Upcoming Class: The Magic of Resistance


There are lots of articles out there about how people are using magic for “self-care” and protest in the current political climate. If you’re interested in how it’s actually done, this is the class for you.

Did you know that many famous 19th century Theosophists, Spiritualists and occultists supported women’s suffrage? Did you know that Pamela Coleman Smith, the artist for the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, also made political posters? What about that time protesters tried to levitate the Pentagon? Modern witchcraft has a distinctly feminist history, and liberation movements often have a spiritual element. A discussion of the deep historical heritage of modern magical protest will be followed by some practical techniques for keeping centered and calm when you are trying to speak up and other useful techniques for those trying to bring about positive change in the world. For experienced organizers who want to prevent burnout, those seeking ways to make their voice heard, and everyone in between.

$10 in advance, $15 at the door. Spaces are limited. Call Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore to register, 404-255-5207.

Modern Magick, a partial review

A previous version of this post appeared on my Patreon.

Modern Magick:  Eleven Lessons in the High Magickal Arts by Donald Michael Kraig.

What’s most fun is that I read this book years ago, after having practiced witchcraft for a while but before getting into Faery, and again recently.  The main reason I bought it in the first place was because a student asked me about the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and I had to say I’d never done it, so…I more or less picked up the first book I found that had it in it.  This would have been early 2002.

Funny story:  I was Anti Angel then.  I had spent a little too much time being the sole Pagan among a bunch of New Agers who were all about the light.  And angels.  They were very into angels, and also very tiresome.  Plus, I thought, angels were way too Judeo-Christian for me and also far too patriarchal.  Who needed angels?  Not me.  Pfft.

The LBRP, you may have heard, involves invoking the Archangels.  And I was not into angels, but that’s how you do it and I am a Capricorn.  I didn’t expect much, but I was going to do the thing the Right Way…

AND SUDDENLY THERE ARE ARCHANGELS ALL UP IN MY LIVING ROOM.  I mean…when you invoke Somebody, and they very definitely show up?  Like that.

Me:  “Whaa…”


Me:  “Err…”

And that’s how I started working with angels.  Mostly Michael.  But the book itself, which I read through, I didn’t really pick up much after that.  I can’t remember what I didn’t like about it; I have a vague impression that I found it boring and pompous.

I now have a more nuanced, mature assessment.  Which is that it’s lively and not at all pedantic if you’ve read Regardie and those guys first, but otherwise…yeah.  I don’t agree with his statements about black magic, white magic, and grey magic AT ALL, which should shock no one.  (I may devote an entire post to that).  I get why he describes making the tools, etc the way he does (to keep it accessible) but I still find it a little hokey.  There’s less philosophy, theology, and intellectual depth than I would prefer.  The exercises worked for me, though I don’t know how some of them would work for a less experienced person.  I really liked the suggestions for a magical journal…to record the phase of the moon (I added what sign the moon was in and sometimes my personal transits), the weather, the location and other circumstances, and how you felt….and kind of wished I had picked up on that the first time I read the book.

I honestly haven’t worked all the way through the book yet, because I don’t want to make magical tools and abandon them and I still feel this stuff, at least done precisely this way, isn’t really for me.  Or else I want to know more about it in context before I follow his directions.  I did come up with a magical name in the form of a Latin motto, because of course I did.  It has two literary allusions and a pun.  In Latin.  Because this is who you are dealing with.   I decided to move on to other books in my to-read list and come back to this one later.

Update:  Some members of my Introduction to Witchcraft class have decided they want to work their way through this book, so I may be revisiting it again in the near future.  Taking my public classes at Phoenix and Dragon is a good way to get hooked up for this sort of thing.  I have So Many Books that I could do this kind of walk-through with.

Taking Advice From the Dead

A previous version of this post appeared on my Patreon blog.

I’ve mentioned before in other venues that I maintain an ancestor altar, that it’s a big part of my practice (including my first line of defense), and that among other things I keep a Tarot of the Dead on it which I use to communicate with said ancestors.  In a crisis they are full of practical advice; other times they lean to the snarky.  (They are my relatives, after all…)  One of my yearly Samhain readings basically said, “You don’t call us enough…”

A while ago, I sought advice on why I felt stuck, spiritually speaking.  I am an initiate of Amderson Faery which I taught for ten years.  I have published academic papers on Southern folk magic, and taught workshops all over the Southeastern US and in Scotland. I have been a professional psychic for many years. But I felt blocked and I felt blah and the fun had gone out of a lot of it.  What should I do?

The reading said in essence that I had become lazy and complacent, that I was too comfortable in the areas where I felt knowledgeable, and that I should learn something new.  (One of the ways you know a communication is for real is when it’s abundantly clear that your ego is NOT doing the talking…)

It so happens that I have…a LOT of books, especially Pagany books on various subjects.  Many books.  Many, many books.  So many books that they are the biggest pain in the ass when I move, EVEN THOUGH I have heavy inherited antiques.  Like every other academically inclined nerd, I’ve bought books on various topics for reference or because I was interested in them but never really read them; quite a few are on ceremonial magic and the grimoire tradition, those being subjects I know something about but don’t practice or know much about in depth.  Would those do?  Yes…

So I started working my way though Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick.  And got kind of bored, but stuck it out.  Then I started reading Jake Stratton-Kent’s Encyclopedia Goetia….and that’s how I wound up with more books, some of which I checked out from the UGA Library, and puzzling my way through some spells in the Greek Papyri which feel strangely familiar.

The moral of this story is mostly that books lead to more books, at least if you’re me.  And, importantly, that it worked.  I don’t feel stuck any more.  Things are shifting for me in interesting ways.  What am I going to do next?  I guess we’ll find out….

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