Festival23 part 2

continued from Festival23 part 1.

festival23

Friday evening

After the opening ritual we stayed around for Cat Vincent’s workshop DADA 101: An introduction to Defence Against the Dark Arts. The name obviously drawing influence from Harry Potter, this workshop concerned magical protection and defence, with a focus on using visualisation and energy work to create a protective shield. It drew a chuckle when Cat called me onto the stage at one point for a demonstration, and I feigned biting me nails with eyes wide with terror when looking back at the workshop participants, but the exercise was really about sending and receiving energy, and Cat soon had everyone pairing off and trying it for themselves. Other techniques learned included creating an energy filter for only letting in desired energies and block those that might be harmful…

cthulhu

The final highlight of the evening for Dana and I was the Alan Moore film. Alan shared his views on counter culture and how he hoped Festival23 would help foment a new counter culture, and his announcement that he was donating free complete sets of his magazine,  Dodgem Logic, to everyone that attended the festival. Dana and I helped unpack and distribute these from the community shop, where Dana was selling some of her Trollkona Crafts products.

Saturday

The next morning we saw everyone getting excited about the Happy Hardcore Aerobics, something we had to miss due to our healing tattoos. Our morning therefore began with Dave Lee’s chanting session to empower an egregore that empowers chemognosis, or entheogenic powered magic. This consisted of runic chants and, if I remember correctly, a bindrune or sigil of somekind.

planet9

After lunch we wondered on down to the Pyramind stage to watch Planet 9 perform. This was a stunning performance. We had previous online contact with one of the vocalists, Jo Sims, and it was great to watch her perform and introduce ourselves to her after the show, even if our paths didn’t really cross again after that.

puppet-alan-watts

After watching Future Zen Puppetry (featuring the puppet Alan Watts) and Dr Bramwell discuss his haunted moustache, we arrived at Seani Love and Sophie Wisdom’s two hour workshop Eris meats Eros. One of the longer events happening at the festival, 2 hours went by quickly and seemed hardly enough. Time flies when you’re having fun! The highlight for me was the introduction of maybe logic into consent. Instead of binary yes/no consent, a maybe lets your partner know that you aren’t sure but might be willing to try. In effect it allows them to interpret the maybe as a yes or a no, but signals that they are crossing a boundary. It does this in a fun and playful way that enhances the erotic feel of the situation, rather than requiring serious explanation. Both Seani and Sophie were real stars…

star

My mind is pretty blank concerning the rest of Saturday evening. We were pretty tired, however we did make our first appearances as Agent V and Agent M that night, walking around most of the venues of the festival. Which performers were on as we wondered by I couldn’t tell you though.

agent-m-plus-dalek

We did take some photos in the various art installations of the Destablise area though, including with the ‘Pimp my dalek’ and the puppet William Burroughs.

puppet-william-burroughs

Sunday

Dana did her turn looking after the community shop on Sunday morning, and I helped out and kept her company.

community-shop

We finished just in time to make it to Seani Love and Sophie Wisdom’s second workshop Chaos Tantra. This was pretty much a continuation of Eris meats Eros, although it had a mixed crowd. Dana and I got more adventurous this time round, deciding to partner with strangers for the exercises rather than each other. I think this allowed us to become more exploratory and discover more about ourselves. Again, the two hours passed quickly and I felt I could do with a long weekend of nothing but Seani and Sophie!

Next we saw The Book of Will -intentions. This was basically a run through of a play by Daisy Eris Campbell, with the main players and a few stand-ins reading out their lines from the first draft. The play was entertaining, mystical, humorous and Discordian. It felt great to be present during its very first read through. Especially since we had helped fund her previous project, the Cosmic Trigger play, but were unable to attend for various reasons.

cosmic-trigger-cabaret1

However, later that evening I would get to see the Cosmic Trigger Cabaret, which featured much of the cast performing their weird and wonderful and amazingly hilarious routines.

cosmic-trigger-cabaret3

By this time Dana and I were back as Agent’s V and M. MIB’s being effectively underworld spirits, come to close the ceremony, reminding us that all things come to an end, much like the role played by the Ghede in Vodou.

Which brings us nicely to what for us formed the closing ritual, the burning of a cross made of new age ‘self help’ books…

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Festival23 part 1

festival23

It has been a full week since the amazing Festival23 weekend came to a close, and I thought I’d do a quick write up from the perspective of Dana and myself.

First off, there was a LOT happening. In addition to the ‘Pyramind’ main stage, there was a ‘Third Eye Space’ tent dedicated to rituals, workshops and talks, a ‘Destabilise’ zone with art and other events, performances and things. Plus also Dr Dreadnaughts, a cafe and shisha lounge with DJs and other performers, a large outdoor fire, and reasonably priced food tents that provided decent sized portions. The pizza was great and the falafel wraps delicious. The bar sold a pleasant ale.

As early bird ticket holders we arrived and set up our tents on the Thursday, and it wasn’t long before I met Dave Lee, a magical friend I hadn’t seen or had much contact with in years. It was nice to reconnect.

Gongs

An advantage of being an early bird meant we got to attend an early ‘Gong bath’. This was repeated sometime on Friday morning. This involved a lying down meditation as Suzie Price played the gongs, creating a beautiful and haunting meditative sound-scape. In the climax she carried a gong around the hall and played it over each participant, so we could each feel the air movement in addition to hearing the sounds.

This was followed a brief Erisian pathworking, a sort of opening ritual before the official opening ritual of the following evening. Everyone was clearly tired, Dana and I from the travel down from Inverness, everyone else either from their own travels or even from helping to set up the event. So the laid back nature of this pathworking was welcome. Blankets were encouraged.

mino

Hanging around the bar and food tents in the evening we got to meet a statue called, if I remember correctly, Mino. After sitting down next to this we also met the artist whose creation Mino was, but alas I forget the name. For now. If someone can remind me I’ll update this blog…

Morning coffee

The next day, after morning coffee, I saw the next familiar faces. Old friends I knew were coming but hadn’t seen for several years. Seani Love and Cat Vincent.

After noticing a tattoo tent with a special £23 offer on simple festival tattoo designs, Dana and I hatched a plan to get Operation Intruder tattoos. So we suspended attending morning activities until we’d got them sorted. Dana got herself the original CE5 sigil design, whereas I got the ‘You are not alone’ sigil that received after working with the CE5 sigil. We each took turns film the other, so more about this to follow. For now I will say getting these tattoos were an act of magic, empowering the sigils and all active targets of them. For my part I focused my attention on targets of the ‘You Are Not Alone’ sigil, such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Sirian Refugees and Barrett Brown. There was also an element of sacrifice in getting the tattoo early in the proceedings as for it to heal, we needed to avoid activities leading to sweating, which meant no taking advantage of the sauna, and limiting our dancing activities to a more gentle kind of bopping.

Still, that was fine by me at least as we’d been to several musical events, festivals, raves and parties over the past several years but no magical event on quite this scale. So I more wanted to hang out around the Third Eye area anyway…

leisure-weapons

All the same we couldn’t help but pop in to see Leisure Weapons perform. Not that we’d heard of them specifically, but a strange gentlemen with a colourful plastic gun made an intriguing invite for us to attend. We weren’t disappointed.

Next thing I remember was the talk by Dave Lee, on chaos magic and chemognosis. This involved a poetic introduction to Chaos Magic as he saw it, for the benefit of those present new to Discordianism, or experienced in the latter but unaware of its Chaos Magic offshoot. In this he did a wonderful and entertaining job.

I will finish part 1 of this write up with the official opening ritual. We were asked to help perform this at the last moment by Anwen, apparently on Dave Lee’s recommendation. Suitably flattered to be asked of course we agreed. The idea was simple. The first eight of us knew the drill, the remaining members of the crowd were instructed to follow suit. The ritual began with the first couple forming an archway by raising their hands, then Dana and I walked through, as the couple whispered positive messages in our ears ‘You are magical’, ‘You are empowered’. We then formed a second arch and whispered our own positive messages to those entering our part of the human tunnel. A creature of routine I stuck with ‘You are loved’ for pretty much everyone that passed through, partly because I liked the reaction it got. I could see the words really touched some of the people passing through.

Naturally this ritual caused much confusion, people not automatically turning the tunnel to run around all of the tent. But it all worked out in the end. I’m not sure the organisers realised quite how well attended the ritual would be. I think it was the most packed I saw the Pyramind tent all weekend. Suitably empowered by all the powerful mind programming, the loved up vibe of the tent was interrupted by the surprise arrival of Eris…

ADX Files 18: Aliens and the occult

adx-files-018-aliens-and-the-occultA few months ago Dana Varahi and myself were interviewed by Alyson Dunlop on her show, ADX Files. We discussed our own contact experiences, our use of magic, evocation and CE5 techniques, and Operation Intruder. This is a great show, and if you haven’t given it a listen yet consider this a timely reminder…

In terms of describing our own experiences of magic, entity contact and high strangeness, this only really scratches the surface, as there is only so much one can cover in a two hour interview. With two of us all the more so.

Therefore I propose to resolve this in two ways:

  1. Engage in more podcasts with a variety of interviewers, discussing a specific topics in more depth, or touching on other events and stories not yet covered in existing podcasts.
  2. I have resolved to begin a series of irregular blogs exploring my own personal background as both an experiencer and a magician, leading up until the time Dana and I began working closely together, starting with the strange dreams and nightmares of my childhood, my ‘imaginary friends’ or childhood visitations.

If you run a podcast, and would like to interview either myself, or myself and Dana, please get in touch. If you’d like to interview Dana alone, feel free to contact her directly, although I can put you in touch if you are too shy.

Natural Born Alchemist Podcast

naturalbornalchemist-logo

It was a pleasure to be interviewed by Alex of the Natural Born Alchemist Podcast. We started by discussing my book, Chemical Serpents, serpent symbolism in alchemy and from there explored many topics, including entheogens, the illusion of culture, anarchist politics, spiritual anarchism, anarchist relationships with deities and spirits, the origins of Chaos Magic, Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare.

Chemical Serpents on the Avi Lago Show

Dana Varahi and myself had an amazing chat on the ‘Avi Lago Show‘ with host Avi Lago about my book Chemical Serpents, our magical film project, Alchemical.TV and the occult operations of illumination and evocation.  I also briefly describe the KIA Speaks program for receiving communication from the egregore of the KIA Invisible Agents.  The discussion takes us on a journey through quite a lot of topics but all of which make for quite an interesting listen. Enjoy… 🙂

I hope the show is a success and we’ll be back to talk to Avi in some more depth about some of the topics we touched on.

Chemical Serpents now out in Gold and Silver first editions

Forgot to mention this when the release happened on the publisher website, but you can now purchase Chemical Serpents in both Gold and Silver editions. Gold editions are currently at a discount price of £50GBP, but we will not be able to sustain that retail price for long, so if you want this collector’s edition at that price you ought to buy one soon.

Chemical Serpents: The symbols of illumination

More info on the gold edition.

More info on the silver edition.

Proof copies of Chemical Serpents available

Well I said it was going to happen. The little paperback ‘Chemycal Serpents‘ is no longer available. This is because I’m just checking through proof copies of both the gold and silver editions of the final book, ‘Chemical Serpents’.  I will be correcting a few minor typos before final release, but if you’re eager to get your mitts on a collectors ‘proof copy’ edition of this book, with beautiful full colour artwork by Janice Duke, you can now do so. I’ll make a further announcement when the real first edition is officially released…

Chemical Serpents: The symbols of illumination

Gold Edition

The gold edition is hardbound with 116 large 21cm x 27.5cm full colour pages.  The colour scheme of the text and headers is themed on warm, solar, golden colours such as yellows, oranges and reds. It costs £50 GBP.

Silver Edition

The silver edition is paperback with 100 slightly larger 22cm x 28cm pages, also full colour. The colour scheme for text and headers is themed on cool, lunar colours such as grey, blue, cyan and purple. It costs £30 GBP.

A cheaper monochrome version of the book, and ebook editions will follow the final release versions of these collectors editions.

Satanic Ritual Abuse

Between 1980 and 1995 a ‘moral panic’ originating in a falsified autobiography swept through the USA and beyond, known at the time as ‘Satanic Ritual Abuse‘.  Whilst by the end of this panic the phenomena was exposed as the defamatory anti-occultist and anti-pagan propaganda of fundamentalist Christianity, for a time it was taken seriously by the media and authorities and before it was discredited many victims suffered lengthy trails, wrongful imprisonment and loss of employment.  Other pagan families had their children taken into care merely on the basis of their religion.

At the root of this moral panic was fundamentalist belief or scare story of a worldwide satanic conspiracy, a belief in a satanic New World Order that persists even to this day.  When you look more deeply at these conspiracy theories you will find that at their root they are merely a code for antisemetism, of the kind that has its roots in the forged ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion‘. This was exposed as a hoax pretty quickly after it was first published in 1903, but that hasn’t stopped antisemites using it in their propaganda ever since, including Hitler who publicised it as a valid document and had it taught in German class rooms.

One might go further back and compare the scare to the witch trails, or even further to the accusations against the Knights Templar (basically that they had converted to Islam).  These scare stories tend to be used by authoritarian power seekers in order to dupe the public into supporting their rise to power and accepting their draconian measures in order to defeat a perceived (though imaginary) greater threat.

I had all but forgotten about the SRA scare until I was informed by friends that a certain someone, who I will refer to as N accused me, along with a host of other people, of taking part in such an event that was supposed to have occurred back in 2004. The supposed victim of this ‘black mass’ being O, the son of his girlfriend J.

The accusation basically boils down to a list of people that N and J have fallen out with over the years for who knows what reasons. At best, this is a disturbing paranoid fantasy, at worst this is a deliberate and psychopathic attempt to defame all his (perceived) enemies and to manipulate others into doing them harm.

To be clear, and to expose the absurdity of this list, it includes:
PM: An ex lover of N.  I knew him in the past, but have been involved in no sexual context with them.

NW: An ex lover of N, with whom he fought a bitter custody battle over their daughter, R. I knew her. She was my mentor in Chaos Magick.  I’ve been involved in no sexual context with them. NW is close friends with PM, which probably goes some way to explaining N‘s animosity to PM also. She hasn’t really talked to me properly since around 2001 because I tried to remain neutral in her fight with N, and as a consequence hasn’t trusted me since then. Unfortunately this lead me to being closer friends with N since that time.

PP: An ex hetero lover of J, and father of O.  I understand only that J left PP for N, after N presided as priest in a Wiccan handfasting ceremony for them. I met this guy once, when he was still with J. I was introduced to both himself and J by N during a public witchcraft conference in Croydon. N told me of his intentions to take J away from PP at the time. This is the only time I ever met PP. I don’t even recall what he looks like.

A&A: The mother and step-father of N.  I’ve only ever met them in the presence of both N. Quite why he has fallen out with them enough to include them on this list, I simply don’t know.

AL: Another ex of N. Her current partner is also mentioned, although not in name.  I have no idea who this is, whether they are male or female or whether N even knows them. I’ve only met her when she was the partner of N. Doesn’t get on with NW as far as I’m aware, or at least she didn’t at the time.

JV: Co-wrote a book with NW. No idea what relationship he has to N otherwise. Presumably just guilty and deserving of being listed by professional association with a perceived enemy.

JH: An ex of mine. Was friends with N for a long time.  Apparently no longer. I have no idea what they fell out over. JH really doesn’t like NW or AL, so the chance of these three being in the same room is pretty remote, let alone conspiring anything together.

MM: Publisher of N‘s book. N holds grudge against MM for later publishing chaos magic books by authors that N doesn’t like, including JV and NW.  Also published my first book.  I’ve met him a few times at pagan markets and occult talks.

RH: I have no idea who this is. Shares surname with N. Maybe his biological dad? I know he holds grudge against biological father for being a millionaire and not providing him with a trust fund.  Claims dad blew fortune on cocaine and whores without giving him any of it. But given his trustworthiness (or lack thereof) on other matters, who knows if N‘s dad was ever actually rich. I certainly don’t.  Whether his dad or not, I don’t know this person.

CB: Another person I’ve never met and don’t know. Claims they are jailed for life. Possibly included in an attempt to lend credence to the claims if CB is jailed for paedophilia or something similar.

These claims, though absurd are no laughing matter.  When people like N make false allegations like this they make genuine cases of child abuse harder to prosecute.  Just as false allegations of rape make it harder for real victims of rape to get justice or be taken seriously.  By playing on peoples superstitious fear of minority spiritual traditions, they also try to slander these traditions with wild unsubstantiated claims, which leads to religious hatred, bigotry and persecution. The Romans made such claims about the early Christians. The Christians made such claims about heretics and witches. The Nazi’s and Fascists made such claims about the Jews.  That these claims originate from within the occult community this time, rather than authoritarian fundamentalists with a political agenda of defamation against us, makes this behaviour all the more abhorrent.

I ended my friendship with N several years ago, by simply disappearing out of his life. I had pretty much forgotten about him and was quietly getting on with my own life.  Quite why he sees fit to include me in his list, I had no idea. I suppose I knew he’d do this eventually. He even threatened me back when we were still ‘friends’ that he’d make such claims if I didn’t do as he said. This is partly why I ended our friendship in the first place. Other than that, his paranoid behaviour, which when I first met him I mistook for depression, became more and more extreme, increasingly manifesting in violent outbursts, incoherent rants and occasionally physical violence. The man I had mistaken for a victim suffering from a mix of depression and anger against those that hurt him, I came to realise was actually exhibiting psychopathic behaviour. By this, I mean anyone that knows him well enough would tick most, if not all, of the boxes on the checklist of psychopathic traits.  Obviously this isn’t a clinical diagnosis, I’m not a qualified psychologist, but for me it does ring alarm bells.  Nor is it as far fetched a speculation as it might first appear. Apparently around 4% of people have antisocial personality, which is slightly higher than the rate for anorexia. Notably, the list of psychopathic traits includes pathological lying.

Whilst I’m on the subject of psychopathy, I think people really should study the subject, familiarise themselves with the manipulation techniques they use, because ignorance of these really does make you more vulnerable. With antisocial personality and related disorders so common, arming yourself with knowledge of these tricks really will make you safer, and your life better. Society should stop stigmatising the study of psychopathy as the preserve of goths, weirdos  and fans of horror thrillers. Psychopathic killers make up only a small fraction of all psychopaths, but all of them can make your life hell if you don’t know how to stop them.

After sifting through a lot of spam messages on this site, I came across some anonymous hate messages, obviously from N, that reveal that he mistakenly thinks I’m back in contact with the IOT, or even that I’ve rejoined that Chaos Magic order. The reason being some of the people in the list above are members of said organisation. Apparently that is enough of a crime in his mind to justify the above slanderous accusations. Perhaps I also irked him because I recently speculated positively about the book by NW and JV, and spurned an opportunity to meet with him in Bristol when I was passing through in August.

My parents and Grant Morrison, MBEs

It came as quite a surprise to me but my parents have been awarded MBE’s for their services to children and families.  Now it happens I think Britain deserves better than a medieval hereditary dictatorship for its head of state.  I haven’t gone as far as joining Republic (yet) although I agree with many of their points.  But I hold no animosity towards the Royal family as people and if they wish to recognise the hard work and dedication my parents have put in improving the lives of many children and their families, not just as part of their job but beyond maintaining friendships with many of the people they fostered long after they have grown up and become adults and my parents have no financial reward for continuing to support them, then I think that’s great.

Mum, Dad, I am proud of you both.  I was anyway, an award from the Queen doesn’t change that, but I’m happy to see you both recognised in this way.

Also recognised with an MBE is comic writer Grant Morrison.  I’d love to meet the guy myself but it seems my parents might beat me to it.  I feel slightly jealous of that!  But it does feel slightly odd that Mr Morrison has gained such an award given the political tone of his comics.  And given that he once portrayed the Queen and her government naked and cowering.  And the plot of the Invisibles did seem to involve a hideous man eating monster being in line for the throne if I remember correctly.  Despite the overall promotion of anarchist politics and chaos magic in the series.

Everything feels really weird and dreamlike at the moment.  Like I might wake up tomorrow and find I dreamt all this…

Availability for talks

From 2012 I will be available for talks.  If you organise regular talks, or are planning an event where you need speakers, feel free to send me an invite.

My recent talk on Serpent Symbolism proved to have quite a lot of material to get through so would best suit a 1 1/2 to 2 hour time frame.

For a 1 hour timeslot I can do more focused talks on a subset of the topics discussed, such as:

1.  The World Tree

2.  Symbols of enlightenment

3. Awareness meditation

4. Stairway to heaven and the road to hell