Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Happy Holidays, all!

I spent Thanksgiving with none other than Frater Barrabbas and his lovely wife, and the shared members of our local OTO lodge. In a word:

AMAZING.

Great food, amazing cocktails and wine, the FEAST of the Ishim! It was fucking awesome. We celebrated the hell out of the harvest.

Guys, do magic. It makes your life so much better.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Update on Kits!

Hey all, I know I said I'd start sending these out in September, but I ended up working 80-hour weeks at my day job, and only just got all the materials in.

They should start going out in the next two weeks. They will go out to the people who have been waiting the longest first.

Monday, August 03, 2015

7 Spheres Conjuration Kit

So, at least one person keeps asking me how much I'd charge to put together a complete set of tools for the Seven Spheres book, so I figured I'd throw together a whole kit.

It will be $175 for the tools alone, or $225 for the book plus the complete kit.

The complete kit will include:
  • 1 Ebony Wand, 3/4" X 12" to Trithemian specs
  • 1 Table of Practice, with the Kings of the quarters (Paimon, Amaymon, Egyn, Oriens)
  • 1 quartz crystal scrying point, consecrated. This will be 2-4" high, 2-3" wide. I don't control the growth of crystals, so there's no conformity. If I went with quartz crystal balls, I wouldn't buy this kit, it would cost too much. I like using my quartz point anyway.
  • 7 1" circular silver talismans for the seven archangels, the same ones I use. They're all in sterling silver, which receives the rays of all the planets nicely. I'd do the 7 traditional metals, but I'm not working in lead or tin these days. I've gotten enough lead poisoning, and silver works great.
  • 1 brass incense holder
  • 1 pack of stick incense, nag champa, my current favorite for all spirits. 
Shipping is not included, it will likely be around $5-15 in the US, $25-50 overseas. I haven't checked.

I'm only making 7 sets of these things, and they will not likely be shipped until early September. Please order using the button below. As long as you can place an order, they are not sold out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

After the Stone... Projection

I'm entering a new phase of my Work, these days, and I'm pretty excited about it. I want to pursue some things Sef and Chris Bradford and a few other Gents had discussed back in the day under a whole new skin.

When I started "Head for the Red," it was entirely about my pursuit of the accomplishment of the Great Work. I researched the practices of magicians throughout the aeons, found a really convenient way to contact the spirits, conjured them, and performed the Work. I "created the philosophers stone" about three years ago, and have been working on figuring out the best ways to grind it and project it into the world as the universal panacea.

In addition, as many of you know, I joined the A∴A∴ and the OTO a couple of years ago, and it's shifted the focus of a lot of my Work. I'm still
conjuring from the grimoires regularly, and maintaining my relationships with the spirits, but I've also found a framework for the things revealed to me in the 8th Sphere.

I realized a lot of things when I hit the 8th, and I want to pursue those things more hard core in my public life than I have been here lately. There's an aspect of the Work that applies to every man, woman, and child upon the face of the Earth that doesn't have any press right now, and it needs it. Badly.

The Seven Spheres are just the beginning. There's more, baby, so much more.

And the A∴A∴ and OTO stuff is also pretty cool, but I haven't felt nearly as comfortable about posting my experiences in the Thelemic systems here because so many of my readers are not in that particular current, and I don't want to come off like I'm proselytizing Thelema or anything. We got together over a lot of bitterness based on my experiences with the Golden Dawn, and I respect that a sizable base of my readers aren't interested in lodgy-type things.

So going forward, I'm going to be splitting my interests between this and a couple other blogs. Over time, I'll see where I end up, but right now I'm going to keep maintaining this site, posting about awesome magical things in the traditional Hermetic current, and things of that nature.

I'm also going to be taking my 8th Sphere revelations to the Work of Kings blog. That's where I'll be getting into the Applied Hermetics stuff we had talked about years ago. It's about fucking time.

Aaaaaand, I've got a lot of stuff to talk about that is primarily of interest to folks in the OTO and the A∴A∴, which will take place on my Horns of Cerastes blog. I'll ventilize, I'll advertise, I'll theorize, and I'll proselytize.

Oh yea, I'm also getting a new web site. Because it's just that time again.

Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a wild ride.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

On the Relative Importance of Aleister Crowley

Every once in a while, it becomes super popular in various groups of occultists to argue about Aleister Crowley. In the OTO and A.'.A.'. groups I interact with, the debates usually boil down to ways people make it ok to be a Thelemite even though he was a bastard who got some things terribly wrong overall.

Outside his cultus, people argue about how important he is to modern occultism. Jake Stratton-Kent and I were talking about it the other day on FaceBook. He doesn't think Crowley was the greatest magician ever, and I agree. Not the greatest ever, but certainly the most influential of the last 1500-2000 years, within the modern western mystery tradition.

I personally believe that less than 1% of English-speaking modern occultists are untouched by Crowley. Every system of magic in the English-speaking West finds its way back to To Mega Therion at some point. Even systems that think Crowley is shit still go to pains to differentiate themselves, and thereby define themselves using Crowley's teachings and methodologies. So even when people hate Crowley, he's still influencing their practice and their minds.

But that said...

Who gives a fuck? There's nothing Crowley wrote or taught or learned or changed or presented that is necessary to accomplish "the Great Work." People did it for years before he came along, and people will keep doing it long after he's gone the way of Buddha, Moses, Christ, and Mohammad.

In the mean time, if you read his stuff and it resonates with you, enjoy it. If it doesn't, do something else. There's nothing any Order he created, changed, influenced or destroyed on the planet that has anything in its teachings that you must receive from that group to accomplish the Great Work. The Golden Dawn, OTO, and A.'.A.'. are not the only way to the Philosopher's Stone, and for a lot of people, they will hinder your progress more than help.

So many times when I see people bashing Crowley, it's to make themselves look smarter or more important in comparison. I can count on one hand the number of magicians I've met who criticize Crowley who have actually read his works and understood the intent of his practices. Jake Stratton-Kent and Jason Miller pop immediately to mind. Most other critics make their statements based on ignorance, lack of comprehension, and lack of study.

Actually, I'm being super generous. Most people talking smack about Crowley base their opinions on what they heard about him rather than what they know about his life, times, and work. Because they're lazy and would rather feel good about themselves for thinking poorly of an icon of magick than actually do anything necessary to begin to become one themselves.

Folks, the Great Work is not a competition. You are not a better magician because you can point out what other magicians have done wrong. You are a good magician when you accomplish the Great Work, whatever that means to you.

Crowley can be useful in that pursuit for some people some of the time in accomplishing some things. There can be value in understanding what Crowley got wrong, but if that's all you see when you look at his Work, you're missing out on everything he got right...

And I'd suggest your time would be better spent pursuing something else.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Pharos Mercury Talismans!

As mentioned, the Pharos Mercury talismans are available! It's your chance to get something that will counter those nasty Mercury Retrograde effects that plague us three times a year.

Getting the pics of these talismans was difficult, I suspect in part due to their mercurial nature, and the Rx didn't help. They are beautiful in real life.

Pharos is also going to be creating the silken cloth wrap suggested by the Key of Solomon for each person that buys one, but the silk won't be ready to ship until after July 1. You'll get the talismans first, though, along with a "Working with the Key of Solomon Talismans" guide I'm writing, an expanded version of the methods of operation I posted with the Venus talismans.

We have six talismans available. All were made on good elections, and finding a good election for the planetary hour and planetary day that line up with the instructions from the Key of Solomon isn't easy. We won't be able to make things with additional astrological graces like this until next year, for the Mercury talismans.

Four of them are on 2" silver disks, and were created when Mercury was direct, and dignified by sign and term (Pharos says they score a +7 for the election, if I understand right).

Two of them are on disks measuring 1 7/8" across, and were made when Mercury was direct, and dignified by sign and face (Pharos says they score a +6 for this election, again, assuming I understand right).

Please don't ask me what that means. Pharos is the brains when it comes to the astrological values. All I know for sure is that these talismans have the regular value of being made in the appropriate hour of the appropriate day by the Key of Solomon, plus the added virtue of being made at beneficial election times. What this means is that they will be more effective in your use of them for Mercurial manifestations.

We have the following available (note, if you get a "sold out" page when you try to buy them, someone beat you to it):

The "Miracle Maker"

This is the Second Pentacle of Mercury, which will "serve to bring to effect and to grant things which are contrary unto the order of Nature; and which are not contained under any other head." We have one on a 1 7/8" disc with a +6 election that costs $325. We have another on a 2" disc with a +7 election that costs $375.

I really wanted to keep one of these for myself, but I can make them myself, and the main reason I sell these things is so that people who aren't comfortable making them themselves can benefit from the results, so ... sigh. The things I do for you people.

The "Key to the Universe"

This is the Fourth Pentacle of Mercury, which is "proper to acquire the understanding and knowledge of all things created, and to seek out and penetrate into hidden things; and to command those spirits which are called Allatori to perform embassies." We have only one, on a 2" silver disc with a +7 election.

This talisman is extremely potent without the election, and is something every magician should have in their repertoire in my humble opinion. I mean, come on, you get to know ALL THINGS CREATED. Why we don't sell more of these at the regular price is beyond me. The spirits of this pentacle are adept at revealing information sources, providing insights, and making the kinds of connections that lead to the AHA! moments that make this magic stuff so fun and useful. This talisman is priced at $525.

The "Opener of Ways"

This is the Fifth Pentacle of Mercury, which "serveth to open doors in whatever way they may be closed, and nothing it may encounter can resist it." This talisman seems to be used by a lot of my clients to "open" relationship opportunities with people who are, for whatever reason, unwilling to start a new relationship with the client. It's also incredibly useful with cases in probate, for some reason. Any situation that's stuck falls before its influence, in my experience.

We have three of these available, one on a 1 7/8" silver disc with a +6 election that costs $325. We have another two on a 2" disc with a +7 election that costs $375.

Recap and Purchasing

Each talisman includes the silk cloth recommended by the Key of Solomon, which will be available after July 1, and the "Working with the Key of Solomon Pentacles" guide I'm writing. Talismans will be shipped separately from the silk cloths due to the delay in getting them produced.

Please select the talisman of your choice from the drop-down below, and again, if you try to buy it and it's already sold, you'll be taken to a "sold out" page, and you'll have to re-evaluate your selections.



Select the Pentacle from the following list:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Seven Spheres and Black Work Course Reminder

A reminder, if you're interested in joining the upcoming Seven Spheres live courses, purchase them here by Friday:


If you're interested in signing up for the Black Work course, use this button to buy the course AND the live lessons:


And if you're already a member, check your email for the "Black Work Live Only" purchase link to get signed up for the live lessons.

I'll be doing the courses live using gotomeeting, and will be sending out an email to people who have purchased the courses with a link to join the broadcast on Saturday morning.

All classes will be recorded and transfered to a private Youtube channel. I'll send out the links to the recorded sessions as the courses are converted in case you miss them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tips for Getting a Tech Job

Alright, so the last post generated some good conversations about the things Millenials are facing that we crusty old Gen-Xers couldn't possibly understand. It turns out, life is hard. And you don't get to do what you want.

It's ... It's just so hard, you know?

And also, there are like 10 times as many people competing for the shitty entry-level jobs than I had to deal with, and it's a different world. So I'll put away my snark and talk turkey and maybe help some people instead of making fun of them.

Nota Bene: The following tips are entirely about finding work in the technical industry of the United States. It should be noted this is a US-centric post. I live here, I work here, I've worked here all my life. These tips might be able to be adapted to other cultures, but they might not work that way at all in the many, many places I've never been.

I should probably also mention I'm a good-looking able-bodied white male in my 40s overflowing with self-confidence and charisma. I have a midwestern accent that makes people trust me subconsciously, and I've played this game for years. I know the keywords to say in the interview to look like I'm what they need for the job, and I play on that without remorse.

In other words, I have some native characteristics that, frankly, make the things I'm going to talk about a lot easier for me than if I were a woman, or if I had an appreciable amount of melanin in my system. This shit I'm about to lay on you will not work for everyone, and it's not fair, and I get that. I'm not saying you have to be a white American man to get a benefit from these tips, but you should totally take that into account when looking for ways to apply this stuff to your situation.

On with the tippage!

First things first: Know What the Tech Industry Does

The technical industry in the United States is based on hardware and software solution development. The key word is "solution." Solutions are not necessary when things are cool and working well. Solutions are about solving problems.

All projects that pay techies money are designed to solve a problem. You must understand this fundamentally before you even consider applying for a tech job. There will be problems, and you will be working with a team to come up with a solution. If you don't want a job with problems, the tech industry is not for you. Some might say "jobs" are also not for you, but not someone who has put their snark away, that's for sure.

All solutions, whether hardware or software based, have two basic phases. In the first phase, the solution is developed. In the second phase, the developed solution is released to the people whose problems are being solved. Solutions are the "products" created by techies.

When the solution is being developed, it is generally referred to as being "in development." When it is released to the users, it is generally referred to as being "in production." This is because the second word in Technical Industry is still Industry, and the industrial revolution has shaped how we think about what work is all about. Most of the shit we do is shaped by 19th century thinking. Never forget that, because otherwise you'll never understand why you have to go to a building to do a job you literally use laptops for that you can do from home over the internet in the 21st century.

The Development Lifecycle

The development of a successful solution follows a process. This process is called the "development lifecycle." All development lifecycles will consist of gathering requirements, developing a product that meets those requirements, testing the product, deploying the product, and training the users.

People have been documenting different ways to approach the development lifecycle for years and years. Wikipedia is an excellent resource to learn the differences between approaches. You want to look up things like RUP, Waterfall, and Agile. Agile development is really popular right now, because it sounds like it's flexible and efficient and it promises to pump out solutions quickly, without spending a lot of time on things like ... documentation.

If you know anything about Total Quality Management from the 1980s, try really hard not to mention to anyone telling you about the latest form of development being implemented at your company, "Oh, it's TQM in different words! Why not just call it TQM?" They will give you the hairy eyeball, and pass you over for promotions.

Keeping silent is a big part of being a Techie.

Besides, it doesn't matter what form of development your company is using. No one follows the prescribed processes literally anyway. It's really more of a set of guiding principles. The only time you'll need to know anything about these phases is when you're being interviewed, because HR and Management tend to think everyone is actually using the techniques they spent so much money implementing to improve the design process.

Wikipedia will tell you all the right buzzwords, but remember, it's just gathering requirements, developing the product that meets the requirements, testing it to prove it works, deployment, and training users. Common sense, when you think about it.

Requirements

Identifying the requirements is the most important part of the process. Requirements give you a list of things the product has to be able to do. They tell the developers what to develop. They give you a list of things to test when you're done developing. They give you a list of things to document, and an outline for your training presentation. They guide the entire development process, and ensure the users end up with what they actually need to solve their problems, instead of yet another thing that doesn't work.

Requirements development also takes place in phases. You may begin to see a trend here. Pay no attention to the phase trend, the trend seeing phase is just a phase. You'll soon get tired of seeing trends, and move on to the next phase, apathy. But let's get back to the first phase of requirements generation.

The first set of requirements is created by the Project Manager and the Business Lead. The Business Lead is a middle-level manager ("Vice President") who is either directly or indirectly faced with the business problem that requires the technical solution. The Project Manager is in charge of interviewing the Business Lead, identifying the things that the product should do, and creating a list of these requirements. This list is called the "Business Requirements," and it is reviewed and approved by the Business Lead. In well-run organizations, the Business Requirements are numbered to enable you to track each aspect of development, testing, and deployment to one of the Business Requirements.

The Project Manager then takes the list of Business Requirements to the Technical Lead. Together they take the input from the Business Lead and identify ways a technical solution can meet the business requirements. They translate the stupid vaporous general requests from the Business Lead into technical language that a developer can understand. This becomes the "Detailed Requirements" or "Technical Specifications." Any similarities between the Business Requirements and the Technical Requirements beyond the numbers is purely coincidental, and probably indicates the ink on the Project Manager's PMI Certification is still warm from the laser printer.

The Technical Lead then takes this list to the Developers, and may send a copy to the Quality Assurance (QA) team that will be responsible for testing the product before deploying the product.

Project Managers usually spend a great deal of time developing Change Control Procedures to ensure that any changes to the requirements are documented, discussed, and distributed to all team members regularly. Meetings are held weekly for approximately one week, at which point all changes to requirements are documented in emails between the Business Lead and Project Managers. Sometimes they let the developers and testers know about these changes, but usually not until after the previous version of requirements has been met.

Product Development

Developing the product or code that meets the requirements is the next step. Products are considered "in development" when the requirements have been turned over to the developers, and they begin to create the product that meets the Technical requirements in an attempt to solve the problem the Project Managers understood the Business Leads to have, which may or may not be related to the actual end-users' experience, interest, or job description.

IT Products are developed in a "Development Environment." This refers to a simulated mockery of the systems, resources, data, and equipment that the end user will be expected to have at their fingertips while using the product. Note: The end user will access the product in a "Production Environment." The Development Environment will resemble the Production Environment in exactly the same way as the Technical Requirements resemble the Business Requirements. Any similarities are highly discouraged and will be noted as a waste of resources during the Budget Planning phase in the third quarter of the fiscal year.

The bulk of "development" is usually done the morning of the release, to the angst and chagrin of the testers, trainers, and ultimately the end users, though they usually don't know why the products aren't doing what they are supposed to do. This is known as a "production issue."

Developers: Some Notes

To understand the development process, some attention should be paid to the actual developers. They are a rare breed. They are highly trained in using Google to look up code snippets that sort of do what they think the Technical Requirements are talking about, and are therefore very expensive. Due to their high price tag, no project actually hires enough developers to code their project, which tends to put them under a great deal of pressure to develop working code in impossible time frames, leaving them cranky and bitter.

Because they are often under a lot of pressure and time constraints, Developers can't be bothered to use whole words, unless it confuses their audience. For example, they will refer to the Development and Production environments as "Dev" and "Prod." They will use inappropriate acronyms to refer to every part of their project, often in ways that make obscure references to science fiction plots written by Joss Whedon and Stephen Moffet that no one gets but themselves.

The stereotype of the code monkey who runs on various forms of caffienated products and Cheetos is demeaning and rude. Do not bring them Mountain Dew and Cheetos and expect them to be pleased, or to get your project bumped up in priority. They are bitter, angry and far too strung out on caffeine and undernourished as a result of their Cheeto, Ramen, and Pocky based diet to even think it's funny. But leave the Mountain Dew and Cheetos anyway.

Testing

While the Dev team is working on the code, the Quality Assurance (QA) team is putting together the Testing materials. These consist of a Test Plan, Test Cases, and Use Cases. The Test Plan discusses how testing will be done, and identifies the process of pointing out the Developers have totally missed the point of the Requirements. This document is then sent to all members of the Project. Next they develop Test Cases, Use Cases, and occasionally the Test Scripts. These artifacts are designed to list all the steps that are necessary to see if the Requirements are being met.

When the Developers are finished creating the code to (ha ha) spec, they load it into a Test Environment that is somewhere between the Dev and Prod Environments. Theoretically, the Test Environment is an exact duplicate of the Prod environment, but that costs a lot of money and, in Health Care and Banking industries, breaks several laws and exposes the corporate executives to "Risk."

Risk is bad, and several organizations have "Risk Managers" who create mitigation controls and policies that usually turn into mandatory training videos that have to be taken on a quarterly basis. To all tech workers lower than middle management, these are known collectively as "A Huge Fucking Waste of Time."

When the code is loaded to the Test Environment, the QA department pretends they are the Users, and checks to see if the product does what they think the product is supposed to do based on the conflicting documentation they received from the Technical Lead and the Business Lead. When it doesn't work, they write up "Bug" descriptions and submit them to the Dev team. If the Dev team is not ingenuous enough to find a way to blame the QA team for testing the product wrong, they are forced to "fix" the code and redeploy it to the Test environment.

This process repeats until the code does what the QA test says it's supposed to do, or until the Technical Lead changes the Requirements to match the code.

QA teams are notorious for complaining about how the Business Requirements don't match the Technical Requirements, and that the Dev and Test environments don't match Production, and that deploying the code will probably break all the dependent processes on the network.

Nobody likes the QA department.

Training

When QA has determined the product has passed all the requirements, or have quit in disgust and gone on to other companies that promise this time it will be different, it's time to unveil the finished product to the Users, and teach them how the product will solve their business problem. This is usually done at a "Brown Bag Session," at which you are expected to bring your lunch to the conference room and eat quietly while you're being trained so you don't lose production time.

Training is based on the requirements documentation, and includes step-by-step instructions in how to use the product to perform each task represented by each requirement. Screenshots of the software are often included, but are usually based on early Dev works in process, and bear more resemblance to PowerPoint mockups than anything the user will ultimately see.

By the time the product has made it through development and testing, it seldom resembles anything even remotely related to anything the target audience actually does on a daily basis. Users are surprisingly not interested in learning new ways to do things that do not actually solve any problems, and so have few questions when the last slide is presented.

That is ok, as you will see when we get to the Production Phase.

Deployment

After the product has been developed and tested, and the users have been trained, the product itself is released into Production. This process is a cleverly orchestrated routine led by the few technical people in the organization that understand how computers really work.

This is the only process that regularly goes well, and chances are it's because the system administrators (don't worry, if you're not one it doesn't matter if you know what they do; think of them as wizards who make everything better because they can tell management "no, computers don't do that" and are not fired) have set up a sequestered part of the network where the stitched-together shambling corpse of a product can be dumped without it infecting anything else.

The Production Phase

After products have been deployed, they are considered to be "in production." This does not mean they are being used, it simply means they are not being developed or tested at the moment.

The first few weeks after deployment are exciting times. The Project Manager, Business, and Technical Leads have all been assigned new projects, and the product maintenance has been dumped on someone's lap while they were on vacation. As a result, no one really knows who to contact if something goes wrong.

The Development team can't wait to hear how great their product is at solving the business problem. The remnants of the QA team can't wait to see the product fail miserably. The Users are all hoping no one really expected them to be paying attention at training.

Eventually, however, someone tries to use the product. This begins the Product Maintenance cycle. Typically, a User tries to Use the Product, and it Doesn't Work. They then contact the Help Desk, who have never even heard of that Product before. They begin the task of tracking down the Product, its developers, and the primary support contact, who has since gotten back from vacation.

The Support Contact is usually not in a very good mood. They have usually spent less time familiarizing themselves with the new product than they have spent trying to get the product to be someone else's responsibility, but everyone else has hidden their vacation schedules from the shared calendar. As a result, when a User finally gets through to them, they are surly, confused, and not very happy. The User attempts to explain what the product is, what it's supposed to do, and what aspect of that is not working.

The Support Contact then tracks down the Business and Technical Leads, who direct him hastily to the development team member who worked on the project before getting back to their current priority project. Eventually the User gets to speak with the Developer, who finally gets to see what the problem really is, and how to fix it. They then contact one of their friends in QA, explain what it's supposed to actually do, and let them know they need it tested. The QA person contacts the User and asks them to make sure the product does what it's supposed to. Everyone signs off on it, and the updated version is released to production.

This may repeat as additional features are accessed by the User.

Ok, so ... you said Tips and ... something something Tech Jobs?

Well noted, awesome reader, you remembered! Also, well done reading this much in one sitting. Please comment "gloat" on FaceBook's comments to claim your gloat prize, which is the warm feeling you get from being in on the joke.

Vocabulary Matters

I didn't think the overview of the Tech Industry in America would take so damned long, but really understanding this thing is key to getting these jobs. You need to get the vocabulary that will get you hired, and to get the vocab, you need to understand the process of tech projects. Google software development lifecycle (SDLC) and read all the Wikipedia results you find, click links to specific types. Study Agile, RUP, Waterfall. Know them well, and learn the keywords.

Pepper your resume with keywords from each phase of development. Design, architect, develop, requirements, testing, QA/QC, monitoring and control, etc. Sound like you know what you're talking about, tell the story in your resume about how you know this shit like the back of your hand. This is going to get you into the interview.

Show at least two years of relevant experience in each phase of development on your resume. If you can't make your actual experience sound like SDLC phases, study SDLC more and get creative interpreting your old jobs or college projects. You've done all that shit at some point, you just didn't realize you were doing it. Just make sure your references will back you up on anything you claim you did.

As you can see, the Tech Industry is a mess. As a result, there is a high turnover rate. This results in a lot of pretty good-paying jobs almost always being open somewhere, often somewhere nearby. Most companies go through temp staffing agencies. Most tech temp staffing agencies use Dice.com to find potential matches. Most jobs are not posted to Dice. Don't bother applying to posted jobs, spend your time reviewing job requirements for common keywords, and making sure those are in your resume. Update your resume and your profile on Dice, and let the recruiters contact you. Update your resume on Dice daily, so it always shows up in the "just updated" list. All you have to do is make one change to the resume and save it an upload it to get to the top of the line.

Don't work with any contracting company whose representative's accent is so bad you can't understand it. Only go with contracting companies who represent direct clients. The fewer parasites between you and the people you're working with, the more money you get to keep.

Always ask for $100 an hour when they ask what you're looking to make. They'll laugh. Don't laugh with them. Wait a sec, then ask what they were looking to pay. They get serious then. Whatever they say, you say you were looking to make $10 more an hour. They'll come back with something more serious, and you can take that, as long as they pay overtime. If they don't pay overtime, get no less than $5 more an hour than what they offered, and say the magic word "firm." They'll say, "I'll submit you at that, but it's a little high, will you be open to negotiating if they come back with something lower?" You'll say, no, that's my rate, and they'll come back with something less anyway. They always do. At that point, tell them you'll interview and discuss rates after if you like the job.

Study the job req, and grill the representative. Ask what they know about the job, get as many details as you can so you can build your story for the interview. If your resume doesn't have the keywords of the job description, add them, and then update your resume online and with the recruiter.

Interviewing

Go in a suit. Look better than they do. If they say something implying you're overdressed, smile big and say, "of course I overdressed, I want to get an offer here!" No commitment, and they'll laugh, and see you're ambitious.

Look at them. Keep a blank expression when they are speaking, but make eye contact, or watch their lips while they speak. Show attentiveness, but let them project their desires onto you. Reflect their desires. Don't laugh unless they do first.

Let them ask a couple questions, nod a bit, answer them using the keywords from your research and their job requirements at a really high level, then say something like, "But what is it you're looking for now? What's the project?" Then let them tell you everything they want to hear.

Smile when they say something you recognize, wrinkle your forehead when they say something is stressful, or if they aren't being clear in their description of the project.

Interview them. You need to know what SDLC they use, where they're at in the project lifecycle, how many resources are assigned, and what they expect you to do. You need to know who the users or audience are going to be. You need to know deadlines, constraints, and if there are any potential roadblocks.

Nod and go, "mhmm" when they answer.

If you really understand what I wrote about above, you'll be able to turn the interview around. If they are concerned about your experience, tell them what you haven't done you'll Google. Tech jobs almost always consist of being really good at using Google to find other people who solved similar solutions and posted it publicly so everyone can see how cool they are. Your interviewers are doing this too, they'll want to know you know how to do that.

If they ask about a certification, tell them you're thinking about getting one. Know which MSDN certification applies to your job before you go, and be ready to say you were looking at it, but aren't sure the value of the cert is worth the money it costs when you've been doing this for so long anyway.

Specialize Generally

Be really good at a lot of things. Know the whole cycle, intimately. Every time someone at your new job asks you to do something new, smile and say yes early in your career. Do the shit work cheerfully. Learn something about process flows, spreadsheets, word documents, database management, and SQL queries. Learn how to code a web site in HTML, be able to put text and graphics together in meaningful ways as soon as possible.

Experiment with every program you're given to use. Explore tool bars and hidden menus. Lookup keyboard shortcuts. You never know when being able to right-click will make you look awesome.

Being familiar with everything is great, but eventually you'll want to start to specialize. Pick a niche and go with it. Microsoft products are used everywhere, and if you know how to code in VBA, you can do amazing things with it, for example. Get certified when you can afford it.

Aim Realistically

Starting from scratch, you won't make 6 figures. Figure you'll make $35-50k a year your first three years, tops. After 5, you should be making 50-65k regularly. After 10, over 6 figures. If you're not, you didn't specialize enough. Data architecture is easy, and ubiquitous, and it pays well. Specialize in that if you haven't picked something by now.

Be Positive for Positive Results

Smile a lot. Don't complain or engage in the snark I did above, except at lunch when no one can hear you. Don't bitch, don't backstab, don't complain. Show up on time to work, leave your personal problems at the door, and don't be dramatic. Be agreeable. Do your best. Be calm under pressure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Everything I Know about Jobs is Apparently Wrong?

I saw the video below this morning, and I realized that people must be growing up and moving out into a totally different world than I did in my twenties.


I hitch-hiked across the country in 1994 or 1995, and basically I stayed in shelters, or slept in a one-person tent I'd pitch alongside the highway. When I needed money, I'd ask the shelter management where the day-labor place was and show up there at 4:00 AM, work 10 hours, and get a check for $35 (after taxes and check cashing fees) that night. I did that a couple weeks with a friend, and we made enough money to get a room at a weekly apartment place, where I was able to shower regularly.

We ate ramen, and got nicer clothes at Goodwill. I went to ManPower and they tested my skills with Microsoft Office, and certified me as a "Master" because I knew how to use the right-click button to open a menu and find the things I needed to insert pictures and fonts and things. With that I qualified for better paying positions. I showed up daily, I did my work, and I smiled a lot. I used that technique to get hired full time, and eventually to become a Tech Writer, where I learned a lot of stuff about SharePoint, and now I get over 6 figures a year to do some pretty advanced stuff that I picked up along the way.

But apparently, this path is somehow gone. Millenials can't find work? I don't get it. At my current job, we hire people through temporary staffing agencies, and if they do good work and have a pleasant personality, we hire them full time. That's how it's been my whole career. How is this not working anymore?

Don't people expect to have shitty jobs until they're in their thirties? Don't people get apartments with their friends until they can afford something better? Isn't that ... normal? What the hell happened?

I secretly suspect people just don't want to go through the processes that are in place in our society to get a good paying job. I know I'm basically saying, "kids today..." but seriously, is it that hard? Am I missing something here? It's hard, it's annoying, it's boring, and it doesn't pay well. You have to put up with bullshit and smile the whole time, even when you don't want to. Is that what people are complaining about?

Someone help me out, things aren't making sense here.

If this is the attitude people are bringing to the table, they aren't going to be very happy with how magic works either.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Black Work Live Classes

In addition to the Seven Spheres courses, I'm going to be running live lessons on the Black Work. See the following link for more information:


These live classes will also be available on the web. They will take place on Saturdays, and will last for a couple of hours, or until I'm done. I tend to talk a lot about this stuff. 

I don't know how many weeks it will take to get through the lessons, but it shouldn't take more than two or three weeks, total. "Shouldn't." 

But you never know.

Classes will begin Saturday, May 30 at 2:00 PM Central. I may or may not be able to have class on the 6th due to a scheduled initiation, but if not, it will continue on the 13th.

Seven Spheres Course Schedule

First, if you haven't signed up yet, here's where you go to buy the book and sign up for the class:


There are plenty of seats left for this session. You must be signed up by this coming Saturday to take part in this set of classes. If you don't sign up now, no worries, I'll be doing this every couple months or so going forward. I've lifted the limit to 50 people because so many people end up viewing the recorded versions later.

Courses will begin on Sundays at 2:00 P.M. Central time. I'm going to do these in two-hour increments with a break in between so this doesn't take two months per session.

The schedule is as follows:

  • May 31 - Intro and Overview 
  • June 7 - Jupiter & Mars
  • June 14 - The Sun & Venus
  • June 21 - Mercury & the Moon
  • June 28 - Saturn & "On Kingdom Management"
The Intro & Overview will take a while. I go over the basics of the course, the underlying philosophy of the Seven Spheres book, the intent behind the Work described, and the actual conjuration method.

Each session will be recorded and posted to a private YouTube channel for future viewing if you can't make it.

I'm looking forward to running these things, the last time it was a blast!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coming Soon...

I've got a few blog posts started that I can't publish yet, but I'm excited about what's coming and I don't feel like waiting. I'll be making full announcements soon, but here's the basics:

Courses:

We're FINALLY going to be starting the LIVE Seven Spheres course and the Black Work courses. I wanted to start them this weekend, but I would have had to make the announcement last week to give everyone time to schedule things properly. This weekend I'll post the schedule for the live courses, and let everyone know what's going on.

Talismans:

I've been working with Pharos, a fellow Hermetic magician on the Key of Solomon talismans, and we've got a small inventory of Mercury and Venus talismans and talismanic artifacts that I can't wait to announce! These were made during the last really good Mercury and Venus elections for the next year or so, so they'll have the regular awesome juju of the Key Pentacles with the added juju of the astrological virtues of the electional times!

Special election versions of the Opener of the Ways, Miracle Maker, Key to the Universe, Come to Me, and Graceful Desires talismans are going to be available to a very few lucky folks soon. Pharos is also working on some innovative ways to wear these items inconspicuously that I'm excited about. We're also working on a set of Solar talismans to be announced.

Super cool stuff coming your way in the talisman department.

Books:

I'm working on my Modern Goetic Grimoire, turning it into a magnum opus of grimoire-based easy-to-use Goetia. It's going excruciatingly slowly, and I keep getting distracted by all the other cool stuff going on.

I'm also putting together a "Working with the Key of Solomon Pentacles" booklet that will go with the talismans, including ways to tap their power casually, as well as a formal conjuration expanded from the description on the talismans page.

On Tour:

I'm working on speaking engagements across the country. I'll be at SOMA's shindig in Austin, Texas, Omnimancer's Crucible in Jersey, and at Azul Nox in Pennsylvania, Seven Gates in Kentucky, and Sword and Serpent in Dayton. Dates are still to be announced on a lot of these things, but it sure looks like a lot of fun. Hopefully I can get Moloch to speak with me in Ohio. That would be awesome. I'm also putting together some events for Minneapolis, so local folks, stay tuned!

Hangouts/Podcasts:

I've got another Whiskey Discussion in the works with Master Slee, and I'm going to try to get some Hawk and Jackal folks together to talk about some of the magic put together by Ebony Anpu back in the day.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to Memorize Lots of Words for Rites and from Holy Books

When I was a kid, my mom enrolled me and my sister in a summer local Bible Olympics thing in Oklahoma. All summer we would travel and answer Bible trivia questions against other teams from other churches in the local counties. My sister and I kicked their fucking asses every time. Pathetic nominal hose beasts that they were.

One of the things they had was a scripture memorization contest. We had to memorize verses, and recite them to someone in our church. Whoever memorized the most got a Bible with their name embossed on the cover.

And you better fucking believe I walked away with a Bible with my name on it.

The other first-place-level prize was a board game based on CS Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader. My older sister won that. We tied for first, and she already had her own Bible, which she had taken to school to show her teacher why we weren't actually descended from fish because we share some eye parts. We swept the contests, mostly because my mom was like UBER BIBLE BITCH.

In all the best ways.

She taught us how to memorize things in a great way. She bought a roll of butcher block paper, and wrote out the verses we were memorizing in multi-colored magic marker, and hung it on the walls of our dining room, kitchen, and living room. We spent time each night memorizing and reciting, memorizing and reciting, with the sole goal being the utter humiliation of the local backwater nominal Christian teens of Hennessey and Crescent Counties at 11 and 13.

To this day my mom feels bad about how harsh we skunked those illiterate bastards. LOL!

So these days, I'm in the A.'.A.'., and part of the curriculum incudes memorizing vast swaths of the Thelemic Holy Books. Doing so is a LIFECHANGING event, and everyone should totally do it, because they that seal up the book into their blood are the chosen of Adonai, and the Thought of Adonai becomes a Word and a Deed; and they abide in the Land that the far-off travellers call Naught.

It's pretty freakin' cool.

Even if you're not a Thelemite, memorizing rites is important. When you really know the words, you can say the words without interruption, and when they are a part of you, you can focus on what they mean, what they represent in ways you just can't do when you're reading a printed script. Memorization is BAD ASS.

But it's hard.

Fortunately there are tricks. The  next sections are about how to memorize stupid amounts of text so you can be a boss magician without getting in your own way with your stupid uh, uhm, uh stuttering through the rites. 

And also, you look amazing doing rites from memory. Scott Stenwick and Michele Montserrat primarily led a series of rites at the lodge around the time we celebrated the Writing of the Book of the Law at the Lodge, and they totally knew their shit, performed it 99% from memory, and it was super effective in setting the tone and the vibration of the temple space. Memorization matters so much.

For Liber LXV, I broke the chapter I chose to memorize into sections of related verses. Each section told an aspect of the story. Break your text up into related lines, and put them together. Our human brains love stories. A really pure argument can be made that all magic is the art of telling stories to the spirits that make things happen. By memorizing all the different stories of the chapter, all I had to remember when it was time to present it was the order in which the stories went. Be creative in your story-naming when you break things up, I had a section called "the prophet sucks" for a reason. You remember that kind of thing.

Harper (my LOVELY fiance) also recorded herself reading the chapter using Audacity. She and her son put together a mix of various sounds they recorded one afternoon (bells and bottles are awesome), and we downloaded some drum loops, and I listened to that for months while I worked out. I knew the rythym, I knew her voice, and when I presented my recitation, I heard her speaking with me every word. Totally awesome, not feeling alone when you're reciting your memorized lines.

She also put stuff we were memorizing up in the shower on the door so we could see it every day. Reminded me of the butcher block paper on the walls in my youth. It works.

But the most effective thing for me was writing it out line by line, and grinding through each word. I'd take a section and write out the lines in a pad of lined paper. Then I'd read the first line, and say it out loud with my eyes closed, as best I could without cheating, glancing until I had it perfect. Then I'd move to the next line, and start with the first line, adding on line by line, saying the whole thing each time. By the time I recited my verses, I'd said "Ah, my lord Adonai" about a million times.

It's not easy. At first I couldn't do two lines a day. But it gets better. By the end I was memorizing about 12 lines a day, like a machine. My brain softened up, and it opened up, and the words sank in, in a totally good way. The trick is not giving up, not giving in to the "I can't..." bullshit you try to claim on the way. It was do it, or don't move on, so I did it, and I rocked it hard core.

So, you've got a lot of shit to memorize. Here's how to do it:
  • Break it into sections.
  • Write it on paper, post it on walls/showers/mirrors.
  • Memorize it line by line. 
  • Grind it out.
  • Meanwhile, record it and listen to it daily in the background.
  • Don't stop when you feel like you can't. You can.
  • Pace with the pad with the lines in your hand, and cuss a lot when you fuck it up until it's perfect.

The last one I didn't mention in the post before, but let's be real. "FUCK FUCK FUCK, GOD DAMN IT, as FUCKING Ra that gathereth his FUCKING clouds about Him at eventide into a molten sea of FUCKING Joy" might have resounded through the house a time or three.

When all is said and done, you'll know something other people don't, and you'll feel good, and honestly, it's a mystery what it does to you to memorize that crap. You'll NEVER regret the time you spend putting ritual into your brain, I promise.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It's none of my business, but...

In case you hadn't noticed, I just wanted to point out that you're doing great. The things that have happened lately can be kinda worrisome, sure, but you personally, you've been doing a lot of growing up. And don't think I haven't noticed. We all have.

That's something I wanted to write on a friend's wall on FaceBook this morning. Hm, do they still have walls? I think it's timelines now. Shit. The olds are catching up to me.

Anyway, part of me was like, dude, you're being a prick, don't write that. He knows he's awesome and doesn't need your approval. And part of me was like, so, fuck you, I think he's awesome and I'd love to hear it if I were being awesome. So I wrote something along those lines anyway and hit the post it button, and other people agreed. I hope it  was cool and not received like I'm being patronizing, but I also wouldn't mind being this guy's patron, because you look at him and know he's going to go far and being able to claim some kind of involvement in his Work will one day be a good thing to have on one's resume. Like Trithemius. I'd be cool with being a Trithemius. "Trained awesome magi" is a pretty sweet epithet.

But for the rest of you who I don't interact with as much, if you're doing the Work (and I get all kinds of reports in from people who have done Seven Spheres lately that are all, "OMG, AWESOME!", so I know you're out there), I just wanted to take a minute and say,

You're Doing Great!

Keep up the Work. You're better than you were, and people can tell. Don't stop what you've been doing, and look for what comes next, it just gets better! Folks who went from looking at you and seeing a fellow sufferer in the world's bullshit might not be equipped to mention to you that you've left them behind and are now sort of an inspiration, and also a bit of a mentor, but believe me, they are looking at you and feeling that thing, without being able to put it into words!

No Pressure
So be cool about it, and don't let it go to your head, but start taking steps with more intent publicly, everything you're doing has become a seed as a result of your recent attainments, and all the seeds you plant are going to grow (The LORD is with you, as you grow up, and will let none of your words fall to the ground).

Abrahadabra, man! It's meaningful.

And...

Hell yea! Carry on with the onward, and the upward.

Love,

RO

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On Class Schedules

I am working on putting together the class schedules for the next Seven Spheres and the Black Work sessions. Sorry it's been delayed, I had some stuff come up that required my attntion the last couple of weeks and I lost track of some things. I'll be getting that scheduled here shortly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Solomonic Magic Conference this Saturday

From www.Esotericarchives.com
This Saturday, come to Leaping Laughter Lodge to see Joseph Peterson, Scott Stenwick, and yours truly speaking on our favorite aspects of Solomonic Magic. Joseph will be speaking on the History of Goetia, Scott will be speaking on his latest explorations of Enochian Magic, and I'll be presenting on the practical application of grimoire magic in your daily life.

I believe Joseph and Scott will be bringing copies of their latest books to sign and sell, and I know I will.

The event will be eld at Leaping Laughter Lodge, 3107 California Street NE, Minneapolis MN 55418. It begins at 1:00 p.m. central with Scott Stenwick's presentation on Enochian Magic. I'll be following his talk around 2:30, and for the grand finale, Joseph will begin around 4:00. We're each planning on speaking an hour or so, with time left over for questions and answers.

So, chances are good thast you're aware I've been referring to Joseph Peterson's web site, www.Esotericarchives.com for years. Everything I teach is based on the materials he offers for free. I found Art of Drawing Spritis into Crystals there, and that's become the foundational conjruation approach I use for everything. He's got the Lemegeton, the Greater Key, every grimore you could ask for, and notes on the various manuscripts they are based on. He's got copies of Iamblichus, writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, and nearly everything Agrippa ever wrote or was attributed to him. It is the very best place on the web to go for actual solomonic scholarship, and Joseph Peterson is the foremost authority on Solomonic magic I know.

I mean, guys, everything I got into in Hermetics is at Joseph's site, and I'm secretly giddy with fanboy joy that I finally get to meet him and present with him in public. So honored!

Snacks will be available, and of course wine for those over 21. We're asking for a minimum $10 donation, unless you're a dues current lodge member. I personally argued that we should be charging $45, at LEAST to get in, but I was outvoted.

So, $10 "suggested donation" it is, and I will not tell you what I think about you if that's all you'd pay for something this awesome.

For more information check out the following links:

On Facebook
On Google Calendar

Friday, March 27, 2015

How to REALLY be Ready to do Seven Spheres in Seven Days

TL/DR: I'm going to be doing live broadcasts for each of the Course Lessons, sign up at the link at the bottom of the page!

For the rest of you with patience and attention spans: 

Getting the Most out of the RO Approach to Hermetic Magic

In the last post about doing Seven Spheres in Seven Days, I talked about the mistakes I made in setting up a public group to do the SSiSD, but I've been thinking more about getting people properly prepared to be actual magicians like me.

I tend to assume that anyone who purchases my books does so because they know me and have been reading my blog for years, and they think I'm awesome as a result of watching all the shit I've been through as I learned how to use Hermetic Magic to make my life amazing. I've been blogging here for ... shit, going on nine years now. I started soon after attaining K&CHGA and right around the time I got to working through Agrippa and started using the Trithemian approach*  to conjuring spirits.

As a result of this assumption, I expect people who buy Seven Spheres to have a really thorough understanding of the Hermetic Cosmology, who they are, why they're here, what they are supposed to be doing with their existences, and the proper application of the Great Work to their lives. I went through all that shit in great detail as I went through the process of getting here today, and I just assume if you're doing what I'm doing, you've been through what I've been through.

But the thing is, you haven't. Most of you, anyway. A whole bunch of people have bought my book and have none of the background education, framework, and experience to actually perform the work effectively, and that concerns me.

I laid out the basic process of what you should do to integrate the forces you can contact with Seven Spheres in the last post, but really, that's not likely going to be enough to get you the fullness of the potential experiences off the bat. You really need to understand the Hermetic Theology and Soteriology that forms the core of the book to use it effectively. 

Don't get me wrong, though. Using the book will lead you to this understanding, but it will take you there via the bumpy and sometimes rough road of gnosis, the school of hard knocks. There's nothing wrong with that, for sure, I went through it and came out great, and eventually you'll reach the appropriate conclusions you'll need to reach in your path. That's just how the magic thing works.

But I spent a long time, about two years, coming up with a shortcut for people so they wouldn't have to go through and make a bunch of mistakes getting to the point where I'm at now. Or at least, not the same mistakes I made. I put together a series of courses that teach the principles of Hermetic Magic that I learned and use in my Work. These are the Red Work Series of Courses.

The Red Work Series of Courses

This series of courses are based on my understanding of the phases of the Alchemical transformational processes of the Great Work. The alchemists took some fundamentally flawed base material, subjected it to a series of refinements, or chemical processes, and when completed had a purified final form. Think of refining gold from ore. You get the ore-containing stone, you put it through a series of heat-based or chemical based processes in a particular order, and when complete you have extracted the pure gold. 

A similar series of processes was postulated for the spiritual refinement of human beings. The process became known as the Great Work. You start with a human being as the prime material, you go through various stages of the Work, and you come out refined and purified, able to reach your true potential, and able to project healing and longevity into the world around you. 

The phases of the Great Work began with the Black Work, in which you cooked the Prime Material, or let it decompose, and it turned black. The base impurities of the substance rose to the surface, and the basic materials that had been combined in an impure whole are broken down into their component parts. The next phase is the White Work, where the substances are heated further, or otherwise treated until the impurities in the mix are consumed and turned to pure ash, turning them from black to white, or the chemical equivalent. 

In some systems, the Green Work (or Peacock phase) followed, a series of processes you performed on the remaining material to further refine the component parts and begin to properly reintegrate them into the final whole. As the material passed through the Green Work, it turned various hues of blue and green and gold, like the colors of a peacock's feather. Then the materia went into the Red Work, the phase at which the materia recombined into a single, pure and holy object, the Philosopher's Stone. This last phase consisted of a great deal of applied heat over time. The Final stage of the Work is the Projection phase, in which the Stone is ground up into powder, which is used as a medicine to heal the world.

I based the courses on each of these phases. The Black Work is the most intensive, and provides the most comprehensive information necessary to understand the Work we do. It's based almost entirely on Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, and my own experiences. By the end of this course, you will understand more about the neo-platonism of the Hermetic Cosmology than you ever thought you'd need to understand. You'll have a solid foundation to do the Work of any of the grimoires, and a full comprehension of how you relate to the universe at large, the spirits we conjure, and ultimately your own divine nature.

After that comes the White Work course. This course is based on my studies of the Holy Guardian Angel, and the forms it took within the belief systems of the Zoroastrians, the Greek Magical Papyri, and into the Rennaissance grimoires. I explore what it is, what it means, and the various methods of contacting this spirit. I also provide a series of preparations and rituals designed to facilitate contacting this spirit. Attaining Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel or its equivalent is not a necessary thing in most of the traditions of the West, at least officially, as such. It is implicit in all the systems though, and it never hurts to have a Solar Spirit at your back ready to help you conjure, feed, and direct the forces the spirits and intelligences represent.

The Green Work course has been temporarily discontinued, because I never finished it properly. The Seven Spheres book accomplishes the same thing, especially when combined with the Seven Spheres course.

I never decided whether I should write a Red Work course or not. If you do the Work of the Black, White, and Green Work, I believe you cannot help but finish the Red Work. Also, I feel like I'm always in this phase in some aspect of my life, and I don't know whether I can really write a course on it. I think it varies from person to person, and within each lifetime it varies for each individual. The Red Work I do today is different than the Red Work I did five years ago, two years ago, or last month.

And Projection... well, that's going to look however you want it to look. It is the creation of your world.

Standard Correspondence Course

If you want to take the standard courses, you can order the courses at the regular prices at this link below. These come with all the lessons in PDF, and a membership to the yahoo group where you can discuss the lessons with other course members. Here's the link:


Live Lessons for the Black Work Course

I had so much fun doing the Seven Spheres courses live, that I've decided to go ahead and do a live broadcast for each of the Black Work course lessons, and eventually for each of the White Work lessons too. For right now, I'm only taking orders for the live Black Work lessons. With this order, you'll be getting all the standard correspondence course materials, plus an hour long discussion of the topics in detail once a week.

That's SEVEN HOURS OF MY LIFE, PEOPLE! 

Jesus, wait a minute. Let me think about this.

Ok, yeah, I'm sure. But it's going to cost you extra, for sure. I know you saw that coming. 

If you'd like to participate, it's $200 for the Black Work, that's an extra $75, which isn't too bad, in my opinion for that much of my time. I'll be doing these on the weekends, and if you miss the class, I'll be recording them and posting them to a private channel on youtube, which you'll get access to super-secretly. you'll be able to go back and watch them if you miss them, or re-watch them if you fell asleep, went to the bathroom, or got shit-faced drunk and forgot about it. I'm limiting the number of people who can join to 50, but don't worry, that's a relatively large number and I doubt I'll get that many people to join.

If you CAN order, it means class is NOT FULL. If you try to order and you get a "Sold Out" page, then you'll have to wait until next time I run this.


I'll be putting out an announcement this weekend for the next live Seven Spheres course, and when I'm about a month or so into those I'll announce a live White Work course, so keep your eyes peeled.

* As far as I know, I am the first modern magician to make extensive use of this technique, and I am completely comfortable saying that the reason The Art of Drawing Spirits into Crystals has gained a huge amount of popularity in the last few years is because I told everyone I knew how cool it was. It's a simple method of conjuration, and to make it even easier, I wrote up a neat little tech spec manual that put its simple practices into modern language (The Modern Angelic Grimoire). This method is sort of authentic and traditional, even though my version technically isn't either of those things according to grimoire purists, but everyone who uses the technique finds it super-effective.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On the Appropriate Performance of the Seven Spheres in Seven Days

Wow, what a terrible idea a public "Seven Spheres in Seven Days" group turned out to be. There were people who wanted to do the rites in a week without ever having done them in the suggested order of the book. There were people confused about why we were ping-ponging around the spheres, and what the point was.

I suspect I must have misrepresented the process, the plan, or the effects. Or I misunderstood people.

There's a reason I tell people to take it easy, spread it out over five to seven weeks. The book is designed to introduce you to the powers of creation used by God to create and maintain all of existence. You go through the spheres, you get initiated, you integrate the forces, and you learn to implement them. When I say it's initiatory, I mean, the power gets pumped into your sphere, and you get tuned up in relation to that power. It cleanses you, shakes out the issues you have with that sphere manifesting in your life, cleans you up and prepares you to take on a little more power next time.

Over time, you learn to integrate the forces and expand your kingdom. You become a skilled manager of your life. You understand your intents, desires, and the consequences of your choices. You learn that you are a god, and you can direct the forces of creation, and harvest the results.

It behooves the practitioner to do this systematically, gently, and to integrate the forces a little at a time.

So why would someone do the Seven Spheres in Seven Days? What's the point of releasing all the powers of all the planets into your sphere all at once?

To me, that's like asking why you get drunk. You get drunk to get drunk. It's fun, you have a good time, you get experiences and stories to share with your friends, you hit that point where you get all honest and understand something about yourself that you'll probably forget in the morning, but so what? It's fun!

And then you clean up the mess you made.

Doing the Seven Spheres in Seven Days is like that. It's an ecstatic rite, or an ecstatic event. It creates the circumstances necessary to develop a gnostic experience of your personal deity-ness. You basically set the stage to see your entire life transform over the space of a month or so, in ways that will continue to unfold for years. You will see that you are indeed a God, and if you ever need a good reminder of what that means, you can do it again.

It's awesome!

And dangerous. Power flows like water. The reason conjuring the Intelligences and deities of the spheres creates change is because like water, it pools into the lowest places. If there are blockages, it builds up behind the blockages until it can wash them away. When the blockages finally go, it's like the breaking of the levies, there will be a flood for a while, and then the pure stream can flow through.

Going through the spheres at a reasonable pace, following the order I prescribe in the book is good for you. It's safer. It's more gentle. It's focused primarily on turning you into the king of your world. It places you on the throne and takes you through the steps necessary to learn how to rule, the forces at your disposal, and the things you need to fix to get what you want. If you even know what that is. The book recommends taking  an inventory of your life, and getting to know your strengths and weaknesses, and doing the magic as you go along and take stock of what's going on in your life. It's a process.

The private Seven Spheres in Seven Days group I put together for those who took the class with me was fine. They were ready for it. They had been immersed in my prattlings. I was able to program them from the get-go with the basic framework necessary to handle the ecstatic result.

The public group had people with no clue champing at the bit to jump in, regardless of whether they understood what was going on or not. It quickly became clear to me that I had created something terribly dangerous, something I wanted no part of whatsoever.

So I eliminated the public group. I'm still going through the Seven Spheres in Seven days with my class. They can handle it, and we're having fun.

If you're interested in the ecstatic experience, for god's sake (your sake), please don't just jump right into it. Here's what I suggest:

1) Read the Book. If you haven't yet, buy it here and then read through it, cover to cover.
2) Do the recommended exercises. I highly suggest taking the Course that comes with it. I'll be announcing that as available in a couple days, but even if you don't, definitely take stock of your Kingdom as you go. Know Thyself.
3) Do the Rites. Perform each rites over 5-6 weeks, from Jupiter to the Moon, and then figure out if you want to do Saturn.
4) Wait a couple weeks to let the forces percolate and integrate in your sphere.
5) See how things look.

At that point, you'll be able to decide if you should do the Seven Spheres in Seven Days. When I do them, it's a lot like Charlie Sheen finding a spare couple kilos of cocaine in his couch he'd TOTALLY FORGOTTEN ABOUT. I have a good time. I love magic. I love the transformation. I love the power. It's AWESOME.

But, but, but...

I've been doing this shit for years. I completed the Great Work. My shit's solid, yo. It was forged in the fires, and it's been made pure. I can handle it, I know what to expect, and I've learned how to deal with it. There were people in that group who I just couldn't even begin to imagine unleashing that stuff on themselves.

I couldn't be a part of it. It'd be like dousing kids in lighter fluid and then giving them those razor scooters that sparked.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Talisman Class Tonight at Leaping Laughter Lodge in Minneapolis!

Hey everyone, I meant to get this out a lot sooner, but I totally forgot, what with my life barrelling by at 110 mph every day. I wanted to get this out in front of y'all asap. Tonight at 8:00 PM Central at the Lodge. If you don't know where it is, send me an email at:


And I'll send you the address. Or you an look up the event at the Leaping Laughter Facebook page.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Infrequently Asked Questions: How can I last longer?

This gets a little vulgar, and I'm sorry. Probably not something you should feel obliged to read, but if you're interested, by all means have a good time.

So the number of times I've actually been asked this is more than one but still less than five, and I figured I'd go ahead and address this publicly before it became something I got sick of answering and just sort of ignored.

Also, there was this article in the New York Times recently that Harper showed me, about what the things we search for on Google tell us about the basic insecurities of our fellow humans on the planet. I can't stress this enough, read the article. It helps so much.

So this question was sort of a big deal for guys, the second most-asked question related to men's sexual performance:

"How can I last longer during sex?"

Before we go any further, mini rant:

I personally suspect that most guys think they should be fucking like porn stars, and I know this is going to come as a HUGE shock to guys, but this is something you should know:

Movies aren't real. 

And this is going to hurt: not even pornos.

Especially not pornos.

Most guys don't last 30 minutes, and most partners don't want them to. If you base your expectations for your performance on porn, you're in for a bad time.

But if you really want to fuck like a guy in teh prons, study the things they do to last so long. Viagra's a big deal to them. Also, treat fucking like a job. Do it several times a day (stamina comes from practice) every day on contrived sets thrown together in someone's apartment with umbrella lights glaring on you, with people watching, critiquing, and giving you instructions in the background while you're screwing a partner who's fucked so many people they can't even fake being interested in your tool that's gone numb from sloshing around in a hole that's been stretched by you and your tool and your co-workers' tools for half-hour to forty-five minute fuck marathons. And there's all kinds of drugs that hate brain cells to take.

The more you think about fucking like a porn star, the less interesting it seems, really.

BUT SERIOUSLY...

So if that's not the problem, then keep going. Below are some actual things that have changed my personal performance in ways that are beneficial. I think this is actually some good advice, and if you email me asking about it, this is basically what I'm going to say. So don't email me about it. Just read this.

I'm telling you things that work for me, because it's something I've managed to overcome in the last few years.

This shit works for me, and it's not hard to do.

These aren't penetrating insights, and may seem anti-climactic, and yeah, that's totally on purpose and entirely the point.

Ok, enough. On with the actual advice:

LOVE YOUR LOVER

I know this is a no brainer, but a major issue with stamina for me was that I wasn't interested in my partner very much. That's not ONLY because they hated me and blamed me for everything personally, or got on my nerves, or lied and cheated on me (so many times), though that does tend to make you care less about your lover's satisfaction.

No, I was a selfish douche who was just in it for myself. Even the "wanting to last longer" thing was just so I could feel better about myself. It wasn't about the partner, it was just me. I'd get started and get excited about how good it would feel, and fed on that until I was just totally into the orgasm.

Being with someone you love and actually care about changes things. You're less nervous and more interested in the process. You're not in a hurry. You're into the shape of their jawline, the smell of their skin. The saltiness of their sweat. The flush of their cheeks. You learn what makes them get there, and the journey is awesome. You don't mind taking breaks and getting over yourself while you minister to the brethren or sistren.

Be the kind of lover who loves their lover, and it makes a huge difference.

HAVE AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE

A drink helps relax you, and lets you take your time a bit more. It suppresses the CNS and lowers inhibitions. Don't take too many shots, that gets to be a problem, but a shot a half hour or so before you're making love is great for, ahem, some people. If drinks aren't your thing, don't drink 'em. It's just something I've noticed.

BREATHE SLOWLY

Breathing slower makes you last longer. I don't know why, but it's true, and it works. Perhaps loving your lover helps you breathe more slowly, and being a little relaxed from a drink also makes you more relaxed and helps you breathe more slowly. Maybe that's the secret, breath control. I don't know for sure. These are just observations.

PRANA-FRICKIN'-YAMA

Ok, so this is the BIG SECRET that is probably the thing that's actually helped me the most. And it's totally about breath control, so that's a good contender for being the thing that makes these things work. Because the secret of the sphere of Venus is that the entire universe is One spirit separated into many spirits so it can fuck itself all the time, and in every language ever the word for "spirit" is traced back to "breath." But that's probably just a coicidence.

I do pranayama like every day now because A:.A:. things, and there's this thing Jason teaches in his book, Sex, Sorcery, and Spirit about throat and asshole locks. Mula Bandha is the asshole lock. Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about, but Jason's book is better about this than I will be for at least 30 years.Suffice it to ay, I incorporate the locks he describes into my practice. Mula Bandha is the key here. Basically you clench the muscles of your asshole (up to your nuts, not just the easy sphincter muscles) and hold it in rythm with your breathing.

I do pranayama using an app Harper Feist found called MySpiritTools on an iphone. It's free and useful. We use the "Conscious Breathing" exercise. It's got three phases that you can change the settings on. The way I have it configured on my phone is based on seven-second intervals:

  • 3 minutes of two-stage breathing (just in and out); seven second inhalation, seven second exhalation.
  • 3 minutes of thre-stage breathing (in, hold, out, repeat in); I exercise the throat and anal lock for the time I'm holding my breath.
  • 10 minutes of four-stage breating (in, hold, out, hold, then in) for seven seconds each.

When it gets to the hold-your-breath phase of the conscious breathing part, I exercise the locks. I don't know if that's proper technique or whatever, but after 6 weeks of doing that every morning, your muscles get really strong. Use these muscles to control your orgasm. You just focus on Mula Bandha and steady deep breathing when you start to get close to orgasm, and it shifts things, and you last longer.

WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT TO CUM, DON'T

Seriously, pull out and squeeze that Mula Bandha lock hard. It's like hitting a reset button on your approach to orgasm. It doesn't always work, but the more you do it, the more often it does, and in no time you're in control of your experiences.

I like the parts between getting started and orgasm best anyway. The actual orgasm part at the end is over too fast for my tastes, but the approach is just delicious, and making that last longer is totally worth it, if you're me.

CONCLUSION

So none of this stuff is new news, I'm not teaching anything you can't find on a google search, and Jason's book is much more comprehensive than this article, but now that I've written it up I can send links to this instead of rewriting it every time.

Happy fucking!

On Namaste, and People Whisperers

V(=)IR
Have I not said, Ye are Gods?
-Some Unappreciated Palestinian Social Commentator

I could change that, she thought. I could take away the drug action and make it harmless. But she sensed this would be an error. I'm within a rite of joining.
-Dune, Frank Herbert


People are awesome. I like you all a whole lot.

Hermetics teaches that we're all individual and unique manifestations of the Divine. Konx om Pax, it is written. Light in Extension. L.V.X. Lux, the Light of the True Cross. And that is very true. It's why I get all shiny-eyed and gleeful when I ecstatically proclaim, Thou Art God! I am God, we are Gods! Living Gods!*

A lot of what I focus on in my writings and my efforts in this incarnation is related to reminding people that they themselves are, in fact, gods. That's literally you reading this now. I want to reach out through the computer, grab you by your lapels (google it), stare directly and meaningful into the soul of your being and say, "You! You are GOD! Remember? Wake the fuck up!"

That's how my Great Work looks, in a nut shell.** In case you were wondering why I do this stuff all the time.

So of course that's nothing new. Jesus said it. Plato said it through Timaeus. Heraclitus said it before that. We say this shit because we see people suffering, and we want you to just ... stahp! Snap out of it! Grow the heck up and make adult decisions based on an understanding that choice leads to experience and consequent enjoyment or suffering! Because you can, and you're awesome! You can do better things, and enjoy a better life, if you want to!

And my focus is a lot about you, personally. Because I love you, and I want you to be happy. I really believe all that shit about us being gods, extensions of the same source, and I get that if we were all doing good, we'd all be happy, and it's just that people forget you can do good sometimes and it might not seem great immediately, but then it turns out to be actually fucking great.

So I try hard to remind you you're a god, with worth and value that is ... worthy. And valuable. To you, but also to all of the rest of us. We need you to be cool, ffs. We need everyone to be cool.

Everyone.

And that's what this post is actually about.*** It's not about you, except inclusively. It's about everyone else you interact with, and how you personally interact with them. Those "others." You know, the other gods on the Earth.

Do you recognize them when you see them? I have a hard time in real life seeing the god in others. Because they're assholes, unawakened lazy pink primate motherfuckers. I need a lot of work before I can bow to the god in others instead of honking at the dipshit standing in front of my car blocking my exit from the airport frantically gesticulating to his wife to just cut me off to come and get his entitled ass.

Is flipping the bird equivalent to "bowing to the god in others?" I sure hope so.

That's Namaste, in Hindu, by the way, and it's totally what it says, and if there's a "fuck you" undercurrent to it, it's probably a mystical secret only understood by stoned sufis. You probably already knew what Namaste means.

If not, here's the Wiki explanation:
Namasté is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. This gesture is called Añjali Mudrā or Pranamasana.[5] In Hinduism it means "I bow to the divine in you".
I bow to the divine in you. That's some bullshit, honestly. I have a hard enough time remembering my own divinity, and you know, slogging through your shit to get to your divinity on a personal basis is fucking hard.

Er.

Dammit, I'm really trying hard not to cuss as much, honest.

But here's the thing: when I get you alone and we're just talking, I see it. When we're not trying to end the trip from hell as soon as possible by getting into a safe place with the one person on the planet we can admit to loving without it being weird. When we're not just posting shit on facebook to make each other laugh and to show how cool we are. When we're not cussing in blog posts to cover up how important this shit really is.

I had a great client today ask me for advice and a talisman to get what she wants out of life. She got how this all works, and she knows society would probably try to tell her she's bad for going after what she really wants, and she had the courage to say what she wants anyway. And of course I helped her, because ... Ok, we'll talk about ethics for a sec.

This client was so cool. She wanted to be with a guy who's in a relationship that's bad for him. She doesn't know if it will work out between the two of them, if they ever might have a chance to connect like a bulb and socket, all slowly screwing deeper and deeper until they can't go any further and become, for the moment, a hot glowing thing that illuminates the world. She just knows she wants him. And that he wants her. And that he's not happy now. And that everyone would be happier if they screwed. Her desires were pure, she wanted the god in him and the god in her to unite for a bit and to see what happened next.

That's all we get, folks. It doesn't get any better than that. And it's perfect.

So here's the thing.

When you start to see the god in other people, and recognise that thing with them that you have in common, you get what they need. What they want. What they're after.

I think my "gift," my "charisma" in this life is to see that in other people. I can spend five or ten minutes talking to you and know more about what you are after in life than you do. That's why I want to go full time offering Hermetic consultations for a living. God-on-god therapy, you know? I grok people, and who they are, and what they want, and why that's ok. I have an intrinsic understanding of the nature of the being that is you, the divine you.

I think that's because I spent so much time learning to know myself, but ... what do I know?

I recently had the opportunity to consider horses, and the "horse whisperer" phenomenon. Horses are huge, strong, and super intelligent manifestations of god. They are unique beings, from their smell to their hooves to their hearts. They love, they feel, and they understand in ways that are similar to, yet entirely different from human beings.

A horse whisperer is someone who can see to the heart of the horse, and see the divinity of that being, and commune with it in language it needs to hear, in the moment. They can put off their humanity enough to be the god who sees the god in the horse, the same god that is in all other aspects of existence, and to commune with it meaningfully in ways it can understand.

Can you imagine being treated that way? To feel the love, the sacrifice, the willingness to shrug off the differences, just for a moment so they can be with you in a way that makes you feel safe, valuable, worthy... Loved?

Makes you want to be a horse, huh?

People, all of us, are little sparks of the divine holed up in flesh suits with brains and emotions and autonomous reactionary protective circuits that have evolved to keep us alive. We feel things, and say things as a result that aren't really cool. Useful, to an end, but robotic. Programmed, genetic, societal. Most of our lives we spend in that state, garbage in, garbage out. It takes something pretty special to knock us up and out of that realm of interacting with the world, to become mindful, aware, awake with another person. It takes intimacy, trust, love, and friendship. Camaraderie.

It's rare, among people. We have these shells up that keep us separated from one another, a hardened lacquer of protective armor. A chitinous layer, a thick skin. It takes something special to get past that layer, to be the solvent that is necessary to open up a bit. Solvents are important in the Great Work.

You know that "I love you man!" moment people get to when they're drunk? That's the point at which their CNS is suppressed enough, and their inhibitions are lowered enough that they can say to people they care about, "Hey, I care about you, I appreciate you, and I am glad to get to hang out with you, because you're cool, and that means something, coming from me." It's the moment when you can admit that your personal value of another person is meaningful, to yourself and to them. And it takes booze to do that. For a reason.

Ethanol is an amazing solvent. So is love. So are mystical exercises, and daily practices. Digging deep into the essence of you is the key to be able to appreciate that essence in others. shutting down the CNS, the inhibitions, the distractions and seeing the divine within you as the same divinity in others. The Great Work is a process that lets you get to that point and appreciate others. It helps you, and in turn it helps everyone else.

So whether you are a people whisperer, or are perhaps a people whisperer in training, or even a person in need of a people whisperer, the things we pursue are the solvent you need. Magical practice is all about that, ultimately. The knowledge of the self. The knowledge of God. The recognition of that and what it means in your life, and in the lives of everyone else.

That is the Great Work.

That and total domination of your world, for the good of all mankind.

* And then people remind me that phrase was taken.

** Not a nut sack. Those look different. And I haven't even made a dick joke yet.

*** My 10th grade English teacher, if he ever reads this, will probably think it's the worst essay ever, introducing the thesis this late, but everything else was the hook, and the elaborateness of it will become apparent in a minute.