[NB] Divination/Invocation

I have been chewing over a little turn in the conversation between Austin and Gordon in one of the recent Runesoup podcasts. There is a point where they are talking about what you get from an astrological reading (a series of data points which are fairly abstract) to what you need to provide the querent (some concrete situations to which these could apply). That juncture is, well, magical.

At that point, the reader isn’t just interpreting, they are invoking. They are summoning with the tools at their disposal, weaving the astrological powers into a little ritual which directs and channels them. The difference between casting a chart and preparing a ritual according to the astrological weather is a difference in intensity rather than of kind.

[NB] The Ol’ Book Challenge

I’ve always liked this oldie but goodie from Runesoup. My partner and I have probably played the game a dozen times or more while talking about one thing or another, and I have often thought about doing a post themed on it. But I’ve never quite found the angle that worked for me.

I have one now. What makes this one different than the previous efforts is that it feels like something that could lead toward what I do, but also might lead elsewhere. It feels more open and genuine thereby.

Continue reading “[NB] The Ol’ Book Challenge”

[NB] Organism and Spirit

A recent Runesoup opened with a well-known quote from Clay Shirky:

“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.”

It isn’t just institutions, though. Organisms tend to operate on the same principle. When we talk about ecosystems, part of what makes them systemic is that the constituents of an ecosystem are acting in a way that tends to preserve the system to which they are adapted.

Continue reading “[NB] Organism and Spirit”

Mercurial Matters

My final, somewhat off-the-cuff, post on the thoughts stirred up by Gordon’s review, this time regarding Mercury. More from the-book-I-haven’t-read here used as writing prompt, Epoch:

Mercury’s patronage of doctors…may seem a little odd, but until recently most medicine consisted almost entirely of charlatanism, quackery, placebos, convoluted explanations and excuses, huge bills and rapid exits. A fair bit of it stil does, both in its conventional and alternative modes.

The connections between Mercury and opportunism of all sorts is real enough, but this way of connecting them to medicine over-emphasizes them. There is a lot more than opportunism and trickery to Mercury. Digging into the quote just a little, there are two points I want to address: one is a matter of tone, the other of substance.

Continue reading “Mercurial Matters”


Continuing the trend of writing about a book I haven’t read, let me talk a little around this, quoted by Gordon from Epoch:

All gods and all religions and all magical traditions get cobbled together out of bits and pieces of previous traditions. All theology and all revelation look suspiciously like syncretism, and scholarship confirms this. Chaos magic adopts it as a guiding principle without apology or evasion.

This sort of thing strikes me as somewhat banal these days, true in a breezy sort of way that doesn’t mean a lot. I can agree wholeheartedly with the statement without necessarily agreeing with Carroll or anyone else who affirms it. I’ll probably have to actually read this book at some point, but for the sake of a post, I’m just going to talk about how I would cash out the statement. Continue reading “Syncretism”


So, thanks to Mr. Watt, I noticed that Gordon’s review of Epoch stirred up some ceremonial feathers. I have been chewing over a response to it myself, in part because everything I have read around the edges of Epoch (since I first heard about through Gordon) has made me equal parts frustrated and excited, which probably points toward some material I need to work through.

I’ll admit, though, that I was surprised to see Jupiter as the point of contention for so many people. I have a different take than Gordon, perhaps, but not so far away that Gordon’s glib summary bothered me. I read through the responses to Gordon and it seems like folks might be missing an important point:

There isn’t one Jupiter.

Continue reading “Jupiters”

A Way without a People

Recently, Andrew Watt put up a post about geomancy resources he shared with a ceremonial magic 101 Tumblr, in part in response to Gordon’s lament of the fragmentation and erasure of magical knowledge. It is a fine post for the audience, but it seems like the audience is part of the problem underlining Gordon’s lament. It is another ‘101’ affair because, well, the history of fragmentation and erasure leads us to ‘go back to basics’ constantly.

Continue reading “A Way without a People”

[NB] Some Thoughts on Faeries

This post has been kicking around my drafts folder for a little bit. It doesn’t seem mediocre enough to trash, so I’ll share for the heck of it; it kind of fits with the lunar kick that I have been on for a few.

Lately I have had faeries on the brain. I have been curious after the sluagh, looking a little into their mythology. R. J. Stewart has found his way back into the house thanks to my partner. In a Stewart-ian vein, I also stumbled across this interesting piece by his friend, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki (she gives Stewart a well-deserved shout out within it). What follows is very notebooky.

Continue reading “[NB] Some Thoughts on Faeries”

The Underside of Magonia

Gordon’s last post over at Runesoup exemplifies why I keep visiting his site. It has little to do with the specifics of a given post, the facts that have caught his eye, but much to do with his capacity to use them startlingly. Even where Gordon makes use of material with which I am familiar, he takes it out of the contexts with which I am most familiar with them and puts them in a much broader horizon.

Continue reading “The Underside of Magonia”


Something has been gnawing at me since I read Gordon’s recent post over on Runesoup: he loosely identifies a chunk of what he describes in his praxis org chart as shamanic. When we talk about shamanism, are we really talking about things like energy work and meditation? That sort of identification doesn’t seem out of place in Western magical circles, we are, but I don’t see it capturing what goes on in ‘traditional shamanic practices’ (would that I could put flashing lights on those scare quotes–the whole set of notions are so fraught).

Continue reading “Prayer?”