An announcement of the availability of Module 2 in the ongoing work for a new school of magic – Quareia – and some thoughts on this module from well known magician and writer, Josephine McCarthy. I urge my readers to take a look at this material. Even if you do not happen to be interested in pursuing a magical path, the information will help you better understand a completely different world view that steps outside the polarized lines of skepdebunker and believer.
Tag Archives: Josephine McCarthy
I normally post on Tuesdays but I wanted to make a short announcement here to those who read the site and are interested in the magical arts.
This link will guide you to the home page of a new school of magic called Quareia – Latin for the quarry. The school is a joint project being developed by Josephine McCarthy, a noted British adept, and a group of magicians from across the world. It is the result of Ms. McCarthy’s stated desire to establish a system of magical education that is free but that will develop the skills needed for anyone to become a magical adept.
Ms. McCarthy has taken her wide ranging magical skills and, in conjunction with magicians such as Frater Acher, a well known practitioner from Germany, has stripped magical practice down to its essentials so that anyone, of any tradition, can practice what she is putting forward.
I have had an opportunity to look at the first few lessons of her Apprentice curriculum and I can say without reservation that, if you are interested in magic and have some self-discipline, you could do far worse (and pay far more) than following this course of instruction.
Quareia is a work in progress; Ms. McCarthy has started a crowd funding campaign to develop enough funds for her to be able to continue working on the project full time until it is completed. Her overall goal is not unrealistic and I encourage those of my readers who are so inclined to contribute if you are able. This is a worthy work and one that desperately needs to be done. Here is the link to the funding campaign:
I almost entitled this “Demons: The Real Scoop” but decided that I was going to talk about more than just what a demon is in occult thought. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember a post from some time back called Types of Spirits – A Small Primer. In that post, I stated:
“Demons” – Most of the so-called “demons” are actually daemons or faery/djinn of the Unseelie variety busily working out their malice toward human kind. However, if one deals with the darker aspects of the paranormal/occult, one will eventually run up against a creature which seems to be the exact opposite of an angel. Rather than being a creature of radiant light, totally aligned to the will of “God” (however you see that), these beings seem to gather darkness around them and to delight in the destruction, on all levels, of human beings. . .
In some areas of the blogosphere (mostly amongst occultists), there has been an ongoing discussion of this subject. Two very erudite posts on this subject can be found on the blogs of Josephine McCarthy, the noted writer on visionary magic, and Ian Corrigan, another respected writer on pagan topics. While these two writers do not agree with my above quote completely, I find myself in complete agreement with what they have to say. I encourage you to read these two posts thoroughly and to really consider them.
Looking back on my own post, I see that I was still writing about demons from the vestiges of my Judeo-Christian upbringing. At the time of writing that post, I felt that, if I were going to write about angels, a phenomenon with which I have had direct experience in the Otherworld, then I had to balance them off with demons. After more research both academic and practical, I have to say that this was a mistake. The creatures that some call demons are, in fact, members of the daimonic realm; the difference is that they are the spirits of the “sub-lunar” realms that frighten us.
We in the United States (I can not speak for other countries) have developed a cult of youth and beauty. People in this country spend ridiculous amounts of money trying to superimpose a totally unrealistic image of beauty on themselves and refuse to face the fact that, genetically, we just cannot all look like super models or actors (male or female) no matter what we do. We worship at the altar of their youth and good looks and, as soon as they begin to age, with a few exceptions, they are cast aside for the next “hot property”.
On the other end of the scale, while we set our eyes firmly on the young, we do our best to ignore the old and, worse yet, death. It used to be that everyone above a certain age had seen a beloved relative or friend die, at home, surrounded by kith and kin. No longer. Nowadays, many people die in hospitals, surrounded by technology designed to keep them alive past the point where their body has given up. Once death has occurred, bodies are covered and removed as quickly as possible and then disposed of with as much haste as families can manage. Very seldom do we see the old custom of laying someone out, having their relatives tenderly prepare their bodies and attending to the dead in vigil.
Plainly, we have been trained to view youth and impossible good looks as the ideal and to hide our faces from old age and death. And yet . . . the occult traditions have always told us that death is a birth into new life and birth is a gateway to death.
In the Otherworld, there are forces of creation and manifestation and there are forces of destruction and dissolution working together in an ongoing recycling effort to ensure that nothing in this universe ever goes to waste. We have no trouble with the angels, who work on the creative side but we start to flinch when we come to the daimon/demons who are responsible for tearing things down and taking out the trash (as well as other functions we can only understand if we have converse with them). Mr. Corrigan does an excellent job, in his blog post, of tracing the descent of the daimon to the demon and his work there is, again, well worth reading.
So, the “demon” meets with our rejection because of its part in the natural order but there is more to it than that. We also fear the demon, I think, because these spirits remind us of ourselves. An angel is, as Ms. McCarthy notes, a rather ‘point and click’ type of spirit. The angelic orders have their functions and they perform them admirably but they are not the most approachable beings in the Otherworld. While magicians certainly do work with them, to good effect, the work is most often conducted on the angel’s terms since these spirits do not/cannot really negotiate and do not really have any idea what it is like to live a human life in a human body.
Demons, on the other hand, have a long history of interaction with people, tend to have more of a personality and certainly have a deeper understanding of what our lives are about not only from the interaction but quite possibly as the result of having had relations with us in the past (take the Nephilim as an example). Because they are creatures aligned more to the forces of dissolution and because they interact in a more “human” manner, they hold a mirror up to us and show us that we really are not as virtuous and civilized as we sometimes think we are.
While I no longer view the demon as a creature bent on human destruction, they certainly are capable of bringing that destruction about in as impersonal a manner as the general giving the command for a drone strike. If we look past our fears (and I include myself here), however, I think that we will see that this class of spirits is much maligned and is every bit as necessary as the angelic orders. Where would we be if there was no one to take apart old structures, clear the area and make way for new building?
I have been reading Josephine McCarthy’s excellent book Magical Knowledge 1: Foundations slowly and deliberately over the past weeks. I am finding the book to be an excellent primer on visionary magic and, as always happens when I read some new text on magic, I think of you, my readers. Here is a quote from the book, where the author is discussing the process of enlivening a statue with the consciousness of a deity:
Therefore, an ancient statue of say, Sekhmet, is very likely to retain echoes of her power. If a magician, who is adept at inner communication, visits a museum, he is very likely to pick up on the calls and demands of this deities as they try to communicate through the images. It is important to note that the power is within the original statue that was ritually enlivened, not the generic image. So, a copy of the image will be just an image and nothing more.
Now, oddly enough, I can attest to this experience with this goddess personally. Many moons ago, when I lived in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, I had occasion to go to an exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts with some magically inclined friends. We wandered through some preliminary display rooms before emerging finally into the main hall of the museum. The centerpiece of the display was a fourteen foot high statue of Sekhmet.
The power of the goddess swept over me as soon as I entered the room and it was all I could do to keep my feet. I literally had the desire to prostrate myself before this statue and it was only with difficulty that I kept my attention in the present moment. Even as I did so, I was aware of a substrate of my mind approaching a temple of the goddess, the temple walkway lined with hundreds of smaller versions of the statue before me. I could almost feel the hot desert breeze wafting over me in the air conditioned comfort of that museum hall and I wondered how it was that everyone around me seemed to be so . . . collected.
I wandered from case to case with my friends, continuously aware of the powerful presence of the Lady and doing my best to give her honor even as I pretended to study the artifacts on display. It seemed a very long time before my friends were prepared to move out of that room and, even once I had a wall between me and the statue, the intensity of the experience dimmed but did not go away entirely.
After this experience, I have often wondered why it is that we do not hear more reports of museum hauntings. While the manifestation of the consciousness of a goddess might be rare, museums are loaded with items that could serve as storehouses of psychic energy – for example, items that were worn at the time of the traumatic death of the wearer – that could generate some interesting “imprint” style hauntings under the right circumstances.
In addition, items of ritual and magical significance from varying cultures are often on display in museums. I am thinking particularly of museums I visited in Arizona and Washington DC that were loaded with Native American artifacts of all kinds, including items used in ritual practice. I have said before and I will say again that indigenous medicine people bear powerful magic. For those with senses attuned to such things, that magic and the spirits that work with it are evident in exhibits. I am sure that the same could be said of exhibits from a variety of other cultures, both ancient and modern.
Our habit of cavalierly digging up and displaying the grave goods of ancient peoples could also serve as a source of hauntings and worse. Many ancient people buried their dead with specific intent based on their concept of the afterlife and disturbance of those remains could very well serve to unleash the unpleasantness associated with disturbing their dead. The Egyptians, of course come to mind in this regard, but we can look to the Norse as well. Disturbance of one of the ancient burial mounds of these people produced draugr, a real live, capable of ripping you apart, sort of zombie in the sagas. While I don’t take the stories literally, I suspect that the old Norse guarded their tombs with pretty fierce guardians and that disturbance of those tombs, even after all these years, would be liable to unleash those guardians. I imagine that the only thing that saves archeologists and museum staff from a lot of psychic unpleasantness is that these guardians have likely weakened over the centuries since they were not being tended in the traditional manner.
Nevertheless, given the perfect storm of “imprints”, ritual objects and grave goods, one would think that museums would be pretty haunted places. While one does occasionally hear such a story, it still seems that haunted houses get all the attention. Why might this be?
In magical circles, non-magical people are sometimes derisively referred to as mundanes. Oddly enough, I think that this is what saves most people from having haunted experiences in museums. I had my Sekhmet experience with a group of magical folks and none of them had the same experience, although some did note the strong energy coming from the statue. I admittedly had the most mediumistic ability in the group so it is logical that I would have the strongest experience.
Most ‘mundanes’ have had any psychic ability (and I think almost everyone has some ability) beaten out of them by the Western educational system that teaches them that, if they can not touch it, it is not real. So many people do not have the sensitivity to perceive what is going on in the inner realms around them and, when they go to museums it is for “educational” purposes i.e. enforcing the paradigm. Add to this that museum staff tend to be scientific folks who are very invested in the sensory paradigm and you have an additional layer of protection. Finally, there is the ridicule factor that prevents many people from reporting their paranormal experiences and, viola’, you have perfect storm of investment in the sensory paradigm to counteract the potential for haunting in a museum.