The Angels of the Zodiac

           Esoteric studies can be approached in many ways. For some it's a labor born of laziness and bland materialism, providing one with a psychic support structure with which to expand their supposed telekinetic control over reality. For others it’s pure escapist fantasy, opening a gateway into another, imagined, although not purely imaginary, world. For a few, it's a means to the truth and the potential of all that is seen and unseen. The wise will get the most out of their practice if they learn to see the value of both sides of the human condition, the undeniable truth of external magical workings and the sometimes harder to perceive yet arguably more valuable internal yoga from which all else springs.

           For the last year I have been studying the various Angels who are said to preside over the signs of the Zodiac, attempting to know them through meditation, holidays, artistic and occult ceremonies, as well as through more conventional scholarship of course. I have created talismans from the matrixes of their precious stones and enochian tables, the smells of their incense, and the soft light of their stars, and have tied each one of them into one of my tarot’s court cards, a nice compliment to the demons I’d already bound to the numbered suits therein.

           Here's my overall experience of these angels thus far…

           In Aries, Machidiel the Masculine, the Angel of Revolutions, will teach you how to be an unstoppable force. Machidiel is the god Mars born as a man.

           In Taurus, Asmodel the Curator, the Angel of Tribute, will teach you how to be an immovable object. Asmodel is the goddess Venus born as a woman.

           In Gemini, Ambriel the Thief of Faces, the Angel of Escape, will teach you how to express yourself. Ambriel is the god Mercury born as a man.

           In Cancer, Muriel the Dreamer, the Angel of Meditation, will teach you how to truly feel the present. Muriel is the Moon born as a woman.

           In Leo, Verchiel the King, the Angel of Audacity, will teach you how to decide the future. Verchiel is the Sun born as a man.

           In Virgo, Gamaliel the Queen, the Angel of Austerity, will teach you how to not care. Gamaliel is the god Mercury born as a woman.

           In Libra, Zuriel the Knight, the Angel of Preparation, will teach you "how." Zuriel is the goddess Venus born as a man.

           In Scorpio, Barbiel the Courtesan, the Angel of Seduction, will teach you "who." Barbiel is the god Mars born as a woman.

           In Sagittarius, Adnachiel the Hunter, the Angel of Capture, will teach you "why." Adnachiel is the god Jupiter born as a man.

           In Capricorn, Cassiel the Corsair, the Angel of Materialism, will teach you how to make money. Cassiel is the god Satarn born as a woman.

           In Aquarius, Orphiel the Crypt Keeper, the Angel of Reflection, will teach you the wisdom of the past. Orphiel is the god Saturn born as a man.

           In Pisces, Barakiel the Hostess, the Angel of Reunion, will teach you how to restore it. Barakiel is the god Jupiter born as a woman.

          Of course then you'll return to Aries, where Machidiel the Masculine, the Angel of Revolutions, can remind you again how to be an unstoppable force.

           Good luck and Namaste.

To Rapture Or Not To Rapture

          Tomorrow is May 21st 2011, a date that will either go down in history as the day that millions of people mysteriously vanish from the face of the earth in a pre-apocalyptic event known as the Rapture, or, in a far less exciting outcome, it will be remembered as a day that this didn’t happen at all, making it different from any other day only due to the enormous number of people who seem to have placed a tremendous amount of faith and hope in the arrival of their one way ticket to the warm bosom of Christ. Either way, tomorrow is going to turn a lot of people’s worlds upside down.

          Such mass rapture letdowns are hardly unheard of; the Jehovah’s Witnesses rented out an entire football stadium to gather together for the big day, not once, but four times. (Don't feel bad; I'm told they rent out stadiums even on years that the world isn't ending.) Darker manifestations of the end of the world can be found in the tragic mass suicide of the Heaven’s Gate cult, who saw the rare passing of the Haily-bop comet as their best chance to get off the planet (after they all evacuated their souls from their earthy bodies, of course). What‘s unique about this event is that it‘s being taken seriously by a larger number of Christians than is usual for such extreme predictions, causing massive numbers of people to quit their jobs, find new homes for their pets and give way all of their earthly belongings to their obviously unscrupulous atheist friends.

          I have a lot of sympathy for such people, and hope that tomorrow works out for the best for all of them. What I’m most interested in personally is an answer to the question of what sort of God, if any, do we have; a God that applies the letter of the law or the spirit. If the rapture occurs, it seems that this will be made immediately clear, since He will either choose to take the Obedient, meaning only the most strictly observant Christians, or the Righteous, who obviously exist as a faction within but also beyond the relatively small confines of the Christian faith.

          I think either outcome will be acceptable, as I will at least know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, where I stand in relation to the powers that be (I already have my suspicions, obviously, but it would be nice to finally be 100% sure) but what worries me most about tomorrow is the enormous number of people who, should the rapture turn out to be a dud, will have their faith unceremoniously destroyed. The people who most desperately need this sort of early escape pod are not the sort of people whom I wish to see completely lose their only support system; these are the sort of people, in my opinion, who are the most likely to try and “end the world” in other, far less divine, ways.

          Whatever happens, I hope that tomorrow will provide ample revelations for everyone. Good luck and Namaste.

As Within, So Without

“I am the truth.” -Hallaj

          I have been pondering inevitability, particularly the causative link between how I think and feel (in other words, who I am) with what sorts of things happen to me, for me, with me, around me. While most people acknowledge how the world shapes them, it seems that far too many people fail to appreciate the way in which who and what they are shapes the world around them or, at the very least, their experience of it. Obviously there’s more to fate than character alone, but the fact is that one’s character serves as the absolute regulator over all the possible engagements that one can choose to have with all outside forces. Unfortunately, it appears that for most people these outside forces really do seem to be completely responsible for their destinies. Magicians and mystics know far better however; because, for better or for worse, we know that our fates flow directly from the magical force of our eternally interpenetrating spirits.

          In an effort to move beyond the limits of this sometimes frustrating trap, I have been attempting, as of late, to engage the world with a more exploratory, less judgmental, attitude; changing my inevitable insides to change my inevitable outsides. Throughout all of this I’ve tried to hold firmly to one single peace of good advice: Embrace things as they are, without being draw away by any sort of wishful fantasies about how they “should” be. Sounds wise, no?

          Well, actually, it isn’t… at least not indefinitely. Eventually I reached the conclusion that this was only good advice in theory; In practice, the very act of assuming that knowing the world “as it truly is” was to know it as something completely divorced from my own additions, deletions, projections, and, most importantly, perspective, was simply a lesser conceit than the one I was attempting to escape, and a far more dangerous one at that. Perspectives are not just a limiting obstruction of reality; they are reality, or, at least, the reality that matters most.

          Don’t misunderstand me. I still absolutely believe in the virtue of objectivity (just because it can’t be absolutely obtained doesn’t mean we all can’t and shouldn’t try to approach it in degrees) and obviously a lot can be said for maintaining an open mind, but I believe that true virility, that thoroughly misunderstood and perhaps nearly extinct beast of a bygone mythic age, demands a certain degree of unapologetic judgment.

          However, I should also state here that I freely acknowledge the spiritual value of any practices, however misguided these may prove to be in the long run, which help to temporarily free us from the tyranny of our own opinions. After all, isn’t that the primary goal of almost all mystical paths to enlightenment?

          A noble goal, I guess, but not mine; in the words of Frank Miller’s Batman, “The world doesn’t make sense until you force it to.” Mystical and yogic practices may help alleviate or release some of the pain of our various individual struggles, but when these attempt to extinguish the struggling itself, they become a cure far worse than any of these so-called ailments, or, as I often like to refer to them, my “medicinal detriments.” In closing, may your own suffering be swift and glorious and fuel your will to continue to fight the good fight. Namaste.

The Narthex

           Super World, in association with the Ahd al Jann, the CMU Transhumanist Collective, the Temple of the Vampyre, the House of Sith, The Soma Sema Cemetery Society, Dr. Steel’s Army of Toy Soldiers, the Gentlemen for Jupiter, the Secret Society of Super Villains, the Fayette County Foot Clan, the Sons of Batman, the Malakim Society, the Council of Nine, Evolver, the Oraboros Gnostic Circle and Justice Underground, is proud to present the Narthex, a secret convention of the unconventional, a bridge from nowhere to anywhere and back again to everywhere.

           The guest list includes but is not limited to: Super Villains, Super Spies, Super Heroes, Dragons, Ninjas, Wizards, Vampires, Psychics, Slayers, Werebeasts, Mutants, Martial Monks, Sith, Cyborgs, Jedi, Drow, Fairies, Djinn, Elves, Demons, Aliens and Angels.

           What actually goes on anywhere depends, first and foremost, on who and what you are; if you’re the kind of person for which a certain kind of experience is possible, this experience will also be possible, but if you aren’t, then, or course, actually finding the Narthex is kind of impossible anywhere and with almost anyone.

           For most, Super World is only a potential, but for some it’s something far better. For these lucky few, the Narthex is an open door into the Super World, a point of initiation that moves about much as we ourselves do, appearing anywhere someone might dare to merge our worlds together.

           Join us this Saturday Night, May 7th, at the Irma Freeman Center for the Imagination at 5002 Pen Ave as we crash Evolver's already awesome Interweve Dance Party, to imagine, meet with, and perhaps even become yet another one of the many hidden denizens of Super World's various sorted shadow societies. Good luck and Namaste.