Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A True Ghost Story?


It is often difficult to write an interesting and informative blog post on a topic that one knows well. It is often even harder to produce a quality post when the subject that one is writing about is a new topic of interest. I should know, because I am just a baby in the field of magic and the occult. While I have for many years skimmed the surface of magical literature and practices, I had not set upon studying the occult to any great degree until about two years ago. Because I am a novice, I often find myself creating posts for my blog that contain a great deal of personal experience rather than strict information. Personally, I only rarely find another person’s blogged experiences to be of value to me. It happens, but not very often. I am indeed an information kind of guy in the material I prefer. As such, I have recently been trying to steer myself away from reporting personal experiences and concentrating on delivering more informative type posts. I don’t think I have succeeded in the transformation of my blog quite yet, but it is the direction I want to take. That being said, magic is not just information. Magic is both information and experience. Without the experience one can only hope to be an armchair magician at best and a scholar at worst (just a little friendly stab at the academic community). So, because experience is important and because I want to record the event for posterity, I will once again succumb to relaying for you an experience I had recently.

The Main Event
A few nights back as I was walking past our spare bedroom I saw someone standing in the room near the laundry baskets that were resting on the floor. I just assumed it was my daughter putting away her clean clothes (her bedroom is accessed by going through the spare bedroom). When I got downstairs, I found my daughter quite busy at the computer. It then occurred to me that it must have been my wife upstairs next to the laundry baskets and I went into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. With coffee in had I proceeded into the living room where I found my wife engrossed with assembling a puzzle.  At first I thought nothing of it. Then, I felt a strange eeriness overcome me. I asked my wife if she had recently been upstairs. I think you can now guess her reply. No, she had not been upstairs.

After Show
So, what had I experienced? I really don’t know but some ideas come to mind.
1) I mistakenly thought I saw something and falsely attributed it to being my daughter and wife.
2) I saw something tangible (i.e., some physical thing in the room) and falsely attributed it to being my daughter and wife.
3) I saw something paranormal (ghost, spirit … whatever) and falsely attributed it to being my daughter and wife.

Needless to say, I went back to where I “saw” the “person” and tried to figure out what physical thing in the room I could have mistaken for my daughter (#2 above). There was a guitar in its case propped up at the side of the bed, but it I don’t think it was visible from the angle I glanced into the room. Besides, the guitar was located far left of the spot I saw the “person”.  I find it interesting that I found myself trying to rationalize the event away. I mean, it really must have been a glimpse of the guitar that I saw…right? I found the ease at which I rationalized the event away very striking, since encountering “apparitions” is just the sort of thing occultists claim happen when you engage in magic. Now, I have for the last several months been giving a weekly offering to various spirits and ancestors as advocated by Brother Moloch, et al. I guess I should not rule out nor be surprised by the possibility that some “spirit” has decided to call upon me.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Archangel Michael's Golden Coin

Last week I finally made a much overdue trip to visit my parents. It takes about twenty-four hours to reach my parents door by car. So, being that I have not seen them in ten years (I know, I know, bad me), I wanted to spend as much time as possible visiting rather than driving and chose to fly rather than drive. Did I ever mention that I HATE flying? I know that statistics suggest that I would be much more likely to die in a car accident on my way to my parent’s house than in a plane, but my mind tells me that I have at least a chance at surviving a car crash whereas a drop from 36,000 ft. would most assuredly secure my demise. So, being the budding sorcerer that I am, I decided to make a talisman/amulet* that would offer some protection while on my travels. Making such an object is rather straightforward for anyone who operates within a specific magical system, as such systems typically provide a blueprint for constructing magickal tools. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I have never found a system of magick that appeals to me. This is largely due to the fact that my personal beliefs (or lack thereof) prohibit me from adopting any of the systems I have encountered thus far. Rather than adhering to any one particular magickal system, I prefer to build my magickal modus operandi  based upon the structure of magickal technique rather than any specific system of magick and then tweak it to suit my particular world view. I guess you could probably liken my method of practicing magick to the processes of certain Chaos Magicians. For me, this is the only way I can practice magick. It allows me to bypass the inherent belief structure of any particular system of magick. Of course, my way of practicing magick will probably be viewed as ineffectual by those who maintain that magickal efficacy stems from the correct performance of the magickal blueprint provided by a magickal system. For me, however, magical efficacy is more a result of personal ability than it is of inherent power within prescribed words and rituals. While my view permits me to do magick, it comes at a cost. I have no magickal blueprint to follow, only vague sketches and outlines. Basically, I have to build each magical undertaking from the ground up. And so it was the case when I wanted to create a protective object (Archangel Michael’s Golden Coin) to take with me on my journey to the land of my birth.
The first decision I had to make concerned the material from which my object would be constructed. I chose to shape my object out of corn starch clay (see post on this tool here) since I could fashion this material into any shape and size desired AND it would get through airport security undetected. Since Archangel Michael has a reputation for providing protection, I chose to paint the “coin” gold (the planetary color associated with Archangel Michael) and draw the sigil/character of Archangel Michael in red (the elemental color associated with Archangel Michael) on one side of the “coin.” On the other side of the “coin” I drew a sigil that had imbedded within it the intention of physical safety and well-being. To seal the deal, the object was coated with an acrylic sealer. The object was then consecrated during the hour of the Sun (the planetary hour associated with Archangel Michael) where I, holding the “coin” over  the smoke produced by a cone of Dragon’s Blood incense that had been anointed with banishing oil (to banish physical harm), asked Archangel Michael and my HGA to infuse the “coin” with protective power.
I have no idea whether Archangel Michael’s Golden Coin performed its intended function or whether I merely survived the plane trip because I was statistically likely to survive. Either way, I am alive and posting to my blog. I am grateful either way.
*I am not sure what to call this object, since it was constructed in such a fashion that it resembles both an amulet (banish physical harm) and a talisman (bring forth protective powers).

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tibet's Living Dead

Being that Halloween is just around the corner, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss the living dead, in particular, some of the notions of the living dead found within Tibetan society. 

Among Tibetans it has been known to occur that some individuals who have died miraculously return to life after sojourning within the intermediate state (bardo) between the present life and the next. Refered to as “Dālōk” (‘das log), these individuals, generally viewed to have acquired sufficient virtue in life to warrant their return to the land of the living, come back to life principally to share what they have learned within the bardo. Typically, the Dālōk relay the teachings they have received from the various deities, accomplished masters and celestial Buddhas encountered while in the intermediate state, as well as warn individuals of the hells seen and the human actions that caused them to be populated.

Sometimes, however, it is believed that during an individual’s death rites (which can last up to 49 days) the deceased person’s body is animated not by the returning dead person but by a negative or evil spirit bent on causing harm. Such a being is called a “Rōlang” (ro langs). Tibetans often speak of four types of Rōlang, each with its own particular method of destruction (though more universal methods of destroying a Rōlang can also be found).

Not only can a corpse be taken over by an evil spirit, it can be taken by a living individual skilled in consciousness transference through a practice called “Tōng Jūk” (grong 'jug). Tibetan stories portray Tōng Jūk as a practice that can be utilized for both religious and nefarious ends.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Thanks For The Support!

I have just been made aware that over the last few months several book purchases have occurred through my Amazon affiliate links.  I would like to thank all those who have made a purchase through one of my links for their support. While the return is small, the appreciation is great!

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Magically Cleaning And Protecting Your Home

Methods for magically cleaning and protecting ones home vary widely between magical traditions and oftentimes among the practitioners comprising those traditions as well. Some of the methods are complex and involve intricate rituals and diverse accoutrements, while others are simple and involve few trappings. The procedure for magically cleansing and securing a dwelling delineated below is a very simple method of clearing negative energy from ones home and securing it so that negativity is prevented from entering into ones place of residence.  The method itself is an adaptation of certain other clearing/protecting practices that best suit my particular needs. If you find it useful … great … if not, there are a plethora of other methods to choose from.

What you will need…

Clearing/Banishing material:
1) Small black candle (I like tealite candles).
2) Small portion of sage incense.
3) Small dish/cup containing banishing oil (make your own oil, it’s easy).
4) Plate to hold the black candle, sage incense and dish of banishing oil.

Protecting material:
1) Small white candle (tealight or other).
2) Small portion of dragon’s blood incense.
3) Small dish/cup containing protection oil (again, no need to buy – just create your own).
4) Plate to hold the white candle, dragon’s blood incense and dish of protection oil (I reuse the plate used for the banishing material).

The procedure starts with a banishing of negativity from the home. Initiate the banishing in a room at the highest level of living space and work your way down to the basement/cellar (if you have one). At your beginning point light the black candle and sage incense and say, “By fire and air I purify this room of all negative energy and malevolent entities” (or something equivalent). Then dip your finger into the banishing oil and “anoint” some inconspicuous spot in the room (I say “inconspicuous” because the oil tends to leave an unsightly oil smudge. I prefer to “anoint” the top of the door frame, which prevents the oil smudges from being seen).* Proceed in like fashion throughout your entire house/apartment. When finished, find some central location and say, “By fire and air I purify this entire house/apartment so that every space, dark corner and crevice is free of negativity.” Afterwards, you can remove the banishing material from your plate.
After your banishing is complete and you have removed your banishing material from the plate, load your plate with your protecting material and return to the point at which you began your banishing. Light your white candle and dragon’s blood incense and say, “Having banished all negativity from this room, I now establish a wall of protection so that no negative energy or malevolent entity may enter here” (or something equivalent). ). Then dip your finger into the protection oil and “anoint” some inconspicuous spot in the room.* Proceed in like fashion throughout your entire house/apartment. When finished, find some central location and say, “Having banished all negativity from this house/apartment, I now establish a wall of protection around my home so that no negative energy or malevolent entity may enter.”  -  Il est fini.
*If you prefer not to “anoint” a spot in the room, simply dress each candle with their corresponding oils prior beginning the procedure and dispense with the anointing portion of the procedure entirely.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Set Your Watch For A Reality Check

As some of you may be aware (if you have been reading my posts), I am interested in dreamwork, especially lucid dreaming. As such, I am always on the lookout for techniques for inducing lucid dreams. A few weeks ago I wrote about the possibility of using binaural beats to stimulate the onset of lucidity (read that post here). Today, I would like to offer a technique that came to me the other day while scavenging through my cluttered desk. While I was searching for something in the clutter of a desk drawer I came across and old wrist watch that I had bought for my daughter years ago. This is not a typical watch that can be purchased at Walmart, however. It is a watch specifically designed to aid individuals with timed reminders, such as medication taking, bedwetting issues, etc. The specific watch that I have is called “VibraLite 3.” There are other versions of the VibraLite at varying prices. Below is a product description of the VibraLite3 taken from a seller’s web page.
The VibraLITE3 vibrating watch provides a great silent reminder. It features an auto restart countdown mode that vibrates at any time interval you choose (e.g., every two hours). The watch vibrates for approximately 20 seconds, and then automatically resets itself to count down again. Easily pause the countdown timer when a reminder is not needed, and restart it without having to program your interval again! Works great when a silent alert is desired at fixed intervals. You may choose sound and/or vibration or even turn the alarm off without resetting the countdown timer
So, how do I see this watch as an aid to lucid dreaming? Wear the watch with a reminder alarm set to any desired interval, say for example an hour (my preferred interval). Every time the alarm goes off, perform a reality check (of course pause the timer when sleeping and whenever necessary). Hopefully, the timed repetition of reality checks will increase your chances of a reality check while dreaming. Moreover, chances are that at some point the watch itself will enter your dreams and signal for a reality check.

*I am not affiliated with VibraLite nor do I receive any compensation for the sale of VibraLite.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dreamwork with Mugwort

Recently, I came across an herb that has a reputation for being a dream enhancer and, as such, might be of interest to anyone working with dreams. The common name for this herb is Mugwort or more scientifically Artemisia vulgaris. Mugwort is native to Eurasia and Africa but has become naturalized to North America. Within the United States Mugwort can be found in weedy and uncultivated areas, such as waste places, roadsides, and river banks, especially in the eastern coastal regions.
Historically, Mugwort has been used for a variety of purposes. It has been utilized in beer (instead of hops), smoked in lieu of tobacco, used as a food preservative and a “medication” to assist in abortions (just to name a few of its many uses). My interest in Mugwort, however, rests solely with its reputation as a dream enhancer. Those who have worked with Mugwort claim that this herb has the ability to cause vivid dreams. However, they warn that “vivid dreams” does not mean “pleasant dreams” and caution would- be- users that nightmares will also be intensified. While I am relaying a cautionary note about Mugwort, I should perhaps mention that Mugwort oil contains small amounts of Thujone, a neurotoxin that can cause seizures and death in large doses (Thujone has gotten a bad rap as the dangerous component in Absinthe). Due to its long history of safe internal use by humans I am fairly confident that Mugwort poses no significant risk when ingested infrequently and in small dosages (I am neither a doctor nor a specialist in neurotoxins, if you decide to experiment with Mugwort, you do so at your own risk. Please become informed about this herb prior to consumption.)
There are several methods to work with Mugwort. It can be made into a tincture, eaten or smoked. If you are concerned about the safety of taking Mugwort into your body, many claims have been made about Mugwort’s ability to cause vivid dreams by simply placing a leafy branch of the herb near you or under your pillow while you sleep. Indeed, many people suggest making a small dream pillow filled with Mugwort.
Just in case you are wondering, the answer is “no.” I have not worked with Mugwort…yet.  I have been trying to find it growing locally, but have had no success as of this writing. If I don’t end up finding some growing around my hometown, I will surely buy some seeds to be planted next spring.
In closing, I would like to mention that there is an interesting report about the use of Clary Sage in dreamwork. You can read the blog post here.

*If you have any experiences with Mugwort that you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Entrain Your Brain To Lucid Dream

Lucid dreaming is conscious dreamwork. It is the conscious awareness that one is dreaming while in a dream and the directing/exploration of that dream. I would lucid dream quite frequently as a child, although I had no idea what I was doing. It was not until much later that I became informed about lucid dreams and actively sought to cultivate them. Unfortunately, by this time lucid dreaming was something that rarely (and I mean RARELY) occurred. Even after reading many fine books on the techniques of lucid dream induction, I found myself unable to induce lucidity in the dream state with any large degree of success. Today, I am lucky if I have one lucid dream within a year’s time.
Unsatisfied with the rate of lucidity I have so far achieved, I constantly look for new ways to induce a lucid dream. Recently, I discovered a new technique (well , new to me anyway) for inducing a lucid dream. It is a very passive technique and requires only that you relax while listening to a recording of a sound file containing binaural beats. Binaural beats are “sounds” that are ‘heard” in the brain as a result of listening to two minutely different sounds in each ear (headphones are necessary when listening to binaural beats). It has been fairly well established that one’s brainwaves tend to become entrained or synchronized to the frequency of the binaural beats that is being produced by the two similar sounds. Since binaural beats can be produced to mimic the entire spectrum of human brainwave activity, binaural beats can be used to entrain the brain to operate at any of the four (or 5, see postscript below) levels of brainwave activity – namely, beta (active brain), alpha (resting brain), theta (dreaming brain), delta (dreamless sleeping brain).
Many claims have been made as to what can be achieved through the application of binaural beats and their scientific usefulness is hotly debated.  Personally, I tend to see some validity in the claims that binaural beats can be used to enter a state of calm or meditative state, since binaural beats can be produced that mimic a calm or meditative mind (i.e., a mind in the alpha range ≈ 8-12 Hz). When it comes to lucid dreams, however, I am a little less certain. Most binaural beats designed for lucid dreaming that I have encountered are formed with beats that range from roughly 2Hz to 12 Hz, which mimic brainwaves that occur during dreamless sleep (delta), times of dreaming (theta) and restful contemplation (alpha). I am less clear as to how such binaural beats can induce a lucid dream, since they simply entrain a brain to enter states that it already does naturally. If one does not naturally become lucid when he/she enters such states, such as when falling to sleep and upon awakening, how is causing the brain to enter these states through binaural beats going to elicit a lucid response. While I have my doubts about the effectiveness of binaural beats to induce a lucid dream, I have been working with them for nearly three days now. So far, there have been no lucid dreams.
Some research into lucid dreams have suggested that lucidity in dreams occurs when a dreaming brain (theta range ≈ 4-7 Hz) is accompanied by a synchronization of the majority of the brain at the uppermost beta level(≈ 40 Hz) and higher, sometimes called the gamma level. With this in mind I will be creating my own binaural beats recording starting at a low alpha frequency and then dropping down into the theta range. After several minutes of theta (dreaming) I will catapult the frequency to gamma in the attempt to become lucid (I wonder if it is possible to create dual binaural beats so that a brain can be entrained to theta and gamma frequencies simultaneously?) Anyway, if you are interested in lucid dreaming, you may want to experiment with some binaural beats. I am a hard nut to crack. Your success may vary.

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Planetary Magick by Denning and Phillips

For any of you who have an interest in planetary magick, you might be interested to know that Llewellyn has just released a reprint of Denning and Phillips' Planetary Magick. I received my copy yesterday and plan to work through the book over the next several weeks. I am sure I will have something to say about this work in the near future. Anyone experienced with this book and the system of magick it presents? If so, please feel free to leave a comment.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Magical Possibilities In Early Buddhism

Often Buddhism has been portrayed as a rational religion/philosophy devoid of the magical or mystical. When magical practices in Buddhism have been discussed, they have primarily been articulated either within the context of Tantrism or divergent forms of lay practices that have been shaped by outside influences. Nevertheless, magical abilities are well attested in early Buddhist scripture, wherein it has been recorded that the Buddha and many of those who attained liberation (arhat) had acquired several magical or supermundane powers.

In the Pali Sutras the magical abilities of the Buddha and arhats are primarily discussed within the context of two magical groupings – namely, the supernormal powers (iddhi) and the higher knowledges (abhinna) (In the Pali canon the iddhi are oftentimes included among the abhinna).

Most often the supernormal powers (iddhi) appear in standard lists or roughly eight components throughout the Pali scriptures. These are:

1. The ability to multiply one’s body into many bodies and then return to a single body.
2. The ability to become invisible.
3. The ability to pass through solid objects.
4. The ability to rise and sink within the ground.
5. The ability to walk on water.
6. The ability to fly.
7. The ability to touch anything no matter the distance.
8. The ability to travel to the highest realms of existence.
According to Nathan Katz, the supernormal powers (iddhi) are cultivated by means of a practice known as “The Four Steps Leading to Supernormal Power” (cattaro iddhipada).* 

When the supernormal powers (iddhi) are excluded from among their ranks, the higher knowledges (abhinna) are five in number. These are:
1. clairaudience.
2. telepathy.
3. The ability to recall one’s own past lives.
4. The ability to know the karmic destinations of other beings.
5. The knowledge of the extinction of the blockages to liberation.

According to Katz, the higher knowledges (abhinna) begin to arise from absorption (jhana) practices, specifically with the onset of the fifth absorption (jhana).**

*Katz, p. 108.
**Katz, p. 106.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Two Tools For the Eclectic Magician

Working within the confines of a magical tradition has its advantages. One of those advantages is that members are usually given a map of the magical terrain that will be traversed, where already devised rituals are dispensed, magical implements are specifically detailed, entities/powers are enumerated and world views/paradigms are advocated. This does not mean that one’s journey through the magical terrain of a given tradition will be easy. It does, however, mean that the map provided by the tradition will offer its members a means by which they can locate themselves within a magical terrain as well as indicate the pathways by which the landscape may be traversed. Having recognized the usefulness of such maps, I have, over the course of several years, explored various magical traditions in the hopes of finding a system of magical praxis that would provide me with a map or schematic for doing magic. Despite my best efforts, my personal world view has in each instance prohibited me from feeling a sense of compatibility with any particular magical system and the world view it espouses. This state of affairs has made my magical journey an incredibly slow and difficult endeavor. Much like the Borg in the Star Trek universe who go about assimilating life forms into the Collective, I have had to learn to incorporate into my magical repertoire various magical elements that are compatible with the world view or paradigm that I find myself hosting at any given time. As an eclectic magician, I am ever vigilant to discover magical elements that I can incorporate into my ever so slowly expanding magical inventory. I know I am not alone in this endeavor. It is for this reason that I wish to present below two magical items that I have recently constructed. I do not expect these two items to be duplicated by other seeking eclectics, however. Rather, I hope that by sharing these two items I can generate some ideas that will assist the eclectic magician on his or her own magical journey.

The first item is designed to be a home for a servitor who will assist me in penetrating nebulous situations with both insight and foresight. It was constructed from corn starch clay and shaped and painted to look like an open book. On the two pages that lie open I have painted the words “insight” (left) and “foresight” (right) in sigilized form. I used yellow to draw the “insight” sigil on account that this mental ability appears (to me) to be an air element and blue to draw the “foresight” sigil since this mental ability appears (to me) to be a water element. On the back of the book (bottom of object) I have painted a sigilized form of the servitor’s name in green (not shown for security purposes). The color green was chosen on account that the servitor is an entity created from a mixture of both air (yellow) and water (blue) elements.


The second item is designed to trap all negative energies within my house and permit their disposal. It too was constructed from corn starch clay. As the object’s initial objective is to trap the negative energies in my home, it was given a triangular shape (viz., triangle of invocation and spirit trap) and painted black (an absorbing color that is associated with banishing and protection).  To help lure the negative energies to the object some personal artifacts from each of the members of my family were included within the object during its formation. Also, each of the object’s three sides displays the name of a family member in sigilized form in its corresponding astrological color (not pictured for security reasons). The top of the object was constructed in such a fashion that it would easily and securely hold an egg. Once the object draws the negative energies to itself they will become absorbed by the egg, which then can be discarded.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Working With The Expansive Energies Of Jupiter

Working with the sphere of Jupiter can be rewarding. Since Jupiter’s energies are primarily concerned with expansion and increase, they facilitate “the more” in one’s life and thus can lead to wealth, prosperity and abundance (among other outcomes). For those among you who plan to work with Jupiter to attain this “abundance,” I would just like to offer a word of caution and some advice.

While your Jupiter working may be intended to bring about a positive outcome, you should be fully aware that the energies of Jupiter are quite capable of manifesting unintentional and unwanted negative side effects through your magic. My recent encounter with Jupiterian energies is a good case in point. Having recently found myself burdened with some unexpected debt, I was quite pleased to receive a general Jupiter blessing from Rufus Opus, author of Head For The Red blog (link to the blessing). The day after receiving this blessing it became clear to me that my debt would easily be accommodated. I would be able to pay off the debt by tapping into some vacation pay. This was a sweet deal. A harder pill to swallow was that I also found myself “asked” to pick up an additional shift at work for a couple of weeks. This expansion of my weekly wages, however, though helpful, came at a cost – working sixty-five hours a week for an undetermined period of time. The expansion of my work week was not only unintentional but unwanted as well. I have come to consider it as negative fallout from RO’s blessing.
My brief brush with the energies of Jupiter, while not entirely pleasant, has been informative. I have learned something of the sphere of Jupiter and wish to pass my meager reflections on to you, especially with respect to mitigating some of the negative fallout that may be experienced through working with Jupiter’s energies.
Prior to any Jupiter operation one should ask him or herself a few simple questions.
1. Do I need more?
2. Do I want more?

3. Can I handle more?

If you can answer “yes” to 1-3 or 2 and 3, any negative ramifications of your Jupiter working should be minimal. If you cannot, then I suggest you rethink your desire for “the more” of Jupiter. You can certainly do a Jupiter working if you can answer “yes” to 1 and 3, but the negative repercussions will be substantially higher.

Lastly, make sure you provide some intended avenues through which the expansive energies of Jupiter can flow. In my case, the energies of Jupiter where not directed (i.e., general blessing) and they took the easiest path to manifestation through my only source of income – my job. In other words, make sure any Jupiter working has an intended and specified sphere or field to expand. But be sure to have these spheres or fields in place before the Jupiter working, as Jupiter’s energies often come on quickly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can You Recognize Bullshit When You Encounter It?

Can you recognize bullshit when you encounter it? If you can, think again. According to Harry G. Frankfurt, renowned moral philosopher and professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, we only have a vague understanding as to what constitutes bullshit. Thankfully, to help redress our imprecise understanding of bullshit, H. G. Frankfort has, with his penetrating analytical mind, provided us, in his work entitled On Bullshit, with a philosophical analysis of bullshit with the aim of devolping a theory or theoretical understanding of bullshit. Does Frankfort’s work smell of bull doody? I highly recommend that you read this small publication to determine the answer for yourself. It is a great read!

I have reproduced the first two paragraphs of On Bullshit below so that you may have a better understanding of the author’s intentions, as well as to (hopefully) whet your appetite for a deeper understanding and appreciation of bullshit.

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit.  Everyone knows this.  Each of us contributes his share.  But we tend to take the situation for granted.  Most people are rather confident of their ability to recognize bullshit and to avoid being taken in by it.  So the phenomenon has not aroused much deliberate concern, nor attracted much sustained inquiry.

In consequence, we have no clear understanding of what bullshit is, why there is so much of it, or what functions it serves. And we lack a conscientiously developed appreciation of what it means to us. In other words, we have no theory. I propose to begin the development of a theoretical understanding of bullshit, mainly by providing some tentative and exploratory philosophical analysis. I shall not consider the rhetorical uses and misuses of bullshit. My aim is simply to give a rough account of what bullshit is and how it differs from what it is not—or (putting it somewhat differently) to articulate, more or less sketchily, the structure of its concept.(On Bullshit, pp. 1-2.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Modeling Your Magic

Sometimes you just can't buy the right magical implement at you local Five & Dime. Sometimes, the only tool for the job must be made. When this is the case I usually lower my head in despair because I am severely challenged when it comes to the arts. Luckily, I recently came across a quick and easy recipe for making a type of clay that can be readily shaped, dried, and painted. I am in the process of making some needed tools for my alter from this material and am finding it useful, ergo I am going to share it with you. Chances are that you have all the ingredients already in your home.

You will need:

1) A small cooking pot.
2) A stirring utensil.
3) Salt
4) Corn Starch
5) Rubber/latex gloves
6) 1 1/3 cups water
7) Measuring cup

Place 2/3 cup water and 2 cups salt into small pan on a stove, stir, and bring to a boil. The mixture should slightly liquefy and bubbles should form around the inside edges of the pan. If the mixture is too thick to boil, add a small amount of water. The mixture should be thick.

While you are waiting for the salt and water to boil, mix 2/3 cup water and one cup corn starch in a separate dish.

When the water/salt mixture bubbles, add the water/cornstarch mixture to the pan and stir until ingredients clump together. This happens quickly.

Remove the ingredients and knead the mixture like you would bread dough (Umm, need I say the mixture will be hot. Wear some protective gloves!)

Total yield is about 1 1/2 pounds of clay.

Just a tad bit smaller than a grapefruit (of course you can increase or decrease the amount of ingredients depending on the job you need).

Form the clay into whatever it is you need. Just for fun, and demonstration purposes, I made a quick human-like figure and a candle holder. (I told you I was artistically challenged!)

I have recently made a spirit house/fetish and a negativity/spell trap using the above recipe ( I will be blogging about these two items in the next few weeks). It took about 4 weeks for the items to dry and harden enough to paint.

So, get your ingredients together this weekend and make some magic!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Jesus The Magician (Post 9: Chapter 8 Summary)

(Prior posts in the series are located in Category "Jesus the Magician")

Smith opens Chapter 8 by discussing the importance of the apologetic material that appears within the gospels. Firstly, he argues that the very existence of apologetic material in the gospels points to negative traditions that had to be answered; they had to be either admitted or denied. Furthermore, these oppositional traditions would by necessity predate the apologetic responses that are imbedded within the gospels. These traditions, according to Smith, stem from scribal reports during the time of Jesus. Smith then proceeds to look for points of intersection between events touted within the gospels and those preserved within the negative traditions as possible indicators of historical veracity. According to Smith, it is the miracles of Jesus that are the primary feature in both the polemical and apologetical material. For Smith, these miracle stories are especially important as they provide the basis for Jesus’ teachings and are the foundation upon which Jesus’ identity is later established.
The fact that Jesus (purportedly) performed miracles does not, according to Smith, however, necessarily make Jesus a magician. He points out that there are numerous accounts within the gospels of individuals performing miraculous actions, such as the exorcisms of demons, who are not charged with being a magician. The fact that Jesus was early on accused of being a magician while other exorcists were not, however, clearly indicates for our author that differences existed between Jesus’ miracles and those done by individuals not seen as magicians. What was it about Jesus’ miracles that led him to be viewed as a magician? Firstly, it was alleged by the outsider tradition that Jesus’ had a demon and performed his miracles/exorcisms by way of the power of this indwelling spirit. It is Smith’s opinion that some of the events surrounding Jesus most assuredly contributed to this opinion. He provides the examples of Jesus being driven into the desert for forty days and nights, his being restrained by family members who thought him to be out of his mind, as well as his neglect of the Law. Indeed, it was, according to Smith, very likely Jesus’ neglect of the Law that most incited the scribes to spread malicious rumors about him.
He writes,
On a practical level, it is easy to understand that a small class of small town lawyers and teachers, who owe their prestige and income to the Law, would detest a fellow who publicly neglected it, would hate to see him attract large crowds and would spread malicious charges to discredit him. (144)
While it is Smith’s contention that traces of magical traditions linger within the gospels, he argues that many of these preserved stories have been edited in such a way as to remove many of the magical details. He sees the story of Jesus’ baptism and the descent of the spirit as a prime example of an abbreviated version of an account relayed within the magical papyri. Thus, based upon the position that magical elements have been edited from the gospels and the writings of other New Testament scholars, Smith argues that behind the Jesus of the gospels there lurked within the Christian tradition an earlier Jesus whose activities closely resembled those of Jesus the Magician. Consequently, he argues that when magical elements appear within the gospels it is less likely that they have been added by the tradition than they have survived from the earlier or more primitive form of the cult.  This is because, according to Smith, the early Church found the magical elements an embarrassment and strove to excise them from the tradition. Thus, Smith proposes that those magical elements within the texts that did survive the editor’s hand likely stem from the earliest days of the movement, indeed, from its founder. Interestingly, while Smith contends that much of the gospel’s magical elements likely belong to a very early period within the tradition, he regards many of the stories that link Jesus to the Old Testament/Judaic tradition suspect on account that Jesus was criticized for not following or upholding the Law. According to Smith, many of these Jewish elements first came into the tradition with James and Paul.
To conclude this chapter Smith offers three official portraits of Jesus that could possibly account for the rise of the tradition preserved within the gospels: Jesus Christ the son of God, given by the gospels as they stand; Jesus the magician, given by the hostile tradition; Jesus the god, given by the early primitive Christian tradition. For Smith, all three traditions are not only expressions of propaganda but are incredible in that they explain the phenomena of Jesus’ life in terms of “the mythological world of deities and demons that do not exist.” (149)  Moreover, Smith dismisses many of the miracles as obvious inventions, such as Jesus walking on the water and his multiplication of food. These are, for Smith, best explained not as misunderstandings but as fictions. While he finds many of the miracles to be incredible, he does acknowledge that most of the miracles reported are at least possible if they are stripped of the explanations that make them miracles. For example, Smith claims that Jesus could not cast out demons because there are none, but he could and probably did quiet lunatics. In other words, for Smith, the quieting of lunatics by Jesus, a probable real event,  was erroneously interpreted as the casting out of demons. For Smith, the entirety of the evidence would suggest that Jesus probably did use magical methods that may have worked for psychological reasons. While Smith discounts a supernatural dimension to Jesus’ miracles, he does nevertheless proffer that many of Jesus’ miracles were probably efficacious.

*This concludes my series of chapter summaries of Morton Smith’s Jesus the Magician. I have chosen not to summarize the Appendices. While I have undertaken this project primarily for my own benefit (summarizing helps me to learn the material), I had also hoped that publishing this series of posts would be of some use to the readers of my blog. If you found Smith’s work intriguing (whether you agree or disagree with his thought processes and conclusions), I would highly recommend that you read the text for yourself. While I have earnestly attempted to faithfully set forth Smith’s
position(s), I am sure that I have not only left a great deal unwritten, but have probably misunderstood him on occasion.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New Blogger Talks Of Almadel Experiences

A new blogger on the scene relays his experiences with an Almadel operation. For those interested in all things Ars Almadel, you might want to take a peek here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jesus The Magician (Post 8: Chapter 7 Summary)

(Prior posts in the series are located in Category "Jesus the Magician")

Having spent several of the preceding chapters delineating the view of Jesus held by his adversaries Smith again returns to examine the views of Jesus’ proponents. While Smith has argued that Jesus was typically viewed as a magician by his opponents, he proffers here that many of Jesus’ proponents understood Jesus to be a magician as well. To support his position he points to Acts 19.19, which he claims demonstrates the extent to which the early church continued to follow the magical tradition that had been passed down from the time of Jesus. Indeed, for our author the accusation of magic was not entirely a malicious invention, it in fact reflected actual practice within the early church. In support of this position Smith appeals to the existence of the Christian magical papyri and amulets that have been found in Egypt.

In the remainder of the chapter Smith draws multiple parallels between events depicted within the gospels and events occurring within the magical papyri. The first to be considered is the baptism of Jesus and the descent of the (holy) spirit. Smith makes the case that this story, which he claims lacks a Jewish basis, closely resembles magical stories/techniques where a magician acquires a helpful spirit/demon that permits the working of miracles. Interestingly, according to Smith, it is this purported event that led to the notion of the “sonship” of Jesus (“This is my beloved Son”). For smith the appellation “son of god” has clear parallels within the magical tradition. He points out that while the author of Mark (and later tradition) linked the notion of “son of god” with the notion of ”Messiah,” the title “son of god” has no such correlation within Judaism. Moreover, it primarily appears in relation to miracle stories within the gospels rather than stories concerned with the notion of ‘Messhiaship.” For Smith, the title “son of god” implies a conceptual type, namely – “a supernatural being in human form that performs miracles by his own divine power (see discussion of “divine man” in earlier post). Furthermore, according to Smith the use of “son of god” within Hebrew and Aramaic was a convention to designate a member of a particular class. Accordingly, to say that Jesus is a “son of god” would have been tantamount to saying that Jesus is a god. Thus, according to the author, what we have in the gospels is the story of a man made a god by a rite of purification followed by the opening of the heavens and the coming of a spirit. According to Smith, such stories are plentiful in the magical papyri. Next Smith considers the story of Jesus being driven into the desert for forty days and nights where he is tempted by Satan. This he claims fits the pattern of a magician’s life, especially that of a shaman who typically begins his/her career by withdrawing into solitude where he/she is subjected to a program of testing and arduous ordeals. According to Smith, it is after his “shamanic ordeal” that Jesus performs his first miracles in Galilee. For Smith these miracles are what would be expected from a typical miracle worker/magician, namely - winning disciples, exorcisms and cures. In fact, the author claims that the types of miracles Mark records Jesus to have performed in Galilee are drawn entirely from the magician’s repertoire. Indeed, it was, in Smith’s view, the close parallels between the miracles of Jesus and the types of miraculous events ascribed to magicians that enabled Jesus’ adversaries to label him a magician.

In addition to those parallels mentioned above, Smith offers his readers numerous other instances where he finds parallels between gospel material and contemporary magical texts. I will not present them all here. There are two that I would like to mention, however. The first, being the semblance of the Eucharistic meal at the Last Supper with a type of adoration/ bonding meal preserved within the magical papyri. According to Smith, a typical magical meal is described in the magical treatises as providing the partakers of the meal with enchanted food to cause affection or love. Oftentimes the food is identified with the body and/or blood of a deity with whom the presiding magician is identified. Thus, the food is also the body and blood of the magician. Whoever partakes of the meal is therefore united in love with the magician. For Smith, the Eucharistic meal more closely reflects meals within the magical traditions than it does any possible Jewish source. He emphatically states, “To try to derive them (i.e., the Eucharistic meals) from the Passover ritual or any other Jewish rite is ludicrous. Strange as some rituals of Judaism may be, they do not include eating people.” Lastly, our author finds parallels between the world view preserved within the gospels and the world view preserved within the magical papyri. While Smith admits that these parallels cannot be carried too far, since similarities in world view are to be expected, he does find it intriguing that both the gospels and the magical texts share in common what he calls “theoretical monotheism with practical polytheism.” Specifically, Smith sees both the hierarchical structure of supernatural beings under the one God and the manner in which Jesus dealt with such entities in the gospels to be strikingly similar to the manner in which magicians were described to have dealt with such spirits, especially with respect to exorcisms.

To end this brief summary of a very detailed chapter I would like to quote our author as he reminds us what he is and is not trying to do. He is not trying to uncover the historical Jesus, but rather to uncover an early view of Jesus held by many of Jesus’ adversaries and followers alike, namely – Jesus the magician.

Smith states,

Our primary concern in this chapter has not been to determine what Jesus did, but to analyze the gospels’ account of what he did and to point out the elements which correspond with magical material and which therefore, although preserved in the Christian stories of his life, provided evidence for a picture of Jesus the magician.


The picture in this chapter has been drawn entirely from the gospels, the accounts of Jesus given by his own followers. We have merely read the gospels with some knowledge of ancient magical material and noted what, in the light of that material, the gospel stories and sayings really say.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Get Your Witchery On!

If you are not familiar with the series of videos on YouTube by Krazyboy I would highly suggest that you become acquainted with them. Krazyboy gives presentations on general magical techniques as well as techniques specific to Hoodoo, Brujeria and Santeria, etc. I found his videos to be both interesting and informative. Check them out here.

Below is a makeshift oil lamp I made at work after I watched one of his videos (well, I was impressed anyway).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Jesus The Magician (Post 7: Chapter 6 Summary)

(Prior posts in the series are located in Category "Jesus the Magician")

Smith begins Chapter Six by making the case that the mark of a magician is, sin que non, a miraculous act and that, based upon the writings of Justin and Celsus, the title “son of god” was used in popular thought as an alternative label to designate a “miracle man.” This, he states, is why the title “son of god” is almost always used in the synoptic gospels in connection with miracle stories. An example of one such miracle worker/magician whose claims to divinity was well known during the time of the composition of John’s gospel was, according to our author, Simon Magus from Samaria. According to Smith it was apparently Jesus’ resemblance to Simon Magus that prompted his critics to label him a Samaritan (like Simon Magus).

Next, Smith demonstrates that early Christian writers such as Origin were forced to admit that the miracles of Jesus closely resembled the miraculous acts that were performed by magicians. However, Origin is quick to point out those factors which distinguish Jesus’ miraculous acts from those that a magician would perform. According to Origin, Jesus’ miracles do not resemble any of those performed by magicians (i.e., goetes) on account that Jesus utilized his miracles as a platform to teach those that were amazed by the spectacles the fear of God and to call them to moral reformation (As a side note, Smith points out that the miracle stories within the synoptic gospels are not usually connected with Jesus’ teaching stories. Thus he takes the position that Jesus’ miracle stories and his teaching stories probably circulated independently of one another, thereby suggesting that the activities did as well.) Smith then argues that other Christians followed suit and, like Origin, conceded that Jesus’ miracles resembled the miraculous acts of magicians. Like Origin they too found other criteria to distinguish the miracles of Jesus from those of the magicians. According to Smith, the typical maneuver of these Christians was to reduce the idea of a “magician” to its lowest standard of the scoundrelous goes. In doing so they were able to assert that Jesus, given that he did not resemble this character, was not a magician (As a side note, Smith reminds us that the notion of “magician” in Palestine had a wide range of meanings that do not fit this characterization of a magician. In other words, Smith argues that while the early Christians denied that Jesus was a magician, they were denying a very limited and specific type of magician, principally the scoundrel or criminal type. According to Smith, this tactic was an intentional misrepresentation of the accusation to deny the charges of Jesus’ accusers).

Smith brings the chapter to a close by comparing the stories of Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana, noting both the historical similarities between the activities of Jesus and Apollonius and the legends that sprang forth as a result of these activities. For Smith, the most noteworthy facts to discern from such a comparison is that both Jesus and Apollonius were believed to be a “son of god” by their followers (i.e., a being of supernatural power) and that both were accused of being magicians by their enemies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Jesus the Magician (Post 6: Chapter 5 Summary)

(Prior posts in the series are located in Category "Jesus the Magician")
In previous chapters Morton Smith argues that those who opposed Jesus or remained outside his circle of followers considered him a magician. In Chapter 5 he takes a look at some of the notions of a magician as a personality type that were circulating in Palestine during the time of Jesus. First, he considers the types of magicians that stem from Greco-Roman and Persian sides of Palestinian culture of Jesus’ day. According to Smith, the common Greek word for magician at the time of Jesus was goes (goetes, plural). He relays that this term was usually but not necessarily abusive in use. Smith understands the goes to be a type of Greek shaman who functioned primarily at death rites where, after entering an ecstatic trance, he (/she?) would accompany the dead on their journey to the underworld. The author contends that the goetes where known for their persuasive abilities. Accordingly, a persuasive orator might often find him/herself being referred to as either a sophist or a goes. Apparently, the goetes were also known for their persuasive influence among the gods. According to Smith the goetes were often times thought to be able to charm the gods through sacrifices, prayers and spells. Smith also points out that the related term goeteia, which for Herodotus meant a form of magic that transformed its practitioners into werewolves, was likely associated with goetes as well. For others, goeteia was used as a general term for deceit. Thus, a goes was often identified as a deceiver or scoundrel. As a consequence, it appears that at the time of Plato a person identified as a goes was subject to arrest. A second type of magician known in the Palestinian world of Jesus’ day was the magos (magoi, plural), who, according to Smith, was a step above the goes. Smith relays that the real magoi were a priestly clan of Media that came onto the Greek scene when the King of Medes and Persians conquered the Greek cities of Asia Minor. Smith conveys that Herodotus saw the magoi as interpreters of dreams, omens and portents, as well as being instrumental as officiates in private and public sacrifices. According to Smith, the term magos, due to an increasing rationalization, became derogatory in nature much like goes. Magos could mean quack and their practice could be linked to the ingestion of drugs and the deceit of the gods. Oftentimes cannibalism and the ability to send living humans into the realm of the dead and bring them back to the world of the living was attributed to them as well. Despite the rather negative use of the term in later times, it is pointed out by Smith that the terms magos, magoi, and mageia (what magoi practice) continued to have a higher degree of prestige than goes, goetes and goeteia. This was due mainly to a lingering memory of the magoi as a priestly caste connected with ancient powers, such as the ability to placate the gods. The last of the Greco-Roman/Persian terms for magician discussed by Smith is divine man (Greek not provided). Smith points out that whereas an individual was likely to call his/her enemy a goes (or sometimes magos) the same individual would likely refer to his/her friend as a divine man. According to Smith, a divine man was either a god or demon in disguise moving about in the world in a seemingly human form. Because of his indwelling divine nature a divine man could perform magic without resorting to rituals and spells. Smith argues that it was this ability, the ability to operate ritual-free, that was the defining characteristic of a divine man. Smith points out that the dividing line between a divine man and a spell/ritual utilizing magician could at times become blurred, as the Greek magical papyri describe a number of rites by which a magician can obtain a powerful spirit as a constant companion and thereby dispense with rites and spells. Other rites intended to deify the magician either by joining the magician with some god or by changing the very essence of the magician’s soul as to make it divine. According to Smith, anyone deified in this way would for all intents and purposes be indistinguishable from a divine man. Despite this blurring of magical roles, Smith points out that the term divine man did not carry any of the negative connotations attached to the terms goes and magos. While the perceptions of the goes, magos, and divine man varied widely in Palestine ranging from scoundrel/criminal to a deity in disguise, Smith points out that a revision in the Roman law code in 82-81 B.C. (which remained valid until approximately 529 A.D.) branded the practice of magic as a criminal act punishable by crucifixion, being thrown to the beasts or burned alive. Although Smith acknowledges some squabbling as to what constituted punishable magic, he asserts that magic as a practice was, for the most part, deemed a prohibited act during Jesus’ time.
After his examination of three Greco-Roman and Persian magical types Smith takes a look at some Semitic notions of magical personalities. According to Smith, a general tendency within Semitic circles was to identify magic with madness. He claims this is probably do to the ambiguity in many folks minds as to whether a magician had a spirit or whether the spirit had the magician (he argues here and previously that this ambiguity with respect to Jesus is clearly demonstrated in the gospels). Next he turns to discuss the ba’al ‘ob (“master of a divining spirit”) mentioned in the Old Testament. These magical practitioners were thought to have in their possession (or be possessed by) one of the “divining spirits” (‘obot, plural of ‘ob). According to Smith, the ‘obot are a mysterious class of beings often associated with spirits of the dead but are probably better understood as underworld deities. Smith relays that an ‘ob can enter into a human and remain therein for extended periods of time. Since the ‘ob is the source of the magician’s power, the ba’al ‘ob closely resemble the divine man in that he too can perform magic devoid of rituals or spells. While the ba’al ‘ob may have been viewed as a type of divine entity by many, such individuals do not seem to have been well received by the Jewish priestly class as Smith points out that priestly law dictates that a ba’al ’ob is to be stoned. Despite the negative view of the ba’al ‘ob among the priestly class, Smith demonstrates that magic was not wholly condemned by the priests by pointing to the high regard in which Solomon, both King of Israel and a practicing magician, was held in Semitic circles.

*(Smith acknowledges a resemblance between the perceived activities of magicians and Israelite prophets. Since he wishes to discuss only the concepts of “magician” here, he has relegated a discussion of the prophets and their relationship to magic to Appendix B.)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jesus The Magician (Post 5: Chapter 4 Summary)

(Prior posts in the series are located in Category "Jesus the Magician")

In Chapter 4 Morton Smith examines a number of early depictions of Jesus by non-Christians that have been preserved outside of the Christian gospels. First Smith takes a look at the earliest non-Christian work to reference Jesus – namely, Josephus’ Antiquities. It is pointed out that not much can be gleamed from the two passages that mention Jesus in Antiquities. The first passage merely references Jesus as the brother of James who was illegally brought to trial and executed. The second passage as it exists today is, according to Smith, a rewrite with numerous Christian elements inserted at some point subsequent to its original composition. Accounting for these extraneous Christian elements, the author conveys that the original composition likely advanced the view that Jesus was a miracle worker who led the Jews astray and who indulged in impiety while claiming to be more than a man.

Next Smith considers some of the portrayals of Jesus preserved within rabbinic stories that stem roughly from the same time as Josephus’ Antiquities. In one of the stories ascribed to the distinguished rabbi Eliezer, Jesus is identified as the son of Panteri/Pantera (and its variants). Smith points out that this name was not a very common name at the time and speculates that one possible candidate for this mysterious “Pantera” might be a Sidonian archer named Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, who served in Palestine about the time of Jesus’ birth. Next Smith considers another very cryptic passage by Eliezer in which he sees hidden references to Jesus as someone educated in magic and tattooed with spells during a sojourn in Egypt.

After completing his examination of rabbinic literature, Smith turns to an inspection of the Roman depictions of Jesus preserved in the reports of Suetonius and Tacitus, two Roman historians who were active in the early second century. He also touches upon the writings of Lucian, a Roman poet. Some of the charges brought against Jesus in these writings contain the accusations that Jesus promoted “hatred of the human race” and “cannibalism,” both of which Smith argues were common charges against magicians.

Subsequently, Smith turns to an assessment of Palestinian anti-Christian propaganda preserved and responded to by the Christian apologist Justin Martyr, who wrote in Rome between 150 and 165 A.D. It is pointed out by Smith that we learn from Justin that Christianity is viewed by many as a “godless and libertine heresy” that originated with Jesus, a Galilean magician. Justin’s writings also indicate that the Palestinian priests and Sanhedrin denied the resurrection and claimed that Jesus’ body was stolen.

Smith argues that all of the preceding depictions of Jesus stem from Palestinian traditions originating from direct observations of Jesus. According to Smith, a slightly different depiction of Jesus began to emerge from pagan observations of Christian communities in the Diaspora. These depictions portray Jesus as a teacher who introduced a new “initiation,” which Smith contends should be interpreted as meaning that Jesus was viewed as the founder of a new mystery cult.

To round off this chapter Smith makes the case that the very fact that Jesus was later invoked as a source of magical power in both Christian and pagan spells and exorcisms indicates the existence of a longstanding tradition that links Jesus with magic. He also contends that the very nature of early Christian communities themselves probably helped to perpetuate the idea that Jesus and his followers where practicing magicians. According to Smith, Christian talk of mutual love and the Christian community’s inclination to refer to its members as “brothers” and “sisters,” when taken together, led to charges of promiscuity and incest. The idea of Christian communalism led to speculations of polyamorous relationships between husbands and wives. Above all, the practice of the Eucharist led to charges of cannibalism. According to Smith, all of the above charges leveled against the Christian communities were charges typical of those leveled against magicians as well.

To bring an end to the chapter Smith combines the views of Jesus’ opponents preserved both within and outside the gospels to offer a sketch of Jesus’ life “as it was pictured by those who did not become his disciples.” (Smith, 67)

What follows below is Smith’s “sketch” of the life of “Jesus the Magician” in its entirety.

The son of a soldier named Panthera and a peasant woman married to a carpenter, Jesus was brought up in Nazareth as a carpenter, but left his home town and, after unknown adventures, arrived in Egypt where he became expert in magic and was tattooed with magical symbols or spells. Returning to Galilee he made himself famous by his magical feats, miracles he did by his control of demons. He thereby persuaded the masses that he was the Jewish Messiah and/or the son of a god. Although he pretended to follow the Jewish customs, he formed a small circle of intimate disciples whom he taught to despise the Jewish Law and to practice magic. These he bound together and to himself by ties of “love,” meaning sexual promiscuity, and by participation in the most awful magical rites, including cannibalism – they had some sort of ritual meal in which they ate human flesh and drank blood. Surrounded by this circle he travelled from town to town deceiving many and leading them into sin. But he was not always successful. The members of his own family did not believe him; when he went back to Nazareth his townspeople rejected him and he could do no miracle there. Stories of his libertine teaching and practice leaked out and began to circulate. The scribes everywhere opposed him and challenged his claims. Finally, when he went to Jerusalem the high priests had him arrested and turned him over to Pilate, charging him with the practice of magic and sedition. Pilate had him crucified, but this did not put an end to the evil. His followers stole his body from the grave, claimed he had risen from the dead, and, as a secret society, perpetuated his practices. (Smith, 67)