hugely popular throughout multiple periods of European history, and saw a particular revival after the 1538 series by Master Holbein the Younger, whose works were widely distributed with the advent of the printing press.





Credit: The dance of death. Oil painting.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

Ghost – A Pale Tour Named Death

Last night was my first Ritual with Ghost–front and center! Devilish joy filled the air, and even though it was the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, the energy was high! The Nameless Ghouls are so very talented and animated, and Cardinal Copia is a gosh darn good fellow. And of course, singing all the good old Satanic hymns at the top of my lungs while the Clergy are mere feet away was a religious experience for me. It was also very nice to have like minded people around. Ghost fans are good folk. I had such a perfect time 🙂



For Sale: Neopaganism “As Is”

Master herbalist and historian of magic, Sarah Anne Lawless, has written a detailed article about the false origins and current state of Neopaganism (including modern areligious magicians) in the world today. From the failure of the American Council of Witches and the money-grabbing tactics of Llewellyn, to the crime of spiritual/cultural appropriations so many magical practitioners are guilty of in these times. Most important to me is her expert distinction between actual tradition and “fakelore”–shit that is made up by witches and passed on as if it were ancient! This ties into another theme she’s written about here and what I have also touched on in the BoF, escapism. Neopaganism today is not the fairy tale “religion” many wish it was. Go read this article yourself because it is something that needs to be said!