ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
The following showed up in my inbox today: 
solicitation
I have to assume that this is a blanket email sent out to everyone who gets something published in Anthropology of Consciousness -- either that, or they're really, really desperate for editorial board members. The sentence "Taking your academic background and expertise in this field into account, the Board believe that you may be the most suitable person for this position" had me giggling -- after all, my academic background consists of a bachelor's degree from a not especially distinguished US public university, my major career achievement so far has been the twelve years I served as Grand Archdruid of a contemporary Druid order, and my most widely read publication is a book on monster lore that argues, among other things, for the real existence of werewolves. 

Oh, and the paper that got them all excited was a reprint of this item, which interprets certain trends in left-wing political activism through the lens of traditional occult philosophy. Just the thing you want in your nice serious journal of social sciences...
ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
Magic FailWell, the self-proclaimed Magic Resistance just scored another impressive own goal. Today's hex party at a Brooklyn pagan bookstore, dedicated to cursing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (and everyone and everything else the attendees happen to be upset about), got plenty of advance media publicity -- and thus came to the attention of conservative Roman Catholics. (That's Kavanaugh's religious affiliation, after all.)  As a result, Catholics have broken out their own substantial arsenal of ritual weaponry to protect Kavanaugh: exorcists are performing masses on his behalf, and ordinary Catholic laypeople are fasting and praying the rosary with the same end in view. 

I'm not a fan of the Roman Catholic church, for a variety of reasons. (First among them: my wife is an ex-Catholic, and like nearly everyone else I know who's left that church, she bailed after watching repeated, appalling abuses of power on the part of Catholic clergy and religious, which were condoned and covered up by the hierarchy.) That said, we're talking about the world's largest single religious denomination, which has getting on for two thousand years of experience crafting rituals to deal with hostile nonphysical powers. The moral failings of the Catholic hierarchy, serious as they are, don't affect the efficacy of Catholic ritual forms or the potency that competent priests and devout believers can put into them. 

(This probably deserves a few words of further comment. An embarrassingly large number of people on the leftward end of things seem to think that their magic has to work because they're the good guys, y'know, and the other side is doomed to inevitable failure because they're so eeeeeeevil. That shows the bad influence of cheap fantasy novels on modern thought. One plumber, let's say, can be a perfectly competent plumber and and be a rotten person; another can be a really nice person with all the right opinions, and still do a lousy job of fixing your sink. The same is true in magic. Moral virtue is no substitute for competent ritual backed by a thorough knowledge of magical principles -- or vice versa, for that matter.)

In other words, by neglecting one of the basic rules of effective magic and blathering their intentions far and wide, the Magic Resistance has just recruited an 800 pound gorilla for the other side. You can bet that in the weeks and months and years to come, conservative Catholics will keep a sharp eye out for any other magical working aimed at Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh, or any other conservative targets that attract hostile magical attention, and break out their own well-honed cache of ritual workings to counter it. I doubt the results will be particularly welcome to Trump's Neopagan enemies. 

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ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

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