I’ll be live on Taylor Ellwood’s Magical Experiments podcast on Monday Dec. 12 from 6 to 7 pm PT. Talk to you then!
I’ll be live on Taylor Ellwood’s Magical Experiments podcast on Monday Dec. 12 from 6 to 7 pm PT. Talk to you then!
It’s a sneak peek! I’ll be reading from my new book, For the Love of the Gods, The History and Modern Practice of Theurgy, Our Pagan Inheritance.
Follow the footsteps of history and discover the path to the gods! A silver thread connects us to our ancestors. Come meet a priestess, a soldier, a monk, and a courtesan who all practiced theurgy, a ritual approach to joining the company of the gods.
Sex: Thelemic magick is gendered. Both the priest and the priestess are necessary to accomplish the miracle of the Gnostic Mass. Even so women regularly encounter the idea that men actively work the magick of the system while women passively assist them. Some writers critique our sex magic writings and conclude that Thelemic sex magick exploits women. We will examine these ideas and discuss solutions.
Love: Directed sexual energy accomplishes thaumaturgy; theurgy responds to the call of Babalon and Nuit – unto me! New formulae construct the framework for women’s ritual exploration of the active sex magician role. The gendered magick of Thelema leads us to the realization of our own divinity through the sexual relationship of the human with the divine.
Thelema: At present there are two paths for women in Thelema: to experience the system as men and to represent the divine feminine as the priestess does in the Mass. How can women also walk the path of accomplishment as Thelemic magicians? We can deconstruct the formulations that prevent this and suggest avenues for women’s operative magick, including notes toward a “woman’s Mass”.
I was crushed when Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic primary in 2008. I could see that black people around the country were deeply moved and celebratory about Barack Obama’s win. It felt like it was their moment and that mine had been deferred. I didn’t realize at the time how racist that was.
You might remember 2008 as year two in the economic crisis. That was the year I turned Libertarian and tuned into Michael Ruppert’s dystopian vision of economic and ecosystem collapse. I spent my social media time posting links to stories to wake people up! My family turned a closet into a pantry and filled it with dry goods. We all went out and got concealed carry permits. I didn’t know a single one of my neighbors and wondered what would happen in a true emergency.
There are only so many cans of beans you can store before you have to get out and start talking to people. I decided to do one thing. The thing I decided to do was food. Where did Kitsap County get its food? If the trucks stopped rolling into the grocery stores who would feed us? I started a food blog to chronicle our efforts to feed ourselves entirely from the local ecosystem. This dovetailed neatly with the contemporary fascination with local food.
The blog introduced me to a lot of people. I went to farmers markets. I tracked down every farm in a five-mile radius. I learned that local farmers were concerned about zoning policies so I started going to county hearings. I met my county council rep, my state senator, the mayor of the nearest town, a chef who was invited by Michelle Obama to the White House to talk about feeding kids. I attended the annual Human Rights conference to listen to them all talk about how to solve food deserts and make sure the food banks were filled. I became a Master Gardener and learned that our demonstration gardens grow produce for the food banks. I started keeping bees and ended up as president of the local club.
While we were grounding ourselves in local community I also took on some big philosophical questions. As a lifelong feminist I have been a passionate advocate for women’s community, and I wrote an entire book about gender and spirituality, The Woman Magician. I edited the anthology Women’s Voices in Magic to use my writer platform to make space for other women to speak.
As a Pagan I started talking publically about theurgy, working with the gods. In this work I was called out for racism. I did some reading and realized that I had a lot to learn! That started my journey in social justice as an ally leveraging my own privilege to advocate for others. I finally realized how important Barack Obama’s presidency had been. I cringed at the inexcusably vicious racism his family was subjected to every day. I looked at my own work with a better educated and more critical eye and vowed to call out racism in myself and others. I accepted the invitation to co-edit the anthology Bringing Race to the Table to use my writer platform to make space for the discussion of race.
Somewhere in there I realized that the Libertarian vision which had awakened me to the threat humans pose to the world trended more toward isolation and individual advantage than in mutually solving our problems. Also I was depressing the heck out of my friends posting nothing but dystopian links. I jumped to the progressive side of the house when the Occupy movement rose up. My family was travelling the country that fall and we ran into demonstrations everywhere. When we got home I joined Occupy Bremerton and connected up with the local social justice community. This community has two long-time supporters: the churches, in particular the Unitarian Universalists, and the unions. I don’t belong to either so I’m always an outsider. I introduce myself to each gathering with the joke that I bring diversity to the group.
Occupy ran out its course but local social justice activists remained engaged with community. At the annual county Human Rights Conference I learned the history of the Suquamish Tribe whose territory I have settled in and vowed to uphold the treaty that governs our relationship. I listened to LGBTQ concerns. I welcomed the enthusiasm of the Millennial generation who seem to me to be ready to save us all.
Black Lives Matter surfaced through social media as a dispersed community, not an organization but a hashtag! The local social justice community started holding discussions about race. I turned up for public vigils called by BLM, putting my own body in the streets in an effort to protect my neighbors.
My own neighborhood turns out to be an example of the diversity of the country. In our plat there are two duplexes and two single family homes housing 13 people: two black men, a Nepalese family, an older white guy and his wife running a small business, a new Navy family expecting their first girl, my two guys and me. I give my neighbors vegetables, lavender, and Christmas cards. They started keeping vegetables and chickens too. We watch each other’s houses and play with each other’s dogs. I can hardly remember what it was like to huddle in my kitchen and wonder what my neighbors would do in a crisis. I know now – we would pitch in and help each other.
Eight years after Hillary lost the Democratic primary (despite my vote!) she launched another campaign but didn’t initially get my support. The world had changed so much and I had changed so much. As a progressive I had discovered Bernie Sanders and when and he threw his hat in the ring I initially supported him. On my trip around the country I had stood on a street corner in Burlington Vermont watching the Occupy college kids speak out and his campaign seemed like a logical extension of that.
What gave me pause was a Burlington newspaper editor’s up-close account of Bernie’s temperament and record. Then the Bernie Bros started their painfully sexist meme campaigns. I realized that his candidacy was not only tapping into the youthful enthusiasm for change but the deep-rooted misogyny that has made the U.S. late to have a woman leader. The people repeating “I don’t trust her!” were caving to 25 years of GOP smears which the Bernie Bros picked up and happily repeated. Millennials didn’t trust her because they’ve been hearing that stuff their entire lifetimes. Reporters running fact checks reported that Hillary was the most truthful candidate in the campaign.
Unlike the folk repeating one-inch-deep misogynist headlines, people of color brought up real issues. They pointed to Clinton policies which helped create the New Jim Crow. Women got the vote in 1920 but racist policies effectively disenfranchised black women until the Civil Rights Act in 1965 and white feminists supported those policies. Hillary’s white feminism follows in those suffragist footsteps. It should not be surprising that black women’s support for Hillary would be tempered with mistrust.
I also sympathized with critics of the corporate oligarchy who argue that neither party is significantly different from the other and that the act of voting is an acceptance of being ruled. One millennial anarchist on my FB feed advocated voting for Trump so that the system becomes so intolerable the majority will wake up to the need for change. Others announced their intention to opt out of voting altogether or cast a protest vote for the Libertarian Gary Johnston or the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Dan Savage decisively denounced grandstanding politics, pointing out that an effective party isn’t built on a presidential campaign but years of fielding candidates for dog catcher and state rep. Savage pointed out that the people who would suffer under a Trump presidency are not the white people (mostly upper class) supporting either of the alternate candidates, but people of color, LGBTQ people, minority faiths, and women.
I didn’t get to vote for Hillary in the 2016 primary because Washington state doesn’t have one. It’s a caucus state and went for Bernie. There was a primary ballot that delivered no delegates and Hillary won that symbolic vote. Eventually she won the Democratic primary. The Bernie-or-Bust people insisted that party leadership’s opposition to Bernie’s campaign had rigged the election, even though Bernie’s press secretary said “No one stole the election from us”. Bernie had never been a Democrat or supported the party and said he was joining so he could get more votes – why would party leadership welcome him? This is a good example of the need to build mutually supporting relationships before launching a presidential campaign.
I watched only snippets of the Republican National Convention, a sea of white faces bellowing hate and crafting a platform that demonizes women, LGBTQ people, and non-Christians, of which I am all. Then I watched the entire Democratic National Convention on CSPAN. It was such a relief after the RNC hatefest that I sobbed the whole time. The DNC celebrated optimism and teamwork. I saw people like my neighbors and people like me. I saw an infomercial, I didn’t lose sight of that, but it was selling a view of the world that is the one I want to live in. The convention was about electing a Democrat, but it wasn’t just about that. It was also about the affirmation of a deeply positive view of the world. The entire convention was a call-in to join with our neighbors to improve each other’s lives and improve the world.
Bernie Sanders stepped up and turned into a politician who can get things done. In trade for getting 90% of what he wanted on the platform, he endorsed Hillary Clinton. It was what he wanted, and it was what I wanted! I want his vision of the world, I want his policies enacted. This is where Bernie discovered that the hardest core Bernie-or-Bust folk didn’t support his agenda, they just hate Hillary. In thwarted-white-entitlement-burn-the-world tantrum they’re voting for Trump. Really.
So Hillary finally got to step onto the stage. For decades she’s been criticized for talking too softly, shouting too loudly, being too liberal, being too hawkish, not smiling, laughing too loud, wearing the wrong things, being too standoffish, wanting power too much, being a woman who dared to lead. At the convention she’d finally cracked the code, navigating all the expectations and looking authentically herself. On the day of the roll call she showed up on TV in red – this woman is a boss! On the day Barack Obama endorsed her she came out to hug him in blue – this woman is a team player. On the day she accepted the nomination she wore suffragette white. This is what a feminist looks like, when she is nominated for president.
She gave the most important speech of her life and knocked it out of the park. She used progressive terms – one percent, systemic racism. She called for overturning Citizens United. She vowed to extend Social Security, provide universal health care, craft a path to citizenship for immigrants, make college free and forgive existing college debt. She offered an economic plan and planned to pay for it all by taxing the rich and corporations. This is a new New Deal. And she did it as “my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother.”
I cheered and I cried. I watched that speech again and cheered and cried again.
Then I sobered up and said okay, it’s a lot to promise, it’s campaign rhetoric, but given the contrast to the rhetoric of hate, it is the rhetoric I will support. Then the Moody’s report came out which validated at least her economic plan. Ten million new jobs under her presidency, while Trump’s would usher in a deeper and longer recession than 2007. Also, she believes in science, and Trump would overturn the Paris accords.
Sadly, it turned out that the misogynsts have by no means given up silencing women. Any woman who dared to enjoy the moment that a woman was nominated president by a major party was immediately jumped on. I posted one FB post and was barraged with one-line “I don’t trust her” comments, along with women who said quietly, “Is this a place where I can say how happy I am?”
Yes, it is. My work is about protecting women’s voices. You can say “I’m with her!” on any of my channels. I will always dialogue respectfully with people of color and people working for social justice, and you’re invited to say “Girl I guess I’m with her” and tell me why.
If you’re not voting for Hillary I’m not going to try to convince you to do it. I’m also not going to debate you. The ship has sailed. If you’re voting for Trump because you agree with him, I support your right to vote, but our values do not align and I don’t have the time or thick enough skin to discuss it with you. If you are voting for Trump because you think we can weather four years of Trump, we thought we could weather four years of Bush and he gave us Clarence Thomas and the Iraq war and broke the world economy. If you’re protesting by voting for Gary Johnston or Jill Stein, they do not have a chance to win (Bernie knows it) and it is a protest vote. If you are casting a protest vote or abstaining you are letting someone else make the choice. You’ve chosen silence and I respect your choice so no talking here. If you’re undecided, remember if nothing else that the next president will appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices who will weigh in on gay marriage, health care, voting rights, corporate personhood, and all the social justice issues that will determine our quality of life for the next decade at least.
I am under no illusions that the new New Deal is a done deal. I am not unaware of the existence of the corporate oligarchy or Hillary’s culpability in the rise of the New Jim Crow. I will do my best to oppose the rule of the few and oppose white supremacy. I’m not giving Hillary a free pass, I’m going to hold her accountable for the prison reform and bank reform she’s promised. That said, #I’mwithher, however much or little she manages to accomplish, because the world she pictured is the one I want.
I’m not going to let anyone use my channels to silence women or broadcast hate or vent a complaint. If you post “I don’t like/trust Hillary” I’m deleting with no further notice. But I do want to hear your voice. Instead of telling me what you oppose, tell me what kind of world you want. Then tell me, what are you doing about it?
Whatever it is you choose to do, Do one thing. It is bound to connect you with others who can help you make it happen.
Jailbreaking the Goddess launches today! Lasara Firefox Allen’s new book smashes the Maiden-Mother-Crone mold. Today is a great day to order your copy. When you buy Jailbreaking the Goddess on July 8, 9, or 10, you’ll also access to a variety of gifts from magickal artists, writers, healers, and diviners. Gifts like guided meditations, Tarot readings, poetry, and more! A copy of my article “Feminist Thelema” is one of the launch gifts. Click the link to the launch page for more details.
A bit about the book: in Lasara’s vision the goddess is young and old, creative and wise, and above all strong. This is a Goddess who can map onto our own journeys at any part of our life. Lasara’s gentle, fierce, and wise work guides us through the process of rebuilding our sense of ourselves as holy through relationship to these new faces of the Goddess.
Here’s the launch page! It has all the info about the gifts and how to get them.
Nuit is infinite space, Babalon welcomes all, but we are more limited. Thelemites are only human, striving to perfect ourselves through the lessons of incarnation. Radical Thelema dares us to dig to the root of Thelema – challenging us where we block our own progress and engaging our institutions where they create barriers to freedom. Radical Thelema unfolds the work of Babalon on Earth and calls every living soul home to the infinite love of Nuit.
Radical Thelema includes four presentations. Each can be experienced independently, asking questions, presenting tools, and suggesting avenues of experimentation. The presentations are rooted in historic research and contemporary Thelemic work while offering new philosophical and ritual ideas. Together they form a theoretical framework encouraging the construction of new rituals and other Thelemic works.
The initial presentation leverages the wisdom of the community through a structured discussion posing a series of questions on core topics:
Who is the Woman Thelemite? She is the Scarlet Woman, the priestess of Babalon, the transgressive power of women’s sexuality. Babalon points us to the ancient Goddesses of Life and their priestesses in the Aeon of Isis. The Aeon of Osiris rejected the Goddess and elevated the God to the status of creator. In that aeon Western religion rejected the female divine and demonized women’s sexuality. In the New Aeon the Goddess comes roaring back! Babalon’s priestesses demand to be acknowledged magicians in our own right. Thelemites in this Aeon take up the task of balancing the Goddess and the God, re-sacralizing sexuality, and working as sisters, brothers and lovers with each other.
“There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” What does that mean?
Thelema is a theurgic system rooted in Neo-Platonism. The Platonic philosophers were also Pagan priests and priestesses. They explained the soul’s descent into incarnation and the path of return to the realm of the gods. Recent scholarship re-links the philosophical texts to the practical rituals preserved in medieval grimoires and rediscovered in ancient texts.
This presentation reviews Liber Astarte in the context of contemporary and ancient theurgy. Theurgic ritual offers a deeper understanding of Nuit and Hadit, Babalon and Chaos, Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Baphomet, and of ourselves.
Crowley and other westerners learned sex magick partly from the teachings of other cultures. This presentation surveys the state of sex magick today, from Chinese texts through newly translated Tantras to Western esotericism. Directed sexual energy accomplishes thaumaturgy; theurgy responds to the call of Babalon and Nuit – unto me! The gendered magick of Thelema leads us to the realization of our own divinity through the sexual relationship of the human with the divine.
I’m going to be co-keynote at Babalon Rising! This is a festival in Indiana, I haven’t been and I’m very excited. Stay tuned for more details!
Here are the reading lists I am recommending for each of my presentations – to save you the time to record them!
Here’s what I’ll be doing at Pantheacon this year. Hope to see you there!
Saturday, February 13
Sunday, February 14
Two years ago, September 2013, I started writing “Pagan Theurgy”. Six months later I turned in a manuscript that in retrospect looks more like notes toward a book. My (fantastic) editor kicked it back to me for a rewrite. I turned in the rewrite the first week of September 2015. So that’ll teach me to think I can write a book in six months!
My editor likes the rewrite and has placed it on the launch track. It’s such a relief. I’ve got some edits to clean up by the end of the year, but compared to the extensive reworking of the last 18 months, they’re pretty darned minor.
To celebrate I promptly went on vacation. Every free weekend and vacation week for the last two years has been spent on the writing – it’s time to party! In my case this means taking Alex on a week long vacation to…Sequim, where I’ve been doing all the writing. We closed the bookstore for a week and just went.
It was very interesting to be in the same house doing something completely different. I actually didn’t sit down at my computer once that whole time. We stocked up on local food at Nash’s Farm Store and Sunny Farm store and mostly cooked in the kitchen, saving our money for a really great dinner at Alder Wood Bistro on our last night. Ted came out one evening and we had a family dinner and breakfast, with the great conversation we have when we’re all relaxed and have the time.
Being in the same landscape on the same month felt like starting over. It was such a vivid reminder of when I first visited to start writing two years ago. I remembered the color of the light, the seasonal notices in the stores, the look of the farmland. With the book behind me it felt like I could relax and enjoy it all. I am very fond of Sequim and expect to spend more time there when I retire. In the meantime I can look forward to editing weekends.
Oh, and I took half an hour at Hurricane Ridge and scribbled notes for three more books.
Here’s what we did on our end-of-summer vacation.
Cline Spit county park is very close to the house. It was a calm day when these fishermen set out.
Two out-of-commission dams have been removed from the Elwha River to restore the salmon runs. This is where the lower dam used to be – hardly looks like a dam at all now!
Cape Alava is the northwest tip of the continental US. The walk out to the viewpoint is three quarters of a mile of slick boardwalk but totally worth it.
Alex took much better images than I did all weekend. He was dressed for the part too!
Lake Crescent. I grabbed this quick shot leaning over Alex in the driver seat on our way back from the Makah reservation.
Hurricane Ridge on a rare cloudless day. The visitor center is open all year long, gets pretty snowy in the winter!
This used to be Cedarbrook farm. Now the restaurant Crave serves local food out of what used to be the gift shop.
There’s a settler cemetery close to the house with a spectacular view of Sequim-Dungeness farmland and the Olympic mountains.
Dungeness Spit. It’s five miles one way to the lighthouse, mind the tides!
If you mean to take a picture of the railroad bridge, best do it right away. It’s coming down to be replaced by a safer but less picturesque pedestrian bridge.
We spent a beautiful week in a beautiful place. Now I’m catching up on all my blogging and such before wading back in to finish the edits.