Archive for the ‘social commentary’ Category

Llewellyn Magick Blog: Satan and Paganism – Should Wicca Go To Hell?   4 comments

Greetings Readers!

 

magick_blog_updated

From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, February 29, 2016:

So when it rains it pours—even if it’s raining fire and brimstone! Just a few months ago, at the Florida Pagan Gathering, I gave one of the most unique lectures I have ever given. It was called, “Why are Satan, Hell, and Demons in the Grimoires?”  […]

It was, hands-down, my most well-attended lecture in some time, and everyone had a blast. We explored subject matter that is usually considered entirely taboo, even for Pagans (maybe especially for Pagans—read on), yet the entire crowd was engaged and eager to learn the obscure history of chthonic occultism.  […]

Apparently, it was simply time to Satan in the Neopagan communities—and Satan it has! First, we have this bold article written by Pat Mosley, asking whether or not Satan should be invited (back??) into modern Paganism. It has created something of a storm; in part via a bunch of blog responses (either for or against) such as this one, this one, and even this guy over here (though he’s always going on about this very subject). And, perhaps it is needless to say, it has also created a ton of quite emotional comments and responses.

You should certainly go read Mr. Mosley’s article, but I can sum up his argument here: The figure of Satan is not purely a Christian invention, it is merely their version of the Pagan Horned God (drawn largely from imagery associated with Pan, and I’ll add drawn from Hades as well). He also points out that Satanists and Pagans haven’t always been at odds with one another, and in fact once freely associated—that is, until Neopaganism became a growing public movement, and it became necessary to distance ourselves from Satanism and any kind of satanic imagery. In 1974, the (now-defunct) Council of American Witches published their Principles of Wiccan Belief that states: “We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as ‘Satan’ or ‘the Devil,’ as defined by Christian tradition.”

He points out (rightly so) that many Pagans took the low-road during the dark days of the “Satanic Panic” (a period in the 1970s and 80s where perfectly grown people believed, en mass, that Satanists had established child abuse rings in day care centers around the entire globe). Satanists are easy targets for accusations of crime, and of course any wannabe occultist who kills someone and gets caught is proclaimed a Satanist. And while the Satanic Panic was in full swing (and, really, even before and afterward), Neopagans have been quick to declare “We aren’t those dirty evil Satanists! That’s them over there! Get em!” It is a part of our history that should rightfully make all Pagans ashamed, because Satanists have never been what Christians or the media pretends they are. We should be pointing that out, instead of pointing fingers.

Yet, as Mosley also rightly points out, it was probably necessary to distance Wicca and Neopaganism from Satanism in the public eye, especially when the feces was flying over “Satanic ritual abuse.” Jobs, homes, and families were being lost or broken over Paganism and witchcraft—even as late as the 1990s. You all have The Craft, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and, most especially, Harry Potter to thank for the fact that you can (in most places) safely wear your Pentagram in public and call yourself a Witch. In previous decades, that simply wasn’t the case. Even I once lost a job because someone saw my Pentagram and decided they didn’t like it—and that was many years after the Satanism thing had been forgotten.

So, here we are in the post-Potter future, and Mr. Mosley wants to know if it’s really necessary to distance ourselves from Satan and Satanism any longer.

 

Read the Rest at:  http://www.llewellyn.com/blog/2016/02/satan-and-paganism-should-wicca-go-to-hell/

Posted March 2, 2016 by kheph777 in llewellyn blog, social commentary

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Is ‘Public Occultism’ Fading Out?   35 comments

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:. – Acts 2:17

 

Nick Farrell has done it again.  Love him or hate him, you have to admit he knows how to stir things up from time to time.  😉  This time, it was with a blog post declaring the death of “public occultism.”  If I were to summarize his position, I would say he feels occult students have become millennial wannabes who believe magickal knowledge should simply be on tap.  You just turn on your computer, press a few buttons, and one of the various modern occult leaders will simply deliver their wisdom to your front door in a nice box with a smile printed on it.  You shouldn’t be expected to actually have to study, to practice or (Gods forbid!) actually get up and DO anything.  Nick tells us of one student who canceled their own initiation ceremony because they had to go pick up a new fridge.  He discusses how few people make it through the first lessons of his correspondence course – apparently because there is practical work (beginner stuff like sitting in meditation for half an hour each day) and the students just can’t hack it.

You can bet there have been reactions to Nick’s post from every point of the spectrum.  Some wholeheartedly agree that modern occult students have simply lost the path.  Others suggest there are issues, but that Nick is probably making more out of them than is necessary.  And yet others are downright angry at his implications – possibly because he hit a little too close to home for their comfort?  I don’t know…

I find myself somewhere in the middle.  On the one hand, I’ve actually seen much of this before.  I remember, during the 1990s, it really felt as if the above-quoted Biblical passage had come to pass.  Magick was no longer some dark and dirty underground secret – a taboo hobby which could cost you your job, your home, and your family.  No, magick was back!  Magick was mainstream!  “The Goddess is alive, and magick is afoot!” – so proclaimed T-shirts and bumper stickers.  You couldn’t throw a stick without striking an occultist or someone who personally knew one.  Covens and orders were proliferating.  That stupid movie The Craft happened, I guess.  (It wasn’t all bad.)  For a while there, magick and paganism had become an outright fad – and it wasn’t the first time.

In the history books, we see that occultism enjoyed a boom in popularity in Europe during the late 1800s and into the early 1900s.  However, two World Wars put an end to that.  It revived again in the 1970s and grew quite popular by the 1990s, and then the world went to hell and people found other things to talk about.  Then along came Harry Potter and Hurricane Katrina, and suddenly there was a fad for ATRs (African Traditional Religions) and old-school witchcraft and wizardry (like Goetia).  That latter fad, in fact, is still underway.

The point is that occultism, in one form or another, seems to swing in and out of popularity all the time.  The muggles find the subject either fascinating or terrifying (often both), and it makes great soil in which to plant your fantasy fiction.  Ever played Dungeons and Dragons?  Were/are you into comics?  Star Wars?  How about the works of Piers Anthony?  Or Terry Pratchett?  Lord of the Rings or (of course) the Boy Who Lived himself?  All of these and much more are examples of some point in history where magick grabbed a hold of the public fancy and thus enjoyed a bit of a golden age – just as it did in the late 1900s, and during the late 1800s, and during the 1600-1700s, and during the Renaissance before that.

So the “death of public occultism” is nothing new and shouldn’t really raise any alarms.  In fact, I dare say it is part of the natural order of things.  A fad comes along, during which large numbers of people enjoy exploring the occult sciences.  Then, as expected, the largest number of them move on to the next shiny thing and occultism is left with the very few who were truly called to the Path and have something to offer.  Those few then become the teachers of the next crop of aspirants – once the next Tolkien or Rowling comes along to get everyone excited again.

Some have suggested that it is not magick that is fading away, so much as popular interest in Golden Dawn-style ceremonial.  And that is true to a large extent. “Western Mystery” (read Ceremonial Magick) conferences hardly ever happen these days, and if they do they are small and informal.  (You may remember the SOMA conference in Texas that didn’t happen.)  My current Ceremonial Magick 101 class does not have a single ceremonial magician in it.  (Though that may be more due to the local market being tapped out – we’ve been holding the class in the same place for a few years now.)

But it’s not just the CM community that seems to be in a slump.  Attendance at Pagan Festivals has been down over the last couple of years.  And the class I hosted only a week ago on the subject of working with ancestors (using a boveda, something we learned from our ATR experiences) had a truly dismal turn-out.  Yet the same venue has no problem filling seats for New Age classes.  In fact, my wife and I have both noticed that the shop itself has, over the years, progressed from being an occult shop where Pagans hang out to a semi-Pagan/New Age shop where New Agers hang out.  And this has been in reaction to the market, not a decision made by the owner.  You see, the biggest and fastest-growing occult fads out there today are the New Age (yes, still) and Chaos Magick – both systems of E-Z Occultism that encourage you to just make it up as you go along.  No study.  No work.  No effort.  Just play.

These are the trends that I personally find worrisome.  It all seems to come down to the millennial mindset of on-tap information and instant-gratification.  The belief that anything worth having isn’t worth working or searching for.  And, my all-time favorite, the ridiculous jackassery that leads students to honestly believe they are there to teach the teacher rather than the other way around!  (At that link, the blogger states:  “A core tenet of the WMT is reincarnation therefore there may be some younger people who remember way more than their older counterparts.”  I assume he wrote that with a straight face, but I don’t see how.)  Many teachers are finding it necessary to either stop offering classes, or are dumbing them down and converting them to New Age nonsense in order to sell seats.

The fact is that occult information has become too easy to find.  Worse than that, occult leaders are too easy to contact.  There was a day – even as recently as my younger years – where an aspirant had to seek and quest for many years to find the occult.  The only popular literature out there was a Time-Life series called “Mysteries of the Unexplained” (hey look! you can still buy it!) – anything else had to be sought out one painstaking bit at a time.  And that was just the books!  The possibility of actually meeting or even conversing with one of the leaders of the occult underground was the stuff of fantasy.  And when you did meet one of them, you respected them.  You feared to annoy them with your puny little questions, and you took their answers seriously.

I can understand why students don’t want teachers who walk around like Ascended Masters and talk down to everyone around them.  That’s an extreme.  But the other extreme is to have easy access to nearly any occult leader you could want, where you can just drop them an instant message and have your questions instantly answered. No need to seek for the answer, or even just look it up in a book already on your shelf.  Hell, don’t even bother with Google!  Why should you when the current teachers are right there on demand?

In the early days of the Information Age, we teachers tried to step up and help everyone we could.  We had gone it alone, and we knew how that sucked.  We were in awe of the technology that allowed us to communicate with students like we had never done before, and we used that to help as many seekers as we could.  But what you, dear reader, likely don’t grasp is that this state of affairs just kept growing.  In the beginning, I helped every single person that wrote to me – both laypersons who needed magickal help and seekers asking for guidance.  I even guided a couple of people through their own attempts at the Abramelin Rite.  (And, O’boy, was that a bad idea!)  But, very quickly, I found myself overwhelmed.  Between email, internet forums, and social media sites like Facebook, I was receiving more requests than I could possibly answer.

Not only that, but I also discovered 99% of the people I was trying to help valued my teachings exactly as much as they had paid for them (in dollars or personal effort):  zero.  I was wasting my time and theirs.  In the end, I had to put up a price-wall to reduce the number of requests for help, and (for various reasons) I have completely ceased privately teaching magick to anyone online.  (And by the latter I don’t just mean that I don’t take online students – I’m talking about people who constantly write me with question after question, apparently hoping they can learn magick from me via attrition.)

None of this would be such a problem if occult leaders weren’t so easily accessible.  I believe that we have freely given of ourselves so much that we have inadvertently devalued both our art and our experience.  We have saturated our own markets with free goods (that being ourselves).

I think it is time for the serious occult teachers to consider reducing their availability.  I’m not suggesting we should disappear from the Internet entirely.  But we need to pull back.  We can write books, articles and blogs and even interact in online groups.  We can still give interviews and appear on podcasts.  We don’t have to vanish into obscurity.  But we seriously need to pull back a little, and stop trying to be occult white knights riding to everyone’s rescue.  Students should learn every scrap of magick they can from the written materials before they come to us.  Then they should feel fortunate when they can get a private word or two with us – because that is what makes them value what we have to say.

“Public” occultism is on the way out (at least until it rises again).  So we won’t have the luxury of hosting standing-room only lectures and conferences the way we could just a few years ago.  We aren’t going to get rich.  (Not that we ever were…)  And we will be dealing with smaller numbers of students – but with any luck that will also mean we will be getting higher quality students.

Let the tourists go find the next shiny thing.

Posted October 10, 2015 by kheph777 in history, social commentary

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The Fall of a Living God   19 comments

Greetings Fellow Seekers!

I was originally going to post this to Facebook.  But as I wrote I realized I had a few things to say that deserved something more than a micro-blog post.  So, I’ll start this discussion here instead:

 

e_a_koetting

E.A. Koetting is in hot water now.

First and foremost, I refuse to join in with those taking joy in the man’s legal and personal issues.  I see no moral issues with him – or his roommate – possessing drugs or a gun.  Both are “victimless crimes” – which means they are not real crimes at all.  Not to mention the fact that we don’t know who actually owned said drugs or gun, nor who was “restricted” from owning a gun.  So none of this, in and of itself, constitutes any real moral failing on Koetting’s part.  It’s not like they found a meth lab in his apartment!

Also, we shouldn’t be making fun of him simply for having a day job.  Most occultists have them, myself included.  You don’t know how often I leave my Temple, or a lecture or class or workshop – places where I am respected as an adept and a teacher – only to afterward go to my muggle job and be treated like an idiot by people who can’t figure out what “L” and “R” mean on the bottom of their shoes.  SIGH – keeps me humble.  (In time I hope to be able to make a living strictly from my books, lectures, classes, consultations and festivals – but that’s taking time, since I insist on doing it honestly.)

Yet, on the other hand, I can also see why some of you are glad to see Koetting taken down a peg or three.  I’m not willing to shake my finger at you and say “for shame!“, because in many ways Koetting has indeed brought this upon himself.

His advertising methods are atrocious.  His magickal system appears entirely self-created, without his first having learned and mastered an existing system.  And the “dark and scary” persona he has chosen to sell his product is downright embarrassing to the rest of the occult community.  In every way, he puts on the outward appearance of being into this strictly for the money.  Not to mention the dismissive, and sometimes outright nasty, things he says about systems other than his own.  The first time I ever encountered Koetting’s work was a page (a hard-sell ad, really) telling me that my beloved grimoires are all crap that don’t work, and that only HE (for a price) could tell me how to make them work.  The second time I encountered him was through an ad he wrote on “raping archangels.”  Not only is it offensive, but it’s just hard to take him seriously after seeing that kind of thing.

However, I don’t think any of that is his real problem in the current situation.  I think what has done him the most damage are his claims of access to limitless personal power.  Occultists are human too, and even the most advanced adept is still required to chop wood and carry water.  (See my above comments about having day jobs.)  Becoming a magician quite simply does not make you a “living God.”  King Solomon himself could have stood on the beach and commanded the tide to retreat in all the names of God and the Archangels, and all he would have gotten for his efforts was wet feet.  Given this, why the HELL would you set yourself up in this way by claiming to have power you can’t possibly possess?  There is simply no way that choice can have a good outcome – so why choose it?

Yet, look at how many would be “occultists” out there do just that…  I’ve seen claims to incredible lineages with no proof whatsoever.  I’ve seen people claim to run global occult orders, though you never actually see any evidence such an organization exists outside of the websites run by the person making the claim.  And every word out of their mouths is about how much power they possess and how they – and only they – can teach it to you.  At least if you have the cash.

Real occultists don’t act like that.  We don’t make claims to unlimited power, and we sure as hell aren’t going to promise to teach you methods that will make all of your problems vanish.  (See my posts here and here for more on that.)  Koetting claimed to be able to make court cases vanish – and now he’s screwed if he can’t make this one vanish.  He claims to be a Living God, but was just hauled away in handcuffs to a jail cell.  He claims to have unlimited power through the dark forces he invokes, but he couldn’t make himself invisible to a traffic cop.

I think this is why Koetting is suffering the backlash now.  Does it mean that occultists are just douchebags who like to rejoice in the fall of another occultist? Well, that certainly hasn’t been my experience…

Not long ago, I’m sure you remember, it was revealed to the world that I was about to go blind.  An adept of the HOGD, a recognized authority on the Solomonic grimoires, and I lacked the power to either heal my own eyes or conjure the money for surgery.  And how did the exact same occult community react to that news?  They came together and saw to it I got my surgery, because some of them cared about me personally and all of them wanted me to keep writing books.  (Who says magick wasn’t involved?)  🙂

So what was the difference?  Why gather around and support me through my troubles, but ostracize  Koetting?  Yes, I know he was arrested and I wasn’t – so there is that.  But, I think it is really because I don’t make ridiculous claims about power – dark or otherwise.  I don’t make arrogant claims about what my magick can do.  I don’t insult the traditions of others (well.. maybe Scientology).  My website, blog and FB profile aren’t used for hard-sell infomercial-style ads.  I don’t speak in advertising slogans.  Oh, and the fact that I publish solid material about magickal systems I didn’t make up myself might be part of it too…

The bottom line is this:  if you are an occultist and would like to make a living from it, some of the most important secrets are as follows:

1) Be the real thing.  Faking it may be good enough to make some money for a while, but you will always be sniffed out and exposed.  Or you’ll slip up and expose yourself.  Becoming a REAL magician does take time and effort, but it’s the only way you’re going to make it in this field.

2) Go for quality over quantity.  Don Kraig had more success with a single book than any occult author who has produced an entire library of hardly-useful texts.  If you’re going to publish a book or give a class or workshop, make it a game-changer.  If people leave feeling like they didn’t learn anything new and exciting, then you’re not going to get far.

3) Do NOT draw your methods from televangelists, Scientology, or direct-marketing advertising.  Do not use slogans.  Do not guarantee results.  Your webpage or blog should look like a resource for students and researchers; it should not look like an ad.

There is nothing wrong with putting your work out there, even advertising for your books, services or other items you may sell.  As I said above, even I am hoping to someday make a living from my work.  But those things must be secondary, and not the main thrust of your persona.  Your dedication to your spiritual path and your service to the community are what will make you famous.

Of course I know all of this will fall on deaf ears.  Those of you who agree with me already would never take the path of a huckster upon your spiritual journey.  And those of you who would do that simply don’t give a damn, because you’re just in it to harvest money from rubes and you have no interest in whether or not you are respected or if history remembers you as a “real occultist.”

But, who knows?  Surely there are those out there who are sincere and want to forge ahead in this life-path, but aren’t sure how to go about it properly.  Maybe, just maybe, one of them will read this blog and learn that there really is a right way and a wrong way to go about this…

Nah….!

 

Posted November 25, 2014 by kheph777 in rants, social commentary

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4 Things I Learned About Eye Surgery (by Having it Done to Both Eyes)   18 comments

Greetings, Faithful Followers!

I’m sorry this post has been so long in coming.  I’ve had a lot to process since the surgery (read on!), so I’ve been slowly working on this for the past couple of months.  Now, here it is:

 
As many of you are well aware, I recently underwent eye surgery to remove cataracts from both of my eyes.  I’m only 39 (well, closer to 40), but I was told I had the eyes of a 70 year old man!  Of course, this was little surprise to me, as I am no stranger to the “mutant eye club.”  I have astigmatism in both eyes, the right eye is lazy, I’m an ocular albino, and I’ve worn glasses my entire life – since the first grade, anyway.

 

Not me - but the resemblance is uncanny...

Not me – but that was pretty much the look on my face…

 

In the end, it was the ocular albinism that got me.  Somehow, it made me more susceptible to getting cataracts; and, in fact, I should have developed them in my 20s.  Thanks to healthy living and lots of vitamins, I didn’t start having serious issues until just last year.  By the time I was able to get the problem fixed, I was already legally blind in my right eye and the left one was quickly following suit.  If it hadn’t been for the kindness of all of you, I would have been completely blind by my 40th birthday.

Now it’s all over and done, and I have a brand new set of cyborg eyes to see through.

 

Now I can see in all spectrums of light, including infrared and ultra violet.  And X-ray... ladies.

Now I can see in all spectrums of light, including infrared and ultra violet. And X-ray… ladies.

 

To be honest, I was kind of floored by the entire process.  At first, I was told by the doctors (and pretty much everyone else) that this kind of surgery was a piece of cake – no more difficult than getting a cavity filled.  Just five minutes (per eye) and I’m out of there, and I’ll suddenly be looking at a whole new world of visual input I never had before.

 
But that didn’t happen.  In fact, no one even slightly prepared me for some of the realities of eye surgery…

 
Now, before we get on with all the funny stuff, let me make one thing perfectly clear:  the surgery was an astounding success.  I’m not blind!  Cataracts were nixed.  That was the main goal, and it was met.  Plus, I do actually see better now than I ever have before.  Unless I have to read, I don’t even wear glasses now.  So that’s a win as well.  Have no doubt whatsoever that I am thrilled by and thankful for the results of the procedures.  However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some details involved that no one thought to mention, such as:

 

1. The Surgery Wasn’t the Cakewalk They Promised

Don’t get me wrong, having eye surgery doesn’t even make it into the ballpark with the worst torture I’ve endured.  Plus, it really did take them about 5 minutes, so the ordeal was brief regardless of how it felt.  But, well, take a look at what eye surgery actually looks like:

 

Ever been to a Saw movie...?

Ever been to a Saw movie…?

 

Yep, that’s pretty much what it looked like.  Except here you don’t see the instruments being shoved under the pupil!  And, yes, you get to be awake for the whole ride.  You are given an IV sedative, but you have to be awake so they can tell you where to point your eyeball during the procedure.  Fortunately, from where I lay I couldn’t see the torture porn I was suddenly starring in.  I could only feel it – which was basically like getting poked in the eye real hard for several minutes.

 

This is actually what the surgery felt like...

This is actually what the surgery felt like…

 

But that wasn’t the hardest part, at all.  In fact it was really quite bearable when compared to the real torture device:  a set of three small lights, each one about as bright as the sun.  Those lights are inside the laser cannon they aim at your eyeball, and you have to stare directly into them – unable to blink or look away, throughout the entire surgery!

 

Like this, only times three.

Like this, only times three.

 

Most of what I remember of the surgery is the doctor telling me, repeatedly, to look back into the bright lights.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever forced my body to do.  (Remember I’m light sensitive to begin with!)  I squirmed around so much on the table they had to double up the sedative!

As far as the actual surgery went, that was pretty much the worst of it.  I don’t want to ever have to do that again – but I’d take it in a heartbeat over something like, say, a kidney stone!

When I went back for the second surgery (my left eye), they doubled up on the sedative right at the start.  (They told me the older patients they usually work on are knocked loopy by just one dose, but my being a younger guy means I needed more drugs.  Hallelujah!)  I was told afterward that they gave me another dose during the procedure too.  It must have done the trick:  I have one memory of the doctor telling me to look back into those accursed lights, and the next thing I can remember is getting out of bed in the recovery room.  LOL

 

This oughta do it!

This oughta do it!

 

But, then there were some things I didn’t expect about the aftermath either:

 

2.  After Surgery, I Didn’t See a Whole New World

The first surgery (on my right eye) was just about removing the cataract.  Afterward I could see through the eye again, but not any better than I had before the cataract.  It was my left eye that got the super high-tech cyborg lens to correct my astigmatism and negate my need for glasses.  I was sure I would open that eye after the procedure and see a whole new detail-filled world for the first time ever.  I was frankly nervous at the prospect of seeing things like I never had before – and so was my wife.

 

Good morning, swee...oh dear God!!!

Good morning, swee…oh dear God!!!

 

However, in one of the most anti-climactic moments of my life, I discovered that the surgery had not given me any kind of super-vision.  In fact, it didn’t really enhance what I can see at all.  I would say that I’m seeing the world about as well now without glasses as I was seeing with them before.  That’s pretty much the definition of success, but it doesn’t result in having 20/20 vision.

But I do get to go out without wearing glasses now.  Scratch that, I get to go out wearing sunglasses now!  That’s a big deal to someone as light sensitive as myself.  Before, I had “transition” prescription lenses – and let me tell you transition lenses suck out loud.  And I couldn’t afford to have prescription sunglasses, especially not when they are more likely to get lost.  So, I usually just went outside, squinted a lot and got headaches from the sunlight.  Now I can wear shades – which is both good for my poor eyeballs and makes me cool.

 

Douche80sShades

Hey Baby… how ’bout that Spuds Mackinzie?

 

But there is one exception to this “need no glasses” experience:

 

3.   I Still Need Glasses to Do Anything Up Close – Which Means I Still Need Glasses for Everything…

Yep, even after the whole ordeal, I still have to wear reading glasses.  And not just for reading!  If I want to see any details of anything at all – reading and writing (and how often do you think an author does either of those things?!), working on the computer, using my smartphone, eating food, etc, etc – I have to get up close and put on the “cheaters” (as some folks call them).  It’s like I’ve assumed the archetype of an old guy before my time.

 

Hey Baby... How 'bout that Sputnik?

Hey Baby… how ’bout that Sputnik?

 

And what does everyone invariably say when I tell them about this condition?  They say it’s because I’m “getting old!”  As if I hadn’t just come from the lab of a mad scientist who waged a Star Wars laser battle against my retinas.  And now I have to carry around a set of glasses – constantly worried about losing them, forgetting to take them out with me, and constantly juggling them out of my pocket and onto my face when it comes time to look at….  anything.  Then, of course, they have to come off anytime I look up from my work, or the whole world is blurry.  Frankly, it was much easier when I just put the damned things on my face in the morning and took them off again at night.

And that leads me to my final thought:

 

4. Going Without My Glasses is Not as Wonderful as I Thought it Would Be

When you tell a person who has been stuck with glasses his entire life that he can finally live without them, he’s going to dance and rejoice.  At first.  Then as he tries to go on with his daily life sans glasses, he’s going to find himself facing all sorts of psychological hurdles he never saw coming.

That’s what happened to me!  I have worn glasses since the first grade, and that means I’ve had a lifetime to develop habits and unspoken assumptions about my life as a glasses wearer.  Suddenly take the glasses away, and a little kid inside me starts to panic and scream “where are my glasses??  I’ve lost my glasses!!”

 

What I feel like every morning...

What I feel like every morning…

 

Years of getting in serious trouble if I lost them, years of waking up and immediately reaching for them, years of protecting them from rain, from scratches, from falling off…  all of that indoctrination just runs screaming into a brick wall.  And there is nothing you can do to calm that inner little kid down!  So, it is pretty psychologically taxing to go through this change.

And it seems to affect those around you, too.  More than one person told me it wasn’t easy to get used to seeing me without glasses.  My family said that every time they looked at me they thought I was getting ready to lay down and go to sleep!

Thankfully, this part of the experience has gotten easier over time.  New habits are starting to replace the old ones, and my inner child has stopped throwing a tantrum.  But every now and then I still reach for glasses that aren’t on my face.  Or, even more fun, I catch myself wearing my reading glasses around, wondering why the hell everything is suddenly so blurry!

On one of my follow-up visits, I had the doctor write me a prescription for bifocals.  That way I can just wear the damned things when I’m working and not have to worry about the constant on-and-off, or setting them down and forgetting where they are, etc.  I haven’t got the bifocals yet – so that’s still on the agenda.

 

And so, as with many things, this experience has not been exactly what I expected – it has downs as well as ups.  But let’s not allow that to distract from the basic truth:  You guys saved me from going blind.  You saved my writing and teaching career.  You kept a modern-day wizard on active duty.  And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

 

The Sorcerer Supreme

Now where the hell did I put those cheaters…?

 

 

 

 

Posted May 25, 2014 by kheph777 in social commentary

Tagged with

My Response to Overwhelming Community Support   14 comments

Greetings, brothers and sisters!

I have been pretty quiet over the past couple of days – mainly because I really just “needed a moment.”  What I’ve witnessed over the past 48 hours has utterly floored and humbled me, leaving me (perhaps for the first time ever) speechless.

Umm..... No.

Umm….. No.

But I know I gotta say something, so I’ve been trying to think of how best to share my feelings.  That’s no easy task because I’m really all over the map on this one.  Where do I even begin??

Here’s Looking At You – For Now…

Ok, first let me tell you how all of this came to be.  Last fall, I went to the eye doctor because the vision in my right eye was getting increasingly blurry.  I had to squint one eye closed to do almost anything, and I was getting headaches besides.  I already “suffer” from ocular albinism, which basically means bright light hurts my eyes, I have incredible night vision, but everything else about my vision generally sucks.  Oh, and it means I have a chance of various eye problems as I get older – such as cataracts.  Which I got, in spades.  I was told I have the eyes of a 70 year old man.  lol  Also, I was told that my right eye was already legally blind, and the left eye would follow soon enough.

When it came time to talk payment, my heart sank.  I’m not very experienced with the insurance game (in my youth, I sure as hell couldn’t afford medical) – so I was shocked to learn that my out-of-pocket expenses combined with a ridiculous deductible meant I had to raise over $5000!

And could I spread that out over a payment plan?  Of course not!  This is America, boy!  Cars and televisions come on easy payment plans.  But sick people can just suffer unless they raise the money because fuck sick people.  😦

Bunch of jerks...

Bunch of jerks…

When I told this news to my household, my friend and brother Steve Kinney said, “Screw that, we’ll crowd-source that bitch!”  And that was the last I heard of it.  The Holidays followed soon after, and all of our attention and resources had to focus on that.

Those of you who know me have seen the eye patch I’ve worn for the last several months.  Some of you actually thought I was joking around about going blind, and that the eye patch was a prank or weird fashion statement – which officially makes me the Andy Kaufman of the occult world.  lol

Yep – Seems about right…

Then, just two nights ago, Steve up and published the YouCaring website to raise the funds.  I was at work at the time I discovered it, and thought ‘Well, it’s got a month, let’s see how much it can raise.  Every little bit helps.’

What I saw from that point forward was nothing short of incredible.

The Modern Western Occult Community

You guys know the rest of the story, because you ARE the rest of the story.  I believe the first donation came in around noon the following day.  Then – ye Gods! – I think the entire global occult community responded!  I believe I now know what it’s like to “go viral” – because I was suddenly all over Facebook, Twitter, emails, phone calls, etc, etc.  Even Chic Cicero was getting calls.  Many of you, quite rightly, wanted to make sure this was not a hoax or scam before you committed yourselves.

But, once you knew it was real, you all got together and showed such incredible, mind-blowing support.  The full goal of the fund-raiser was reached in less than a day!  I have also been reading the comments you’ve posted to the YouCaring page as well as Facebook, and I have been deeply moved and humbled by the expressions of love, caring, support and well-wishes I have seen there.  I wish I could respond to each and every one of you personally, to express even a small portion of my gratitude for all you have done.  🙂

youre-awesome

All too often, you guys are going to read about how awful we occultists are.  You’ll be told we are all ego and no compassion.  You’ll hear that we would rather fight and belittle one another than give the time of day.  You’ll even see it said, emphatically, that there is something wrong with occultists that just makes us horrible people.

And every time you encounter that nonsense, I want you to come back here and read this post.  (Or, even better, read the comments made by the Supporters at the YouCaring page.)  In the past two days, I have seen every wall crumble.  Every hatchet set aside.  Every hard feeling forgotten.  And I have seen Thelemites, Golden Dawners, Pagans, Voodoo and Hoodoo practitioners, Wiccans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists and more all come together with one single proclamation:  “We take care of our own!”

Unity-Poster

And you did!  We are certainly a dysfunctional family, but when the chips are down and a member of the family is in need we come together and get shit done.  🙂

And this isn’t an isolated case!  I’ve seen you guys do this before, and I have no doubt whatsoever you’ll (we’ll) do it again when another member of our family needs emergency help.  Because, yeah, we take care of our own.

Thanks.  And Thanks.  And…  THANKS!  🙂

I can’t thank all of you enough!  This Monday I’ll be calling the eye doc to schedule my first surgery.  Within the next couple of months, I will set aside my glasses for the final time since the first grade.  That’s right – you didn’t just step in and keep me from going blind.  They’re going to aim a Buck Rogers laser at my eyeballs and damn well fix them for good.  🙂  (I’ll always be an ocular albino, of course, but I’ll be able to actually see for the first time I can remember.)

Ahhhh... Memories

Ahhhh… Memories

Thank you, Steve Kinney, for taking the initiative in setting up this fundraiser.  Without you, I’d still be sitting at home wondering how in the hell I’d save the funds before my left eye finally gave out!  I honestly (honestly!) did not know how many people out there seriously appreciate my work and contributions to the Community.

Thank you Carrie Mikell, my lovely wife, who fielded all the calls and texts and emails that poured in once the fundraiser went live.  If she had a dollar for every time she had to say “Yes, this is real” we wouldn’t have needed nearly as much from the fundraiser!  😉

I also want to thank all of you who shared and tweeted my story over the internet.  Especially Nick Farrell, who took it and ran with it more than any other, both on his blog and on Facebook.  Even those of you who couldn’t contribute funds (believe me I know how it is!) still got the word out there, which was every bit as important.

Some of you even took the fundraising off the net and into your own circles and temples.  I want to thank you as individuals and as organizations.

Keep an eye on the YouCaring page, and this blog, for further updates.  I’ll post pics – especially before and after shots, and maybe a shot of me throwing my glasses in the trash.  lol

Also, remember that any donations beyond the costs of the surgery and associated expenses (like meds) will go directly to the Himalayan Cataract Project.  Steve researched them, and they are top-of-the-line where it comes to your donations actually getting to the people who need help.  So we’re going to make sure that several people get their eyesight back from this.  😉

And, have no fear, I’ll be getting to work on the next book this year.  That’s what you guys were paying for, and I have no plans to disappoint!  (Next in the queue, Abramelin!  Then maybe one final Enochian book after that.)

It’s damn hard to have faith in this world, as I’m sure you know.  But I’ll tell you one thing – I’ve got an unshakable faith in our particular corner of it.  If this is who we really are, then I’ve chosen the right life path.

In LVX

Aaron

Posted January 12, 2014 by kheph777 in social commentary

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Chrysi Avgi is not the “Golden Dawn”   7 comments

Greetings Seekers!

Does this really need to be said?  Sadly… yes it probably does.  <SIGH>

 

Seriously... Fuck These Guys

Seriously… Fuck These Guys

 

Frankly, I don’t think anyone who has ever heard of the Golden Dawn is going to confuse us with the Greek neo-fascists Chrysi Avgi (which translates into English as “Golden Dawn”).  But, those folks aren’t the problem.

The real problem is for those who have never heard of us before, and whose first introduction to the term “Golden Dawn” is through the popular media talking about the Greek party.  (Do a Google search on the term now, see what comes up and in what order!)  Then, if those people encounter an actual Hermetic Order of the G.D. book, website, or member they will jump to the immediate conclusion that they are seeing something fascist.

And that can bring real problems.  Previously, if your boss or landlord or (in some cases) extended family discovered that you are into some kind of mysticism called “Golden Dawn”, they would likely think you were way too into Harry Potter and move on.  Now, if those same people were to hear that you practice “Golden Dawn” they might think you’re a closet nazi – which could lead to serious problems for you.

And the real downer is that I don’t think we can do a damned thing about this.  We can make all the noise we want – but the media is not going to take the time to say “…by the way, this Greek Golden Dawn party is not the same as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” after each news story about the Greeks.  And most muggles are going to hear about those fascists long before they ever hear about us.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest we change our name.  (Don Kraig and Nick Farrell, I’m looking at you! – find links to their blogs below.)  Personally, I can’t support that course of action because:

 

Damn Skippy

Damn Skippy

 

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make some noise.  Sure, by all rights these extremist whackjobs should be beneath our notice.  But we might as well take the effort to state, in no uncertain terms, that we are not associated with these douchebags nor do we sympathize in the least with any fascist or nazi philosophies or tactics.  In any country (or online).

My Order – the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – has just released this disclaimer:

No Welcome Mat for Extremists

It has come to our attention that an extremist right-wing group in Greece has been making news lately. That in itself would not usually raise a blip on my radar screen, however this particular group calls itself “Chrysi Avgi” which unfortunately translates into English as “Golden Dawn.”  They appear to be a Greek right-wing extremist group, employing many racist, xenophobic beliefs and repugnant tactics. You can read all about them here.

There is absolutely no connection between Greece’s fascist Chrysi Avgi political group and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Greek extremist group does not in any way represent the ideals of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

I would like to state categorically that the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn does not support the ideals and goals of Chrysi Avgi or any other extremist political group in any way, shape, or form. Anyone holding right-wing extremist beliefs or sympathies would be both unsuited and unwelcome in the HOGD. The HOGD has no political leanings in any form or fashion.

Normally I would not even address this topic. I’m certain that students of the Golden Dawn, the Greater Golden Dawn Community, and even casual students of alternative spiritual paths in general, already know instinctively that there is no connection between a Greek political group and any sincere Golden Dawn magical group devoted to the teachings of Westcott, Woodman, and Mathers. However, in this Internet age of abundant information combined with scant comprehension, I feel that I must act to dispel any possible confusion by the general public.

Other articles on this topic can be found here:

Donald Michael Kraig’s Blog

Nick Farrell’s Blog

Ba Iset Order Blog

-Posted by Tabatha

‘Nuff Said.

LVX

Aaron Leitch (Isis Urania)

Posted October 5, 2013 by kheph777 in golden dawn, politics, social commentary

Tagged with , ,

Aaron Leitch Must Be Stopped! – The Realities of Being an Author   30 comments

Greetings inquisitive minds!

So the other day it was brought to my attention that I am under attack.  Not in the physical or magickal sense – but in the informational sense.  Apparently, someone out there with a blog and waaay too much free time on their hands has got it into their mind that I am a dastardly minion of Evil who delights in inciting hatred and strife across the Western magickal community.

huh_441993

Yeah that’s what I said…

This blogger “outed” me as a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (and by “outed” I mean he quoted my ‘About the Author’ blurb found on my website).  He then went on to provide a screenshot of a State corporate registration page that displayed not only my home address, but also the addresses of two of my close friends.  Wow.  And what did all of this prove?  Why, my membership in the HOGD was somehow proof-positive that I am promoting anonymous hate blogs here at Ananael and in my forums, and that perhaps I’m even the one writing those hate blogs myself!

See the above graphic…

Of course, those of you who actually read my blog, my forums, my essays, articles and books already know that these are all safe-havens from the drama, politics and trolling that are all-too rampant on the Internet and in various occult communities.  (And, to be honest, literally any and every sub-culture of which humans are a part.)  At no time ever have I promoted or linked to any hate blogs, and I sure as hell don’t have the time to go anonymously writing them!  (And if I did, do you know how fast Chic would have me out of the HOGD on my ass??)  For that matter, I strictly moderate anyone who tries to bring their fights to my forums – which quite often gets me accused of “censorship.”  (No shit, that’s what “moderate” means, sherlock!)

You might wonder why this person would accuse me of things I’m clearly not doing, and even consider me evil enough that perhaps putting my home and family in danger is worthwhile.  Is he someone I know and fell out with?  No.  Is he someone who I expelled from one of my forums?  Nope.  Is he someone that I’ve ever met or even spoken to before?  Not that I can tell.  Maybe this is entirely random.  Or maybe it’s because I count as friends some folks this guy doesn’t like.  (Note:  As of this writing he has removed the screenshot of my address, and simply provided a link to it instead.  I suppose that’s something…)

Don’t worry, I’m not intending to suddenly port in drama and trolling here now.  I’m not going to tell you who is doing this or link to them (because, contrary to what this person thinks, I don’t link to hate blogs!).  In fact, this blog isn’t about him.  I’m looking at a bigger and more important picture.

I’m sure many of you have already quit reading and are hitting the reply button to tell me what I should “do” about this attack.  But you should save your breath, because I don’t intend to “do” a goddam thing about it.  You see, internet fights are what I like to refer to as “tar baby traps.”

That'll learn ya!

That’ll learn ya!

A “tar baby” is a kind of bait.  It is intended to piss you off enough that you throw a punch at it.  But once you do, your fist is stuck.  Then you escalate the fight in an effort to get free – but all that does is enmire you further.  By the time you’re done thrashing around, you’ve become so entangled you have no hope of extricating yourself from the muck.  And it doesn’t do one bit of damage to your opponent – they just stroll along and scoop you up when they’re ready – laughing the whole way at how easily they played you.

But.. But... My HONOR!!

But.. But… My HONOR!!

And, that, dear friends, is at the very heart of every internet flame war you’ve ever seen.  The troll will stoop to any depth to find out how to push your buttons, how to get you nice and angry.  Then when you respond with ranting and raving it’s you who look like the asshole.  You become “just another one of those jerks who like to fight on the internet.”  No one who reads your rants cares that “he started it!”  In fact, no one who matters is going to read any of it anyway – the only ears you’ve captured belong to the trolls and the unwashed masses who can’t look away from anything with “Housewives” or “Swap” in the title…

Anything with Tabitha in it doesnt' count.  She rocks.

Anything with Tabitha in it doesn’t count. She rocks.

Back when I was getting my first book ready for publication, Chic told me to beware.  The moment you become an authority, he warned, people you’ve never even met will line up to take you down a peg.  And how right he was!  Just look at the reviews for my books on Amazon – specifically the few one and two star reviews – and you’ll find people who appear to be honestly enraged that I exist and am sucking up their precious air.  And, like our intrepid blogger, these are folks that I don’t know, have never met, and most certainly have never wronged in any way.

I found a great documentary on this subject called Heckler – you might enjoy giving it a watch.  Especially if you are yourself an artist, creator or performer who is in the public eye.

Fortunately, I’m not a stage-performer whose show can be ruined by a heckler.  I’m an author who gets to have my full say in each and everything I write.  (Except in forum posts – those almost always lead to trouble!)  Those who like what I have to say will read my work and enjoy it.  And those who don’t will rant against me to little avail.  The fact is internet arguments never change anyone’s mind about anything – ever.  And online ranting and libel is so common these days, hardly anyone even sees it anymore.  You can shout all day every day that I promote hate blogs, or eat babies, or mercilessly beat puppies and kittens (which somehow sounds worse than eating babies… hmmmm…) but its chances of causing me any real harm are slim to none.

So the next time you feel like you’re being baited on the internet – or even in real life for that matter – just think of the tar baby and ask yourself, is this really worth getting stuck in?

99% of the time, the answer is “No.”

Posted August 30, 2013 by kheph777 in psychology, social commentary

Tagged with , ,

Magickal Super Powers   8 comments

Greetings True Believers!

The Sorcerer Supreme

The Sorcerer Supreme

It might seem a bit odd – unless you are Dr. Strange or some other magickal denizen of the comic book universe – to associate modern occultism with straight-up super powers.   And we’re not talking about something metaphorical like “to become more than human” – which means to become a self-actualized metaprogrammer who is literally awake inside their own skull.  Nor are we talking about operative magick by which we invoke the spirits to manifest things that we need, or protect us from harm or even to heal the sick.

No, we’re talking about a belief in Hollywood-style super powers – like the ability to fly, dodge bullets, shatter prison walls, transform substances*, to live without food or water, direct lightning, become (literally) immortal and more.

(* And by “transform substances”, I don’t mean alchemy or anything spiritual like the Eucharist.  I mean things like transforming illegal substances – locked in evidence lockers – into harmless legal substances to upset court cases.  And, yes, that is an example of a claim I recently heard.)

Yes, it seems quite odd that anyone could approach magick from this kind of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or Hollywood fantasy standpoint – and take themselves seriously, let alone anyone else take them seriously.  But it happens – maybe even more than you think it does.  There are even would-be gurus out there who promise those kinds of super powers to their followers – for a price – and it appears they are not lacking in signed checks to cash, either. 

Just this week, I have been dealing with one of these types on the Abramelin Yahoo Group.  He swooped in from nowhere, his long cape fluttering in the winds of the Hoary Hosts of Haggoth, to inform the entire group (and especially me) that we don’t have a gnat’s ass clue what we are talking about.  Where we discuss a “faux-HGA” that slowly guides and teaches an aspirant in the mysteries of magick, the real HGA is supposed to appear and (like Aladdan’s Genie) grant one instant super powers and unlock all the “secret keys” to make use of the Abramelin word-squares and even the Seals of Solomon.

The mere fact that we are sitting around discussing the HGA on a Yahoo Group, says the Great Master, illustrates that we don’t have a clue.  He is here to (and I quote) “keep it real.”  He “knows people” who can wave a pinkie finger and deadlock juries, dodge bullets, transform illegal substances and more.  Not only this, but according to him real magicians don’t read books, nor should any who do read or write books be taken seriously.  So not only does your Holy Guardian Angel make you a thunderbolt-wielding super hero, but you have to be illiterate to even get there.  lol

Ok, yes, it’s funny and we can easily laugh at someone who is so obviously entrapped in his childhood fantasies.  But there is also a more serious side of the coin:  sometimes these types of people get their followers hurt or killed.

Peregrin Wildoak recently wrote his own blog article on this subject.  In it, he brings up the practice known as “Breatharianism.”  This is a practice whereby one gazes into the Sun each morning – a little at first, but increasing the time each day until one is staring into it for nearly an hour or more.  The goal is to eventually take all of your necessary nutrients directly from the Sun, and leave behind your need for food or water.  Why, I even read one article that suggested it would also give you psychic powers, telepathy, the ability to bi-locate and much much more!

And before you scoff at the very idea anyone could fall for that kind of nonsense, you should know that people have bought into it and even died in the attempt.  One Breatharian leader was even challenged to prove she could go for a mere seven days without food or water – and the experiment was called off a few days in, as her body began to break down and lawyers told them they could be legally culpable for her death.  She, meanwhile, spent the entire time insisting she was just fine and wanted to continue!

It is people like this that drag the entire subject of occultism down into the mud.  Sometimes they get people hurt or killed.  But most often they just swindle people out of a lot of money.  You don’t know how many times I’ve been contacted by people who went to a self-proclaimed “healer” for a cleansing, only to be shown some kind of stage-magic trick and told they were cursed – a curse which could be removed for several hundred dollars.  (And then several hundred more, and then…)  Just read through the comments made on my Egg Cleansing post for a few examples.  And they are just a few I’ve been able to warn away from being taken – I shudder to think of how many aren’t so lucky.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know we’re dealing with a gray area here.  As one who practices “operative magick” – that is magick done to make things happen in the real world – I know there is something of a fine line to walk.  I deal with angels and spirits as if they were as real as you and I.  I speak about jumping between realities as easily as an episode of Sliders.  I speak of doing magick to bring money or physical objects when they are needed.  I believe in curses and possession and hauntings, as well as in my own knowledge of how to break them.

Besides, miracles do happen.  Maybe some of those old Saints or Eastern Gurus really did manage to levitate.  Maybe Jesus really did raise Lazarus from the dead.  Hell, for that matter, maybe Dee really did brew up a storm and sink the Spanish Armada.  Anything is technically possible, so far be it from me to call every claim ever made hogwash.  I’ve certainly seen my share of physics-defying events – blessed salt turned into pure light, disembodied sounds, ghosts.  Why, once I even time traveled (though it only lasted a second and I was not apparently physically present in the time/place I traveled to).

But I find the charlatans are usually the ones insisting on the super powers.  They’re trying desperately to sell you something, or to sell you on something.  They, like our “Dr. Strange” from the Abramelin Group, loudly proclaim everyone else to be false pretenders while only they have access to the True Secrets of the Universe(tm).  (And, most often, they follow that with a promise to teach them to you, and where you can send your check or money order…)

Real spiritual leaders will likely tell you the miracles and magickal powers are mere side-effects of the Great Work.  They can happen, but they are something you earn by long years of practice and a hell of a lot of trial and error.  And some of the more spiritual traditions (like some Buddhist sects) tell you to avoid them altogether.

Me, I’m striving for miracles on demand!  But, seriously, the minute I start claiming that I can “eat sunlight” or fly up to the local 7-11 for a soda – just toss me in a padded room.  😉

‘Nuff Said.

Posted August 3, 2013 by kheph777 in rants, social commentary

Tagged with ,

Online Piracy? – Give Me a Break!   13 comments

Greetings Ye Scurvy Knaves Who Read My Blog For Free!

Today I was directed to an awesome link at the homesite of Baen Books.  It is called the Baen Free Library.

I had heard about this project in the past, and fully support it – though I hadn’t taken the time to go to the site and see what they had to say.  Today I decided to give it a look, and I’m very glad I did.  It’s not just a library page of books you can read online, but a lengthy explanation of both how and why the free library came to be.

I strongly urge you to read the page – especially if you are an author or publisher!

The subject of the page is online piracy and what we should do about the “problem.”  Many of you already know how I feel about this issue.  And those of you who are authors and publishers generally scoff at me for it.  “Why, you must not want to make money from your books!”  “Boy, I bet you’d change your tune if it were YOUR books being stolen!”

Well let me handle those two comments one at a time.  First, I’ll put aside the sad commentary on the attitudes of capitalism the first comment makes.  I mean,  what a society I live in that thinks “not making money” is the ultiamte sin, and that a person who isn’t concerned about losing out on a buck is somehow mentally ill.  Welcome to the Feringi homeworld, folks!

Fuck Everything - Acquire Profit

But I digress…  For all of you Quarks out there, you can calm down and put away your torches.  I don’t believe in giving away free material because it loses me money.  I believe in giving it away becasue it makes me money.  And if you can’t figure out how that could be – then I urge you once again to read what the good folks at Baen Books have to say on the matter.  They are a business, they’ve applied the model, and they have reported their results.  It. Makes. Them. Money.  😉 

Not only that, but the author of that page does a great job of putting the entire issue of online piracy into proper perspective.  (For example, he points out that book loans – between friends and from libraries – far outweigh what online pirates get for free.  Sure, lawyers love to hype the whole thing as the worst thing to ever happen to their fellow Feringi – but Baen Books more sanely compares online piracy to kids stealing bubble gum.  It’s minor, and no authors are going hungry because of it.

As to the second statment – which in essence says “put up or shut up.” – I have the perfect answer.   Try this little experiment.  Head over to Google, and type in these words:  Leitch Angelical Langauge

Now enjoy the FREE PDFs of both volumes of the book you will find hosted on many file-sharing sites around the web.  🙂

No, I didn’t put those PDFs up myself.  I’m sure Llewellyn would have a few nasty emails to send me if I did such a thing.  However, am I upset those PDFs  have turned up?  Have I sent out a single cease-and-desist letter?  Have I alerted Llewellyn so their legal department can do it for me?  Have I even tried to keep quiet about the fact they are out there?  The resounding answer to all of these questions is NO!

Why?  Because those PDFs are great free advertisement for the books.  People who have never seen the books before, or knew about them but weren’t sure if they were worth the price (nearly $100 for the set) can now sample them and see just how awesome they are.  The word gets spread.  My work reaches a greater audience.  And, yes folks, it Makes. Me. Money.  because it increases the sales of “dead tree” editions.  Not to mention the fact it increases the number of people who know about me and thus attend my lectures and workshops!  (cha-ching again!)   😉

So far, I’m still waiting on some dedicated Pirate to make a PDF of my Secrets of the Magickal Grimories and release it.  I recently heard one exists, but it is supposedly hosted on an invitation-only pirate website – and I don’t think anyone believes my sincerity when I ask to be invited so I can get a PDF of my own book.  😦  So I don’t really know the book is there for sure.  If it is, perhaps someday it’ll make it onto file sharing servers, which will result in several further sales of “dead tree” editions for me.  🙂

So, kudos to Baen Books for showing both sanity and vision in this regard.  And, while I’m at it, I happen to know the good folks over at Scarlet Imprint hold similar (not identical, but similar) views to my own.  So they are worth checking out as well.

Meanwhile, enjoy The Angelical Langauge along with the host of essays and articles I make freely available on my webiste.   And don’t shed a tear for me!  I’ll cry all the way to the bank.  😉

Zorge,

Aaron

Posted June 26, 2012 by kheph777 in books, Intellectual Rights, social commentary

Tagged with