Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two wolves in all of us

[A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook status, and I decided to borrow it.]

An old Cherokee Indian told his grandson, “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Resentment, Inferiority, Lies, & Ego. The other is good. It is Joy, Peace, Love, Hope, Humility, Kindness, Empathy, & Truth.”

The boy thought & asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sometimes you just need sleep

I would like to apologize to my regular readers. All last week I was not sleeping very well (spent most of the nights tossing and turning). As my regular readers know, this tends to lead to either no posts or some rather strange and hostile ones.

I was also working though my personal feelings about one of the recent developments in the Golden Dawn community. Those who know my past will understand how certain things makes me suspicious---I have been burned by too many people over the years who hid behind the concept of absolute secrecy. (In fact, I have never met someone who insisted on absolute secrecy who has not stabbed me in the back by the time it was all over.)

Last night was the first decent night of sleep I have gotten for awhile. I am still in sleep debt, but it is not as bad now. Hopefully, the worst of the recent stress (most of it personal schedule issues) is over, and I can go back to business as usual.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Is diversity possible?

Can you have diversity when there is absolute secrecy, strict adherence to tradition, distain for scholarship and creativity, and a single person becomes the gatekeeper and sole voice of multiple esoteric mysteries and sects?

[Remember that it may take up to 48 hours for me to approve comments depending upon university homework, employment and familial responsibilities.]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More pottery available at Spirit Ways

Offering bowl, cauldron and chalice available at Spirit Ways.

Click on the pictures for a larger view.
For my readers who are in Denver, or close thereof, more pottery items have been delievered to Spirit Ways (3301 E. Colfax, Denver Colorado). The pieces include several offering plates, cauldrons, lidded jars, and chalices. Many of them have similar glaze colors and patterns, and could be the basis of a ritual tool set.

Schizoid Golden Dawn Book Market

Warning: This is one of those posts where if you know that I have a tendency to make you upset, then you are better off reading something else. Especially if my nasty habit of looking at Golden Dawn as a marketplace annoys the bejeezus out of you. I suggest you go read Harry Potter or the True Blood series---after all, I don't want anyone to die of a seizure just because I am a happy little cynic and they don't understand my sense of humor.

Today, during a moment of boredom, I was cruising around the interent looking at book reviews of occult books. It is something writers do---we go looking for the most bizzarre criticisms and book reviews that we can find.

This pasttime got me to thinking about certain aspects of the Golden Dawn book market. Basically, the fact that it is the most schizoid book market that I know of.

On one hand, the reader wants new material. But...and it is a big but...it has to be OLD material.

A few years ago, a publisher saw a snippet of some material that I was kicking around writing. They were interested in seeing the completed project...clear up to the point that they learned that the material was developed within living memory.

Then they were no longer interested.

One of the sad truths about the Golden Dawn book market is that only material by dead, famous Adepts sells. And given how small the market is, that is really sad.

(Before anyone attempts to tell me that occult writers are making big bucks---remember I am in the business, I seen actual figures of copies sold and how little royalty was paid out. No occult writer, especially a Golden Dawn writer, is making real money writing about the occult. Maybe the New Age writers are, but not Golden Dawn writers. And don't use Donald Michael Kraig as part of your argument, he is not actually a Golden Dawn writer.)

But the Golden Dawn market is schizoid. If you do somehow get your hands on something old, you are yelled at for breaking oaths of secrecy.

So on one hand, anything that you came up with on your own is viewed as worthless. In fact, if you do come up with something on your own, hordes of people will come out of the woodwork to proclaim that it is not really Golden Dawn material, and furthermore that you are not a real initiate of the Golden Dawn to begin with.

And on the other hand, if you publish something old, you are lynched for breaking secrecy.

Given the schizoid nature of the book market, it is amazing that any new Golden Dawn books ever come out.

And yes, I believe that this is a problem. Not only does it ensure that almost all Golden Dawn books are rehashes of previously published material, it ensures that all Golden Dawn writers are hated, and that people don't know enourgh to avoid some of the most un-Golden Dawn-like Orders. It is like a bad hostage situation.

And this hostage situation is enforced, nay encouraged, by some Golden Dawn leaders. And sock puppets. And generally nasty human beings. And all of them have an ax to grind and someone's back to stick it into.

The saddest part is that I know that a horde of angry readers is coming for me. And before you ask: No, I am not going to publish any secret documents. I am the type of writer who gets bad-mouthed for developing opinions of his own.

Quite honestly, someone should go to Third Order and get them to make an official rule banning all writers from the system from this point on. That way, no writer would ever think about becoming interested in writing about Golden Dawn---it would save some poor writers some time and energy. And it would allow the various groups to go back to being the pure monopolies of esoteric wisdom that they want to be. Sounds like a win-win for everyone, doesn't it?

(That last comment is not necessarily directed at who you think it is directed to. I have met a dozen leaders over the years who claimed Third Order contact---which is one of the reasons that I am skeptical of all Third Order claims. I have yet to see any such claim not prove to be false and a merely ploy by a bad leader to lift people's wallets and control their minds. But one can hope that the next claim is different, right? Someone please prove this happy little cynic wrong.)

And if you did not see the humor in this post, it is your fault for not listening to my warning in the first place---I told you to go read something else.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Advice on Moderating Comments

One of the decisions that a blogger needs to make is whether they are going to moderate (manually approve) comments or not. This decision should be made relatively early in the life of your blog.

For me, it is simply a question of what set of pros and cons you want to deal with.

Manual Approval of Comments

Pros: You can keep flames, slander, libel, and insults out of your comment section. Regular readers will also occasionally use a "Don't publish this, for this comment is for your eyes only" comment to privately communicate with you. You can also prevent publication of the most blatant advertising.

Cons: It takes time to moderate comments---the more readers you have, the more time it consumes. And some people will be impatient and claim that you have refused to publish their comments when in fact, you haven't even seen them yet. People will also be upset if you decide not to publish their trash talk.

Automatic Approval of Comments (with or without a verification of human intelligence)

Pros: You don't have to worry about making time to approve comments---in other words, you can post and forget. A hundred people can comment in an hour, and you do not have to do anything for their comments to appear on your blog.

Cons: You have to trust human nature. You will have to manually delete any comments that you wish would not have been posted, including insults, flames, libel, slanders, and advertising---unfortunately, other people will have seen these comments and spiders will have cached them. You will be accused of aiding and abetting flame wars. And sooner or later, you will end up with advertising you do not want in your comment section.

In my case, I chose to manually approve comments. There is one blog that I run that I might change my standard policy for, but it is not occult related (for the most part).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why I dislike the labels

Lately, there has been a lot of labeling of various people and groups in the Golden Dawn community as "reconstructionist," "traditionalist," "reformist," etc.

And quite honestly, while I understand the need to make sure that newcomers know the positions of the groups and individuals involved, I think that the labels are doing more harm than good.

The problem with labels is that sooner or later, you get to the point when someone is saying that such a idealistic position is better than the others. In other words, you get someone claiming that one answer is the only correct answer---hoping that other people are going to believe them.

It does not help a diverse community get along.

In fact, labeling and name-calling leads to flame wars and witch wars, and all sorts of unpleasantness.

For instance, the one side's low opinion of scholars tends to make me avoid that side like I do most plagues. After all, I am training to be a scholar---being told that I have the morals of a zombified pig bent on destorying the world does not endear me to the opinions of the people who label me such.

Ok, in all fairness, they have not stated it in such a manner, but that is the way that I emotionally react to their opinions of scholars.

And that is the biggest problem with the labeling that is going on, people react to the labels emotionally. Because of that, large sections of the Golden Dawn community refuse to talk to other sections of the community.

(Ok, there are other reasons for the lack of communications---a laundry list of reasons. But the labelling is not helping any of us deal with the problems on the laundry list.)

It feels like the beginnings of the witch wars all again.

For those of who missed that little bit of unpleasantness, the core of the battle was the statement, "I am a real witch (Wiccan or whatever term they prefered), and So-and-so is not a real witch."

Compare it with the statement (well hidden in the process of labelling), "I am a member of the real Golden Dawn, and So-and-so and all with their (insert label) tendencies is not."

Do you see why I am worried?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dont care about the state of your soul

This is one of those full disclosure updates type of things.

Quite simply, I do not care about my reader's souls.

Proof? I have not been approving comments from Christians who believe that all magicians and witches should give up magic and return to the arms of Christ.


My personal belief is that Jesus was a magician, that he would have willingly sat down to have dinner with witches, and that he was not the messiah. Furthermore, I do not believe that he would have condemned me, or any other witch or magician to harsh punishments (including imprisonment, stoning, burning at the stake, and banishment to the worst locations in the afterlife).

(And no, I do not consider it necessary to be a Christian to be a member of the RC---go figure.)

And yes, I am well aware that makes me an evil person.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blog Advice on Understanding Search Engines

Now censored because AdSense says that you are not allowed to look at boobs.
Yesterday, I was reading a post by Rufus Opus where he revealed that one of the search terms driving traffic to his Head For the Red blog is "bikes with high handlebars." Ahh, the mysteries of Google and its fellow search engines.

In an ideal world, if you needed to find something on the world wide web, you would ask a real person who keeps up with the webpages for your inquiry. Unfortunately, we do not live in ideal world.

For one thing, there are way too many webpages out there, and more are being added everyday. Two, we know the type of stuff that most people google for. And we just don't want to get involved in those types of web searches.

Salma Hayek--now censored for AdSense...because you might think of sex.
(By the way, my use of "google" as a verb is wrong. Google is a trademarked business name. The proper term for "googling" is "searching." This is much like Xerox being a trademarked business name; it is "photocopying", not "xeroxing.")

Or maybe we do want to get involved in such searches. After all, if you are reading this series, you are probably interested in getting more traffic to your blog. In which case, a picture of boobs can't hurt, can it?

Can't Google for boobs on AdSense supported webpages.
Am I above trying to corner the market for people who are searching for "Golden Dawn boobs"? No.

In fact, "Golden Dawn boobs" looks like a good "long tail" candidate.

(And the market for "Star Trek Golden Dawn" has already been cornered---more or less. Don't believe me---google it. I wonder how much traffic David Griffin gets with that search term. What? You haven't wondered this? Anyway, back to search engines.)

It is the strange way that search engines work, and the way that people search for stuff on the internet, that makes long tail terms valuable. But that is a post for another day.

So what is the best way to understand search engines? After all, due to the secrecy that surrounds the programs that drive them, one can only guess what makes them tick. (It is amazing that businesses are better at keeping secrets than secret societies are.) And given the three or four hundreds factors that they track, even if their inwards were not shrouded in secrecy, it would still be a muddle.

To make things simple, think of a search engine as a spider demon who is pretending to be a human being, who is an expert in whatever terms that you punched into the query form.

Of course, this makes things simple for us---after all, we can write for human beings, including those occultists who just happen to like bikes with tall handlebars, and trust that if we are ideal according to a complicated mathmatical formula that the search engine will send traffic in our direction.

The trick is figuring who we are writing for...which is probably what I will discuss next Thursday.

In the meantime, enjoy a picture of Bart Simpson commenting on the evils of Google.

In other words, don't email people about boobs because someday Google will tell the world.
AdSense says that you are not allowed to see boobs.
[Updated August 19, 2016 because...AdSense says that there was sexual content on this page because...I used the word "boobs" and had two meme pictures that had women who had boobs...and this was wrong because....boobs equal sex even when they are covered with bras. I am guessing some web-spider decided this because no one who actually looked at the actual post would actually think that this was sexual content. Heaven knows what the web-spiders must think of my posts warning people about sex offenders and why sex magic is a bad thing when it comes to running an esoteric tradition. But in all fairness to the web-spiders, it might not have been them---it could have been one of the Golden Dawn boobs reporting me (top of my boob list is Robert Zink and David Griffin--which I would post a picture of, but hey, they are boobs! and AdSense says that you are not allowed to see pictures of them...which is probably a good thing because people have been known to go bad when they see a picture of one of them.]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How big is the Golden Dawn market part 2

One of the things that I did not touch upon in the previous part was how difficult it was to nail down a number for the Golden Dawn market size. (I ignored the issue because I lacked the time to address the issue.) A lot of my readers pointed out how using the forum membership numbers was an unreliable method.

Let's be honest here---all methods of figuring out the potential Golden Dawn market are unreliable.

Having both management and self-employment experience, I am not surprised by this. In fact, it is expected. There is an old saying that most statistics are made up. That includes estimates about the potential market for products.

The worst estimate I know of involving the Golden Dawn market does not even have to do with the Golden Dawn itself. A decade ago (or has it been longer?) someone decided to figure out the size of the Wiccan community.

(My smarter readers are already shaking their heads over the "Oy vey" that is coming.)

So how do you do this?

The Wiccan community shares many of the same characteristics that makes figuring out the size of the Golden Dawn community so hard. One is that most Wiccans do not openly reveal their membership. They are a hidden sector of the population. Part of this is done for simple economic and social survival issues---after all, there are a few Christians who believe that Wiccans are Satanists and need to be "cured" of their religion.

What the researcher did was to take a survey of Wiccans who were willing to admit that they were Wiccans. In this survey, they were asked multiple questions, including the question "Do you own a copy of Israel Regardie's Golden Dawn?"


From this answer, the researcher extrapolated an estimate for the total Wiccan population using the total number of copies sold of Regardie's book.

Oy vey.

There are a few problems with this method.

First, not everyone who buys a copy of Regardie's Golden Dawn is a Wiccan. In fact, I suspect that there are more Christian buyers of Regardie's book than Wiccans. Even using an actual Wiccan book would not have worked---for instance, a book by Scott Cunningham (for I have seen Christians buy these to learn more about "the enemy").

(The things you learn behind the counter of book stores and occult shops.)

Second, the way that the figure was calculated totally ignores the nature of the overall book market.

(At this point in time, one needs to remember that I used to be involved in the used book market. I started out as a collector, and then spent several years as a specialized dealer.)

For instance, the statistican ignored the collector market. There are some collectors out there who collect every edition from select authors. So out there someplace is someone who has every edition that Regardie ever published.

(I own three different editions...)

Also ignored are those people who actually used the book. Some of these people are not the ideal book collector. Their copies are dog-eared, stuffed with bookmarks, and have wax dripped on them; the covers of the book may be falling off. Some of these people have brought additional copies of the book to replace their worn-out copies.

(...in various stages of disrepair.)

Now, looking at my estimate based on Yahoo forum membership, one should note some of my assumptions.

First assumption, there are some members who are members of multiple forums. In fact, some members are probably members of every Golden Dawn forum that they stumble upon. (I am not quite that bad.)

Second assumption, there are actually non-Golden Dawn parties who are members of Golden Dawn forums. In fact, I know one forum owner who invited a whole bunch of people from Thelemic, Wiccan and pagan forums to their GD forum---all to boost their GD forum membership numbers; it wouldn't be so bad, except that they generally do not approve of Golden Dawn posts from "rivals"---one sees a lot of posts that have absolutely nothing to do with Golden Dawn on their forum.

(By Golden Dawn parties, I mean people are actually interested in Golden Dawn.)

Third assumption, there are "sellers and dealers" mixed into the membership, those people who join forums just to send other members spam, who are just there to sell product. (Also see next point.)

Fourth assumption, people do not cancel their membership when they leave a forum, and some people have either lost their original account and created new ones, or have created sock-puppet accounts. Therefore, there are actually a bunch of dead and empty memberships floating in the overall figure.

Due to these assumptions, I mistrust all the membership figures of the Yahoo forums. Therefore, I took none of the membership figures at face-value (with one exception).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg of one's difficulties that one faces trying to estimate the potential Golden Dawn market size.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I am not your label

You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to.

I am not a recreationist.

I am not a traditionist.

I am not a reformist.

I am not an evil scholar.

I am not a disbeliever.

I am not a Borg.

I am not a Federation officer.

I am not a Klingon.

I am not a Romulan.

I am not a Hatsfield.

I am not "whatever label" you want to assign to me in order to make sure that people consider me an enemy.

I am not going to be pushed, filed, indexed, stamped, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. My identity is my own to choose.

I am a free man...therefore, I am going to continue to do and say things that are going to annoy you sooner or later.

Probably sooner.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why it is wrong to be a Scholar Adept

I am not a member of a legitimate branch of Golden Dawn. My proof? I am a scholar.

I was a scholar before I entered the system. I did not hid this fact. The branch that I encountered let me in anyways.

Ok, I was not truly a scholar...at least, not then. I was a high school dropout...with a large collection of books. And I would study a single book for weeks on end.

My sponsor knew that someday I would be a scholar, and still he sponsored me for membership. The interview committee probably saw the tendency towards indulging in scholarly research and they still let me in. During Portal, I proved to be someone crippled with scholarly attitude problems and they still let me advance.

But let's be honest...they were not really Golden Dawn; they were as far away as you could get from being legit. They came out of a schism. They did not believe in absolute obedience no matter how much someone claimed to be in contact with the Secret Chiefs. In other words, anyone who wants absolute obedience thanks solely to the word of their secret and undisclosable Third Order contacts would label them "rebels."

And being a child of rebels and an orphan begging on the doorstep makes me unconcerned about whether or not, Mathers, or Crowley, or GH Frater KL, or Griffin, or anyone else has truly made contact with the Third Order and is recieving information from the Secret Chiefs. Because I come from a corrupted branch of the system and therefore am ineligible to be privvy to such secrets.

The child of rebels is a rebel, and is doomed to be hunted down like a diseased dog. No exceptions.

And in my case, I suffer from the disease of scholarism. I am studying to be both a historian and literature critic. Now, in the branch I was inducted in, this was not a problem.

Being a scholar is only a problem if you must have absolute belief in the mythical history of the system, both in circle and outside of it. Unfortunately, while I can use the recitation of my lineage inside circle as a magical chain, the fact that I become a skeptic outside of circle means that I am unfit for the society of upright people.

And that is why it is wrong to be a Scholar Adept.

To be a True Adept, you must believe in the absolute truth of your superiors at all times. You are not allowed to doubt. You are not allowed to question. The True Adept obeys without question, willingly doing whatever their superiors in the tradition tells them to do.

If you can do that---then there are Orders and leaders out there who will welcome you with open arms.

But it will not be the branch of the tradition that I belong to, for we only accept people who have the potential to be Scholar Adepts. After all, we are diseased dogs, begging orphans, and the grandchildren of rebels and outcasts.

Ngrams Egyptian gods and godforms

Yes, another Ngram post. Last one I promise hope. I will admit that I am curious about some of the graphs that the Google Labs Ngram Tool is kicking out. For instance, I wonder about sections of the one I did on various Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. And there is also the one on godforms that makes me wonder.

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses 1500 to 2008

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses 1800 to 2008

Godforms---what is up with some of these spikes?

Rise and decline of sex magic

Yes, that is right: My abuse of the Google Labs Ngram Tool continues. This installment---the rise and decline of sex magic.

Rise and decline of sex magic
Sex magic starts showing up in books shortly after 1920, with tantric sex appearing in 1970; both peak around 2004 and then start to decline.

And for those of you with the same OCD problem I have, here is the two terms compared to Golden Dawn. Hehe.

Times that Golden Dawn is mentioned in books compared to tantric and sex magic

Ngrams and Golden Dawn

On Postmodern Magic, there is a post about the new Google Labs tool Ngram. And the post was right. Ngrams are addictive.

(Ngram is a point in a data set. In this case, the dataset is the English contained in books, with the point marking the frequency of a phrase.)

How do I know? I have spent quite a bit of time tonight playing with the Ngram tool. Hehe.

Ngram Wicca 1800 to 2000

It started with me looking at the Ngram for Wicca which was mentioned in the post. Then I started to punch in various terms from my OCD checklist. Such as Golden Dawn.

NGram Golden Dawn 1600 to 2008
What is up with the hump around 1785?
Ngaram Golden Dawn 1850 to 2008

Of course, this is the frequency of the term "Golden Dawn" found in books. Someone will be tempted to misuse the data pattern. Next I looked at famous people and the term (by famous, I mean known Golden Dawn members).

Ngram Golden Dawn and Israel Regardie
Ngram Golden Dawn and Aliester Crowley
Ngram Golden Dawn and William Butler Yeats
Ngram Golden Dawn and David Griffin
There weren't any surprises here...except for one. 
Finally, I punched in some organizations and traditions...call it market research.

Seriously, if you were going to write a book or program, which one would you choose?
So that was my night, abusing the Google Labs Ngram tool.

Remember people, do not do a Morgan---use the Ngram tool responsibly and not to shore up your pet theories. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hearthstone celebrates twenty years

Last night, I attended the Hearthstone Community Church's monthly Open Full Moon ritual. Last night's ritual marked the twenieth year anniversary for Hearthstone.

From my viewpoint, Hearthstone has an interesting history. The reason for its existence is simple; it fulfilled a need in the local Wiccan community that no other group was filling at the time.

Originally, the gathering were informal. The informal gatherings are part of the prehistory of Hearthstone. The Church started when an "informal gathering of a hundred and fifty" people happened in one of Denver's parks. Needless to say, such a large informal gathering attracted some attention---police attention. Hence the organization of Hearthstone.

The founder of Hearthstone looked into getting permits to continue the informal gatherings in the parks. It turned out that to do so would require an event insurance fee of four hundred dollars, plus the permit for the event itself (another hundred or so). It was just cheaper to rent space from one of the local churches and do it indoors.

Over the years, there have been some changes in the members of the Hearthstone board (thirteen years ago). The regular attendees have also changed, as well as the number attending.

Here is to Hearthstone's first twenty years---may the Church continue to fulfill a need for the local Wiccan community for many more years to come.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Blog Advice on Disappearing Posts After Editing

Welcome to Blog Advice for Occultists. Today's topic---Blog posts that disappear when you edit them.

One of the things I have noticed in the occult blogosphere is a distressing amount of ignorance among occult bloggers about the technology that they are using---aka blogs. Now, I will admit that I do not know everything that there is to know about blogging, but occasionally I can spot where other people are doing something wrong.

One of the things that I noticed is the number of posts that appear in the blogger feed and have disappeared ("post not found") by the time I go to read them. Some of these posts will reappear on their respective blogs weeks later.

Now, I realize that some of these posts have been removed because the blogger decided that what they said something that they did not want to say in the first place. Unfortunately, by hitting publish, the post has shown up in the feed...and worse, occasionally ends up being indexed by the search engines (I have read posts using the search engines cache that should have never been published).

Blog Advice for Occultists: Do not hit "publish post" if there is the slightest chance that you may not actually want people to read that post. Use "save now" instead.

(Note that I am writing from the perspective of a Blogger user; users of WordPress will have to adjust for that platform's buttons.)

Now some of these posts are actually meant to be read. So why do they disappear from the blog despite being published and seen in the feed. Simple, their creator noticed that they made some mistakes and went to correct the post in "edit posts." What went wrong? Odds are that the writer hit "save as draft" instead of "publish post" when they were done editing.

Drafts are not published and visible on the blog (though for some reason, the search engine spiders can occasionally get to them). They are removed from the blog; unfortunately as I mentioned eariler in this post, they are visible in the feed.

Blog Advice for Occultists: When done editing, hit publish, not "save as draft." And make sure that you are finished editing before you hit anything, saving as a draft removes the post from your blog; but leaves it in the news feed.

That concludes this edition of Blog Advice for Occultists. Remember to keep your pen sharp; you never know when you will have to stab an imp.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Religions of the United States

Religions of the United States.
Ok, this may seem like a side-track to many people (especially those waiting for various part twos), but it is actually not a side-track. It is actually related to both topics.

The graphic above I found on Ananael's blog; he was talking about how Christians have been praying for the economy of the United States for the last deecade. Yeah, I did spit-take. You just can't help chocking when you realize that prayer has been involved in the slow death spiral of the last decade of the US economy.

Looking at the graphic, which shows the membership percentage of each religion in the United States, I could not help thinking about both part twos that are being awaited on.

What this graph has to do with the size of the Golden Dawn market? (skip down for Ouija part)

On the Golden Dawn market front, it is obvious that Golden Dawn Orders must cater to Christians and their viewpoint if...if...if they want a shot at the biggest section of the pie. After all (provided that you think that Roman Catholics are Christians), they represent 78.5% of the potential market.

Of course, this is assuming that the overall potential market for Golden Dawn memberships and products mirrors the overall population religious outlook.

There is a chance that those interested the most in Golden Dawn come from particular religions and sectors, and do not mirror the overall population figures in religious outlook.

But let's presume that the potential market for Golden Dawn mirrors the religious percentages for the overall population.

Now, what Christians find comfortable often other religions do not find comfortable. For instance, the idea that sheep go to heaven and goats go to hell (hehe) is not something that the pagan religions find comfortable, especially when own their gods are classified as demons. Heck, what Catholics are comfortable with Protestants are often uncomfortable with.

This does lead us to the possibility of product differentiation (a nice economy and business term) in the Golden Dawn marketplace. For instance, one Golden Dawn Order could focus on serving Roman Catholics, another on serving the needs of Protestants, and another on serving the needs of the Wiccan community.

Unfortunately, past experience makes this unlikely to happen, except on the small scale. The bigger Orders, and those who want to become big, tends to take everyone in...and then either alienates them or converts them to the religious and philosophical standards of the leadership of the Order.

Please note that I do realize that such differentiation goes against the advice given to the Neophyte...if you are a literalist. I am not saying that the other religions are bad, just that perhaps focusing primarily on different religious comfort zones would be a way to avoid a lot of the in-fighting that we see flaring up on occasion. It is lot easier to live and let live when you are interested in completely different sections of the market.

Teach respect for other religions; don't try to convert your membership to your religion. And be honest when you see someone of a religion that will find your emphasis unbearable and send them to an Order that they will be more comfortable with.

What does religion has to do with Ouija boards?

One of the problems with a Ouija board (a point I will be expanding upon in that particular part two) is the fact that there is a living human being(s) involved. In fact, without a living human being involved, an Ouija board would do nothing.

(Ok, this ignores really powerful entities---but what would they be using a Ouija board for if they were so powerful that they could communicate without one? If you can move the planchette without using a living human being's help, then you are powerful enourgh to get their attention in other ways. For me, this is one of the reasons that the whole Secret Chief myth seems rather shaky.)

Now, the majority of people who would be using an Ouija board would be Christian (definitely counting Roman Catholics as Christians for this thought). Which means that there is a Christian component to the operation and interpretation of Ouija board activities.

Please note that I will expand on this thought in part two of the Ouija board series. I merely wanted to briefly mention this as a factor along with this particular graphic. But for those who want more, consider this---would a pagan view some of the entities that communicate though Ouija boards as hostile (and demonic) as Christians encountering the same entity?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Delay in posting

Mugwort in mortar and pestle.
Apologies to all who are waiting for the next post. I need to edit some photos for Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery before bouncing back to my own stuff. My test project for Smashwords is also on the back burner. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Freaky fact of the day---I have been taking pottery photos for six years now (I realized this fact when doing a "brute search" on the computer today for a photo that my wife needed to consult). For instance, this photo of a mortar and pestle was taken six years ago. I find that kinda amazing; time has flown by.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How big is the Golden Dawn market part 1

One of the problems with being a businessman and a writer is that occasionally one asks a business related question about something that you are not supposed to ask a business question about. I am guilty of doing such nonsense, despite knowing that I shouldn't. It is one of the reasons that I am barred from ever being a true Golden Dawn leader.

So one of my ongoing questions is "How big is the market for Golden Dawn?" In other words, how many potential buyers are there for Golden Dawn articles and books? Perhaps membership in the Orders also? (That last question is really not a concern of mine because...well, can you picture yourself joining an Order that I might have significant voice in?)

One of the yardsticks that I am using to try to gauge this potential market are the membership numbers of the various Yahoo groups. Now note that I am just posting the numbers today; I am not going to talk about how fuzzy the numbers are (I was, but my wife just changed the schedule---I am also kicking the second part of my Ouija ponderings to another day---sorry).

I have put the following list in order from highest membership number to the lowest---this is for convenience only; it is not a statement about the relative merits of the yahoo forum in question or the amount of activity that the forum generates (trust me, at least one person does not want to hear my rant about numbers and churn not being a true indication of a group's worth).

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn: International Golden Dawn Forum "operated ny the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha at Omega" [David Griffin]---membership, as of this afternoon, 9527.

Golden Dawn Forum World Wide: Golden Dawn Mystical and Magical Study "provided as a service of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn" [Robert Zink]---membership 8655.

Magical Working Group: Golden Dawn Magick and Self Initiation "a forum for the teaching and dissemination of the concepts of the Golden Dawn Tradition and Self-Initiation of Magic as revealed by Israel Regardie and the Ciceros" [base textbook is Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition by Chic and Tabitha Cicero]---membership 2097.

Golden Dawn Group: O.G.D. "public forum of Pat Zalewski and the Horus Temple of the Order of the Golden Dawn" [Martin Thibeault]---membership 1357.

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn [underscores between words] "a free magazine dedicated to the Western Esoteric Tradition" [discussions are strictly limited; it is mainly an announcement list for upcoming books, articles and events]---membership 955.

Golden Dawn Fr [French]: l'Ordre Hermetique de l'Aube Doree [a Golden Dawn forum for those people who speak French]---membership 339.

Secret Sanctuary of Golden Dawn---membership 297.

Inner Order Group "extension of the [public forum] of Pat Zalewwski, yet is restricted to the members of various Inner Orders worldwide"---membership 27.

For those who want my quick ballpark estimate, I am guessing based on these membership figures that the potential Golden Dawn market is only a thousand people. As I said, I will go into my reasoning and distrust of the higher numbers later. And if you only want to sell to verified Inner Order members, the market is only about 25 people worldwide.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Things that I am reading today QoD edition

Here are three quotes from things that I have been reading on the web today.

First up is Rufus Opus, who is talking about his unwillingness to be sold a bill of goods in his post Idiocy and the Secret Papers.

"If you want to play those reindeer games, by all means feel free to do so. But don't try to tell me your personal fantasies are really the really real truth. There are no secret documents that weren't developed in the last century, there is no secret Order of initiates from Atlantis, there is no hidden group of ascending masters who will be able to teach you anything you can't find on the internet for free (www.esotericarchives.com, www.hermetic.com) or figure out on your own if you try hard and ask the right spirits for help."

Yes, Rufus makes people upset---all the time. I think that why I like him so much. And here is a hint, if he gets you upset, ask yourself "Why?! Is he telling the truth?"

Second up is Jenn from A Broom and the Moon, talking about Spiritual Menstruation.

"Bottom line, it is immature for any man on this planet not to be comfortable with the fact that women have periods. A woman's body is quite possibly the most beautiful thing on this Earth. Love your woman, her body, and her bodies cycles."

To this day, I am amazed at the discomfort displayed by most men when it comes to the functions of the female body, even men who should know better. Hint---the taboos were installed by the exoteric "no magic allowed" religions.

And finally, Chris Brennan is writing about his concerns about astrologers jumping on the 2012 bandwagon in his article Do Not Associate Astrology With 2012.

"Virtually all claims by astrologers about the significance of 2012 have been made as a result of a preconceived notions that something important is supposed to happen that year because that is what the New Age writers have told people that the Mayans predicted. So most contemporary predictions about 2012 by astrologers are attempts to justify why 2012 could be important from the perspective of contemporary astrological theory, trying to account for the preconceived notion rather than identifying something that stands out as astrologically significant in its own right."

Personally, I extend this concern to all the esoteric sciences, not just astrology. Of course, my regular readers have read my opinion about the 2012 Doomsday. Basically, I think it is not going to happen.

So there you have it---a quick peek into what I have been reading today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ouija boards part one

Last night, I was reading part of the communications between Master R, Paul Foster Case, and Ann Davies. And while reading the second communication (17 February 1947), I found myself saying "Wow---they are using a Ouija board."

For those who are curious about the R, Case, Davies communications, Tony Deluce has uploaded some of them into the file section on the Golden Dawn Group yahoo group (the yahoo group that Pat Zalewski hangs out on).

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe they were not using a Ouija board. But it sure sounds like it.

"Incidentally, it may interest you to know that this type of board was a development from the earlier planchette which had a pencil at the point. The script so written was often difficult to decipher, so this arrangement was projected into the mind of a sensetive who happened to have unusual business acumen; and he and his family made a small fortune from Ouija until the patent expired."

Of course, if it is a Ouija board, and Case is considered to be an Adept, and Master R a Sceret Chief, then here we have an example of an Order Head communicating with a Secret Chief though the use of a Ouija board.

And that so alarms me. My reasons for being alarmed I will expound upon in part two of this set (which hopefully will be written tomorrow).