Selections from The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century

In 1825 Robert Cross Smith, a charlatan, had unsold content from his previously failed magazine The Straggling Astrologer. Its content was “rebranded” into this handbook, The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century: Or the Master Key of Futurity, being a Complete System of Astrology, Geomancy & Occult Science.  The book covers topics from necromancy, charms and incantations, astrology, and a few fun ghost stories. It also includes beautiful illustrations, some of which are copies of earlier English etchings such as the famous graveyard scene with John Dee and Edward Kelley.


Book Review: Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation

I wanted this book ever since I was a boy. I was a little disappointed. Would have been a good read at age 15 instead of 31.

The serious and challenging subject of summoning spirits is unfortunately handled here only at the surface level. Most of the book includes a primer on the history of scrying and magical evocation, especially the work of John Dee and Edward Kelly, followed by some visualization exercises for beginner’s work in the Astral. This is followed by only the most basic information about the tools and rituals of the Order of the G∴D∴, offering all of the flashy elements of dramatic ritual but none of the esoteric meaning behind them.

I mean, this is just Magic 101.

The act of summoning spirits, however, is not a “beginner’s” hobby, and requires years of study and spiritual discipline. This book doesn’t even begin to cover summoning on the Astral until page 129 (there are only 209 pages total). One interesting part was Konstantinos’ writing on tulpas, which here he calls egregores. The ideas and rituals mentioned here are quite useful. All in all the book works well as a handbook for a more experienced or well-read magician, but is a bad idea for a novice. Novices will do better reading Modern Magick and Liber Null & Psychonaut first.

N.B. after finishing the book I will be attempting to make a tulpa which I failed to do at my first attempt in 2013. It will be interesting to see if my abilities have grown since then or if I’m just deluding myself, ha!

Terence Mckenna Transcription

Terence McKenna (1946-2000) was perhaps the greatest philosophical mind of the 20th century. His expeditions into the Amazon in search of the mystical botanical brew yage brought him in contact with psilocybin mushrooms. Together with his brother Dr. Dennis McKenna, the pair brought “magic mushrooms” hurtling into the awareness of the West. Terence became the heir apparent to Timothy Leary’s public LSD work. He was a most verbose, incredibly witty, pleasantly sarcastic Renaissance Man–a self-taught master of anthropology, biology, chemistry, magic, alchemy, math and history, with a deep knowledge of art and Jungian psychology. He took all of this knowledge and applied to to exploring hidden realms of human consciousness through psychedelics. Beyond all of this he is my personal hero and I honor his memory daily.
Meanwhile, WikiSpaces is shutting down, which means the Terence McKenna Transcription project is about to become homeless. Hopefully they will find a new place to host their content. I am simply posting my work here so that it won’t be lost forever. This is only ONE of his hundreds of public lectures that are floating around cyberspace today. Terence is well known for his gift of the gab, so this transcription took me 2-3 months to complete, and contains 21,662 words. Enjoy if you want to, after the break.

Journey Onwards, Terence!

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Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle

The fishing village of Boscastle, in the southwest of England, contains a wildly unique privately owned museum dedicated to the history of witchcraft and magic in England. The collection includes over 3,000 objects and 7,000 books and manuscripts. Founded by Cecil Williamson, the museum also lays a claim to fame through their resident witch in those early days, William Gardner himself, who founded modern Wicca and led a cultural revival of folk magic in Britain. The museum has been known in its current form since the 1960’s and has become a site of magical pilgrimage for witches in the present day.

Objects include artifacts from the time of Roman occupation up to the present day, including items of particular interest from the original OTO/A.’.A and Golden Dawn systems. There is currently an exhibit ongoing that highlights ritual tools and artifacts of the 19th/20th century high ceremonial currents of magick. Looks very intriguing. 

Very interesting to me personally is their research journal, The Enquiring EyeThe Enquiring Eye, which features academic level research topics on magic and witchcraft.
Go visit them! 







All images courtesy of The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle. Used with permission.

All about that time when I got super stoned and went ghost hunting

Picture it! Last weekend, St. Augustine, Florida. About 3 drinks, 2 bowls, and a very potent THC edible settling nicely in my tummy. This was the night of the trip I’d been waiting for, our paranormal investigation and ghost tour through the historic city. While for most of the group, it was an entertaining story time, for me there was a moment of pure fear.

Castillo de San Marcos, built starting 1672.

St. Augustine has been a continually occupied settlement since Spanish explorers set up camp there in 1565. It’s 450 year history means it’s a great place for antiquities, archaeology, and local legends.

Spanish conquistadors land in Florida on the feast of St Augustine, detail of stained glass window, St Augustine Church, Gainesville FL

About 30 minutes into the tour, my brain was total mush, so all the facts I learned about St Augustine ghosts I had to read about later. However one stop I remember in vivid detail was at Antiques and Uniques on Aviles St. This part of the town has been developed ever since the first Spanish period. The building we entered was once the City Jail, and prior to that had been part of a military hospital complex. Archaeological evidence found in the 21st century revealed human remains under the building. According to legend there were also ghosts of children who haunt the place, so instead of calling out to the rapists and murderers, we decided to try to communicate with the kids.

The creepiest collection of clown dolls and other junk in town, which my stoned ass decided entering in the middle of the night would be a good idea.

We powered up our KII EMF meter and took our dowsing rods. As we all crammed into a narrow closet, which was at one time the alley behind the jail and a site of more than one grisly murder, the silence overtook the place. With a single flashlight we filed in and tried to call the child ghosts by name. Now, being in the middle of an edible session, my mind went all kinds of weird places. Time stood still. I became claustrophobic and paranoid. All of that I could easily attribute to the THC. But then shit started getting too real.

There are at least 5 ghosts in this photo alone!

The flashlight begins flickering (of course), sending a thousand memories of scary movies flooding through my head. A creak in the distance and footsteps clamoring above us strike momentary fear into my heart. It feels like I am being watched. My boyfriend decides to go in deeper to the closet (I was too afraid, and relieved that he was standing next to the murder hole and not me). After a while, we ask the kids to manipulate the dowsing rod. Slowly, the rods begin to separate out at 180 degrees from each other. Our KII meters are spiking left and right near the rods, the flashlight is fucking with my peripheral vision and now I’m seeing things that are hopefully not there. I take my KII meter and move it around the other meters that are spiking off. The activity stops about four feet above the ground–right about at the height of a 10 year old child. I am having a legit paranormal experience, and I am almost paralyzed with fear. Well, fuck me. Even though I study and do magic and all that entails, this experience is just a little too real for my stoner brain. I was definitely relieved when the 3 hour investigation (which was actually only 20 minutes) was over.

Other fun highlights from the tour, after the jump.

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