Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Occultist's Secrets [2012 Intro Post]

Between Franz Bardon, Peter J. Carroll, and Phil Hine, the magicians I've paid the most attention to, they agree that secrecy is a vital part of being a good occultist. One must document their journey, but for all of the diaries and records that a person on the Path (or what have you) keeps, they should not be shared with anyone, much less the world.

That's partially why this blog has received very little attention. If I were to spill the sigils and other occult drawings I own onto the web, would that lessen their effectiveness? Maybe a bit. I could present to you some of my favorite designs, but would they work any better for you than something you've created yourself? It's debatable.

I won't waste your time speaking about the power of secrets, as that should be fairly obvious to anyone who has held any for long enough. For 2012, I may make it a goal to update this blog with a meaningful post at least once a month. If that goal is viable at all, you'll see another pretty big post within the week, regarding the future of Religious Object[] and my own spiritual journey.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Religious Object: Bible

Let me tell you the story of the first real Bible I remember owning. Here it is, my standard KJV that looks new, useable, and written by GOD HIMSELF. At least, that's what they tell me.

I should mention that I got this on Halloween. Yes, I was probably around 10, and I was trick-or-treating with my best friend when we were brought to this big house (at the age of 10, big is apparently the only adjective I bothered to remember), and we were received by a southern-sounding man and a heavy plunk of Bible hitting the bottom of our plastic jack-o-lanterns. No candy.

I vaguely recall being briefly brought inside this man's home, wherein the horrible Halloween predator asked my friend if he believed in Jesus. I remember my friend answering meekly, but seriously: "Yeah, I believe in Jesus." (For the record, I'm not sure he would say the same today.)

When I finally found myself at home later that evening, lamenting the fact that a brick of a Bible had blocked the entry of other Halloween treats that night, I opened the book to find this:

A book of Catholic prayers (barely pictured) was stuck in there for good measure, too.

There you go: my Bible. I hope to use this thing more. For what? I'm not sure yet.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soka Gakkai International: Reflections

We pull up alongside the curb of a stranger's home. The muggy drizzle fogs up our windows and we stop ourselves from leaving the car before we know what we're doing here. We go over the our questions and our professor's guidelines once again, wait until the hour rounds out, and leave the vehicle to attend our first cult meeting.

Soka Gakkai International is a lay Buddhist sect whose practitioners attempt to bring their inner Buddha into manifestation through Buddhist practice. My group and I came to this place for our class on New Religious Movements in to study what one of SGI's "discussion meetings" are like up close.

Our host was a man named John Paxton, who greeted us at the door, made a joke about college kids sitting in a fogged up car, and told us that "we remove our shoes". John had a friendly British accent as well as a caring, informal personality. We would see how informal shortly.

One of the main practices of SGI members is chanting. They chant a mantra which can do just about anything -- like praying, you keep a goal in mind, and chanting this formula is supposed to make it happen. So, we were led to a room which has an assortment of chairs situated towards the center of the room, where a scroll is placed inside of a wooden display case. This scroll is the Gohonzon, the focus of chanting, or, the object of worship. One man is already chanting quietly, situated directly in front of the scroll and a small gong.

John Paxton introduces us to some of the other members, such as the owners of the home we're in now. SGI's discussion meetings usually do take place in the private residences of members. We are seated, told where the bathroom is, and wait patiently. We were told ahead of time that chanting would come first, for a half an hour, and then we would see just what "discussion" would be like. Some people in my group weren't looking forward to what would certainly be a long half hour of chanting.

About twenty-five people were present for the meeting, including my group. Ethnically, the group was very diverse.

Well, the chanting started. At first, I was surprised at how informal it was. People were still shuffling in when the chanting begun and others took breaks from chanting to greet each other. John Paxton even got up, went all the way across the room, and told us where the bathroom was again, in the middle of the chanting. This wasn't Sunday at the Catholic Church, that's for sure.

The mantra, known as the Daimoku, is chanted in Japanese: "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō". It means, roughly, "I devote myself to the wonderful/honorable Lotus Sutra". It is the Lotus Sutra which is inscribed on the Gohonzon, and I could probably talk to you about it in more detail, but that's not what matters here. What matters is the unison of voice I heard, reverberating around the room, of this inspiring chant, which was picking up. Over and over, "Nam Myōhō Renge Kyō". John Paxton's voice boomed and each syllable was given even and rhythmic attention. Each members hands were held together as in prayer, and some members held beads over it. My foundation shook from the force of experiencing religion this closely after a long period without it. I honestly wanted to try it out for myself, right here, in front of all of these people, but I couldn't bring myself to do it due to my silent peers sitting next to me. Still, I wonder if they were feeling as inspired as I was at that moment.

The members of SGI went into another chant, this one long and varied, complicated and quick: it was also in Japanese, and the rhythm was almost musical. I later found out that everyone in my group was impressed by its complexity and the way that some of the members had it memorized. Afterwards, the chanting stopped. It certainly didn't feel like a half hour had passed, but it had.

Other Voices
Our experience with rhythm and SGI wasn't done just yet, though. The woman whose home we were in lifted her guitar from its place in the room and sheets of lyrics were passed around to a song that she apparently wrote. The song was titled "Who we are". We were invited to just follow along with the melody and sing with the group. So the members and I (don't know about my peers) did just that. It was nice. I can still remember the first stanza:

  We take action to
  That our lives are going
  Will be ours~

It was nice. I can honestly say that I haven't been in a group that was so open to others this much at all, and I'm not sure when, in the future, I will again.

What do members of a new Buddhist-based religious movement discuss among themselves? Well (and I think this was for our benefit) their history. The main point of discussion, though, ended up being on the concept of "Actual Proof" and how it legitimizes their chosen system of belief, i.e. Buddhism. The idea is that you can legitimize your religion through historical and documental proof, but "Actual Proof" is all that matters. And SGI is quite practical. The proof that chanting the Daimoku will bring your prosperity in all its forms is in the practice. It just works, whether you believe in it or not.

So we got to hear some of the members' stories, how chanting makes one mother's day soar by in good spirits, or how John Paxton's life was turned completely around by the practice over 30 years ago. I think what was the most inspiring about hearing this discussion was the openness the members clearly had in speaking to another, and empathizing with each other about their life journeys. I found that SGI's inclusion of discussion as part of religious practice here was enlightening. The movement doesn't just claim to want to bring the world together, they do so by having these open meetings wherein people can be socially accepted with sharing their ideas, hardships and triumphs. I would return to school that day feeling like I was missing something by not being a part of this movement. Maybe I was just missing Religion in general.

I do have a lot more to say about SGI in the future, but I think this post has run on quite a bit. Please leave me a comment if you have any lingering questions about my experience, or any constructive criticism if you feel my article rambled on in the wrong parts. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011


While looking through an online store for some reading material on the Occult, I came across a lecture given by notable Chaos magician Phil Hine, on the subject of Curses and Cursing.

Hine's view resonated with me: he held the opinion that there are times when cursing someone to let your anger out, when there is no other way of doing so, is preferable to letting it roil inside your own body. More importantly, cursing should be done with even-headed consideration, not particularly because of a belief in karmic/cosmic laws, but because one should think more strongly about where their morals are in general, and think critically about any decision they want to make.

My first real exposure to a curse that I took rather seriously was in Genesis, wherein the Lord declares to Adam, Eve, and the Serpent what will befall them for their unified 'transgression'. His words are, obviously, quite powerful, including one phrase I remember because it stuck with me: "You [Adam] will strike at his head, and he [the Serpent] will strike at your heel".

Other curses that I have studied in the past include some work done by practitioners of hoodoo, and the Evil Eye as it "occurs" in South Asian religious traditions. What is interesting about the concept of the Evil Eye is that, by possessing or displaying your prosperity, you attract misfortune through the eyes of those who may envy you.

Do I have much use for curses? No, but I sometimes get interesting thoughts about how one could do them. I had an understanding, early on, that someone must believe they are being cursed in order for it to affect them -- and Hine addresses this in his lecture, if only to partially refute it. Still, inducing paranoia in someone else is kind of a curse in and of itself. And, to fuel that paranoia, even subtly, has a way of strengthening this 'metaphysical' phenomena.

How would one do this? Carefully -- choosing one's words carefully, or doing things in a synchronous fashion -- it all depends on how familiar people are with curses in general. I would make them ask questions -- what has "power" in this curse? What is being cursed, that I must avoid? Other things can work, as well. Pictures, for example, that suggest something, subtly.


Of course, actual curses take actual magick-work, don't they? (Don't they?) If I ever write some, I probably won't share them here, but rest assured that I'll listen to Phil Hine's advice first and foremost, if not avoid them altogether. 

Relevant Links:

Thursday, June 2, 2011


There's something I like to hear that scholars, writers and authors sometimes observe out loud: that Religion still exists in the world today, and that it is not dying, as much as secularists like to believe.

And, well, I agree that it's not dying. It's evolving and changing. There is now an overabundance of new religious movements in the world, created by religious seekers, those willing to experiment with models of reality.

I am an undergraduate Religious Studies student who has had a love for religion my whole life. I was raised a Roman Catholic. In my teenage years, my passion for metaphysics and the divine carried me to study and practice Wicca eclectically, and I eventually moved onto the metaphysical ideas of Chaos magicians and broadened my religious-self definition to a mere "dabbler".

I am not much of a practitioner in anything Occult, but I do have a passion to study it alongside the various religions and myths of the world. I invite you to join me as I reflect on things I am learning about Religion or Metaphysics, and I intend to share with you the majority of my work in the Occult, as well.

As for the rest of this blog, well, you'll see what my future posts are like. :) I will assume some knowledge of the Occult as I write, but if you ever have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or your email and maybe we can start a conversation.