Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Middle Pillar Ritual

"Now is the Pillar established in the Void; now is Asi fulfilled of Asar; now is Hoor let down into the Animal Soul of Things like a fiery star that falleth upon the darkness of the earth." -- Liber LXV

The Middle Pillar ritual is a basic magical exercise in which a magician affirms the “middle pillar” of the Qabalistic Tree of Life within his or her aura and then draws down and circulates its light. It can be seen as an extension of the Qabalistic Cross ritual.

Like all rituals, it is an enacted meditation that can be performed bodily or, once proficiency is gained, entirely in the mind.

This article describes how to perform this ritual and provides commentary.

Read on for more.

“Mock on, Mock on”: The Importance of Mockery

I’m making a very short post just to recommend a link. I came across this blog post the other day. It’s a pretty old article authored by Russell Glasser, one of the rotating co-hosts on The Atheist Experience television show and one of the hosts of The Non-Prophets radio show.                 

His article is about how important it is to mock ridiculous ideas.

I agree with what he says, and I enjoy how he says it, and I encourage you to read it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Believers Say the Darndest Things: The Argument from Definition

Elsewhere I’ve written about the tendency of religious believers, such as occultists, to mistake the idea of absolute knowledge for actual, tentative knowledge (read all about this subject here).

We can see this tendency clearly when religious believers turn to the argument from definition to defend their stupid beliefs. In this argument, they confuse their idea of a word’s definition (or, rather, what they think a word’s definition should be) with the way that the word is actually used.

It is useful to recall that dictionaries don’t create meaning. They record usage. Language is a living thing, evolving over time. As an obvious example, the word “gay” no longer means what it did a hundred years ago. In fact, the word “gay” often does not have the same meaning that it had even twenty years ago: in some idioms, “gay” has become a pejorative largely disconnected from literal homosexuality (a point amusingly illustrated on The Simpsons when Nelson’s friends declare, upon seeing him kiss Lisa, “Dude, you just kissed a girl! That’s so gay!”).

Let’s use the distinction between the current usage of this word and its denotation. Let's say a religious believer’s child tells him, “Dad, I’m gay. I’m attracted to members of the same sex.” I can pretty much guarantee that nobody in that situation would respond, “No, you’re not! It says in the dictionary that ‘gay’ means ‘happy,’ so therefore you can’t be attracted to members of the same sex!”

Obviously, no one is stupid enough to say that. Yet strangely, when the word in question is “atheism” or “materialism,” the same people who would never dream of making the above dumb response make even dumber responses.

This post looks at the stupidity created by the argument from definition and how believers use it in their quest to pay attention to their ideas about reality instead of reality itself.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Speaking Ill of the Dead

I recently stumbled across some blog posts about the relatively recent death of occult author Donald Michael Kraig. Apparently, some people who have nothing better to do with their time have used the occasion of this author’s death as a chance to badmouth him (mostly on pretty dumb grounds, as far as I can tell).

What’s more interesting than this expected display of bad form, however, is the way that some occult types reacted to it, specifically their criticism of certain interpretations of Liber AL, revealing not only the flaws of some interpretations but the drawbacks of their own hermeneutics.

In this post, I critique both the detractors and defenders of Kraig, concentrating on misreadings of The Book of the Law.

Read on for more.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Bloomsday 2014

Of the first was he to bare arms and a name: Wassaily Boos-

laeugh of Riesengeborg. His crest of huroldry, in vert with

ancillars, troublant, argent, a hegoak, poursuivant, horrid, horned.

His scutschum fessed, with archers strung, helio, of the second.

Hootch is for husbandman handling his hoe. Hohohoho, Mister

Finn, you're going to be Mister Finnagain! Comeday morm and,  

O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah, you're vinegar! Hahahaha,  

Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again!
--Finnegans Wake

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mailbag: Why I Am Not a Supernaturalist

Following my predictable banning from the Fruitcake Factory (aka The Temple of Thelema forums), a relatively new regular engaged with me briefly in private message correspondence regarding my lack of belief in the supernatural (by the way, to be fair to Eshelman, he tolerated the presence of critical questions on his forums much longer than I thought he would, even if he refused to answer them. So, credit where credit’s due. I definitely made my point).

In the thread right before the banning took place, I was explaining how I didn’t start off life as some rabid materialist: for a time, I even believed in supernatural things. And, as I said on the thread, one of the reasons I don’t believe in this stuff anymore is that I wised up and realized that daydreams and subjectively trusting how it all feels to me doesn’t demonstrate the actual existence of “powers” or “other worlds.
This prompted a question from my interlocutor: “How did you go about ‘wising up’? What was your process of ‘realization’?

He follows this up with speculation about me, musing that perhaps I was “not able to manifest results and so [I] determined that results are not manifestable.” Ah, classic believer script "you aren't doin' it right!"...
The question he asked, though, is a really good one, and one I’m not sure I’ve written about on the blog before. My response to him resembled an answer I gave to a similar question elsewhere on those forums, so for this post, I’m editing my responses together to give as comprehensive an answer (and hopefully as instructive an answer) as possible.

Read on for my answer to this question.