Crowley and Waite

When I was preparing to teach my Tarot 101 class at Magus last week I decided to do a bit of research and the creators of two of the most common Tarot decks; the Rider/Waite and the Thoth.   I’ve always recommend that students start with the Waite deck or one that follows his symbolism.  I’ve never been a fan of the Thoth deck myself, but many people are drawn to it.  I could list all the things I don’t like about Thoth and what I do like about the Waite deck, but I’ll save that for another time.  What drew my attention was the similarities and differences between the two men.  

I knew they were both involved in a Victorian occult group called The Order of the Golden Dawn.  So I was curious about how they might have interacted.  Well, they didn’t like each other much!  In fact Crowley referred to Waite as “dead Waite”.  

Waite was born in the US in 1857, his father died when he was quite young and his mother returned to England.  He grew up in fairly humble circumstances.  In contrast Crowley was born to well to do fundamentalist Christians (Plymouth Brethern) in 1875.  

Waite’s biographer said that Waite was the first person to undertake a systematic study of Western mysticism as a spiritual tradition.  Crowley on the other hand was influenced by Eastern philosophies including Hinduism, Buddhism and Egyptian practices.  Early on Crowley created his own religion and declared himself its prophet.  

They most certainly knew each other.  Waite joined the Golden Dawn in 1893. He left in 1896 and re-joined in 1899. Crowley, who was 18 years younger joined in 1898.  Waite was also a Freemason and at one point  Rosicrucian.  

Waite created his Tarot publishing it in 1910.  Much of the symbolism was based on a complete deck that dated back to 1491.  Crowley first envisioned his deck as a six month project, but it ended up taking five years!  He completed the deck in 1943, but both he and the artist died before it was published by the OTO in 1969.  Oh one more thing of interest!  Crowley is widely believed to have been a spy!

-Carol, Magus Minion

Holistic Skin Care

As someone who has suffered through cystic acne,I know all too importance of taking care of your skin. I’ve seen multiple doctors and have tried to multiple remedies for my skin. Unfortunately I can only do so much as much of skin issues stem from hormones. However,I have found that our Blending Babes Rose hydrosil has been crucial in maintaining my oily/acne prone skin. It’s a common misconception that just washing your face will prevent acne. Oily skin requires extra maintenance because our skin tends to be problematic.Using a toner will close up the skin, to keep more dirt from getting into your pores. Moisturizing keeps your skin  from producing extra sebum from being produced. In summer it’s common to produce more oil, it’s the body’s defense against the harsh sun.
It is crucial to tone your face and to use moisturizer especially with oily skin. I prefer to use our rose hydrosol for my toner because it is so gentle and calming to my inflamed acne. It has been nothing short of miraculous for me. I find that it’s refreshing and calming. As an extra measure I even apply it before putting on my make up. It’s a staple in my personal care and might be excellent for yours.
 -Xochitl, Magus Minion

Flower Essences

If you are like me, you probably have tried using essential oils, tinctures, herbs, and teas for health and wellness. I have been using these types of remedies for over four years now and have found success with them.

While these remedies work well for some people, I often hear people say they have trouble finding the time to make tea multiple times a day, or that they haven’t found and tinctures or oils that help them. Many people, including me, have recently turned to flower essences for their ease and effectiveness.

Flower essences are mysterious mixtures that have been used primarily for pain management and for emotional and psychological maladies and traumas. They are very simple to use and can even be made at home. They seem to defy science since, while all across the world people have been finding success using them, no one has of yet figured out how they work.

There are hundreds of different flowers in use and each flower aids in a different way. Some help you with lower back pain, others help you make sense of your dreams. With the help of a knowledgeable practitioner you can create your own personalized mixture to suit your needs.

At Magus Books, we recognize the need for easily available flower essence information. Clare Nieto is our flower essence practitioner and is dedicated to the advancement of flower essence use in the modern world. Clare is funny, witty, and most importantly, knows her stuff when it comes to flower essences. Clare teaches classes monthly here at our very own Magus Academy. Whether this is your first time hearing about them, or you just want a little more information on them, Clare can help you progress toward becoming the best version of yourself you can achieve.

If you would like to be added to the list to get notifications of upcoming classes you can check out www.magusbooks.com or email Clare at clare@claregarndernieto.com and check out her site at www.claregardnernieto.com

-Ryan Stewart, Magus Minion

Minion Profile

Ryan Stewart

 

I am a new Magus Minion and UMN student. I am not only new to the school and store, but also new to Minnesota. I moved from Los Angeles in the middle of winter to pursue an education in Psychology. I plan study human behavior and how body language can be observed to detect deceit and how to differentiate it from general stress. I originally came to work for Magus because of my side interests in various religions, specifically Taoism and Qabalah, and to learn more about herbalism. Since joining, I have also become fascinated with tarot, chakras, flower essences, and pretty much everything at Magus.

 

Every time I walk into the front door and descend into the store I feel as if I have walked into another dimension. From classes on various esoteric topics nearly every day, to hundreds of books on everything from Astrology to Chaos Magic, Magus is a refuge for anyone interested in learning more about history, life, and even themselves. While there are ample examples of excellent items, the one I would like to share is a simple, yet underrated one. Magus carries excellent reusable tea bags made from muslin. They are definitely a steal at 95 cents. I have nice tea infusers in my home as well but I end up using these more often since they are so useful. They fit in any cup, have long drawstrings for ease of use, and can hold 1-3 tablespoons of herbs.

Chakra Stones: Sacral Chakra

As we continue to move up the Kundalini to the sacral chakra, the second chakra of the main seven. This chakra correlates with inner child work, sexual organs, life’s purpose, and addiction.

 

A classic stone that is commonly associated with the sacral chakra is carnelian. It is readily available at most holistic or crystal shops. This stone grounds and anchors you to present reality. It stimulates creativity and motivation, removes fear of death and promotes positive life choices. It also restores vitality. Carnelian is used to overcome abuse of any kind, the inner child, who holds trauma lives in the sacral chakra. Protects against rage, envy and resentment. Improves analytical abilities, it is a stone full of life force. The physical benefits are extensive, ranging from increasing fertility, helping with lower back pain and arthritis especially in the elderly. Carnelian has the ability to regulate bodily fluids and kidneys.

 

Another stone useful for the health of the sacral chakra is orange calcite. Calcite naturally comes in several colors, that share common healing characteristics, orange resonates most with the second chakra. It is known to be highly energizing and cleansing. It can balance emotions and remove fear, helpful in overcoming depression. This stone maximized potential while letting problems dissipate. Physically it helps to heal the reproductive system, gall bladder and intestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

-Lily, Magus Reader

The Magus Arcane Academy

You might be aware that Magus is more than a place to get your Chamomile (or other herbal medicines). You might even know that we have the largest selection of occult books in the Midwest. Magus is so much more than just a book and herb shop. Magus Healing Center is where we offer a number of services, including Massage, Herbal Consults, Cupping, Reiki, and Flower Essence therapy. We also offer a wide range of classes presented every night of the week, through The Magus Arcane Academy.

Magus’s Arcane Academy is a space where those of us who work at Magus Books and Herbs or in the healing center, are able to teach on any number of esoteric and occult topics. Each teacher has 10 or more years of experience working in their field. Many of us have studied these topics at the university level and I’m more than proud have them on the staff. As the Manager of the Academy, I’d love to tell you a little bit about the different classes we offer.

Liz Johnson teaches all of the herb classes. With over 25 years of experience working in herbal medicine, hosts classes like Herbs for Stress, and Minerals for the Bath, and Herbal Home Remedy Chest and Fun with Fungi. If you even have the slightest interest in herbal medicine  or want to know more about the herbs you see every day (and those you might have seen on our wall) I couldn’t recommend any of Liz’s classes enough.

We also offer a number of classes on more esoteric topics. Adam  teaches classes on western concepts of demons and other such spirits in his Introduction to Demonology and Summing Basics classes. With his Masters in Western Esotericism he is well versed in the historical concepts of what demons are going back thousands of years. Kyle Ford, with her degree in Anthropology, offers classes on Alchemy and Esotericism in Art History. If you’re a history buff or interested in the strange, curious, or darker sides of western mystery traditions, check these classes out and learn for our most esteemed occultists.

Our readers Carol Watson and Cameron Williams teach their respective classes once a month. Carol has a series of classes on the basics of tarot as well as Using Tarot In Ritual. These classes are always full and so I suggest signing up for them as soon as possible to ensure a seat in this month’s class. Cameron  is just now teaching with us at the Academy and has already received high praise from his students . I had a group of young ladies saying how much they enjoyed the Introduction to Chiromancy a.k.a. Palmistry class when they came in for my class Introduction Astrology: Houses, Signs, and Planets.

I can’t express how excited I am at seeing the Academy grow as it has over the past year. Every day there is something new and exciting happening in our little classroom. Even with studying various occult and magical topics for over fifteen years, I’m supposed just how little I know when I sit in on one of my colleges classes.

If you’re looking for something new to do on a weekday night, or want something different to do with your friends or family, I couldn’t suggest a more entertaining , and enlightening, activity than taking any one of the classes Magus Arcane Academy offers. I very much look forward to seeing you in class.

Sincerely,
-Markus K. Ironwood, Magus Arcane Academy Manager

Welcome… To Night Vale

Somewhere in the dry western deserts of America there is a town where every conspiracy theory (and then some) is true. Hooded figures roam the streets; agents from a vague yet menacing government agency sneak around; the secret police record everything said with ill-concealed microphones; and the city council growls and chants their press statements in unison, often on the way to yet another vacation. This is Night Vale, the surreal, absurd, and wonderfully strange fictional town narrated by local community radio host Cecil Palmer (Cecil Baldwin) in Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s podcast Welcome to Nightvale.

 

The podcast is one of my favorites, the first I started listening to regularly. It is silly, funny and at times, heart-wrenching. The writing is spot on, the music is odd but great, and Baldwin’s sonorous voice is rich enough to sink into. I’m not quite caught up with the series yet (and don’t you dare tell me any spoilers!), mostly because I want to sustain the pleasure of listening to it for as long as I can.

 

Which is why it made me really happy to see that Fink and Cranor had written a Night Vale book. The eponymously named volume does correspond with a particular point in the podcast, but can be read quite easily without once listening at all. It is a beautifully written piece in the usual Night Vale style that follows a few side characters who occasionally get mentioned in the podcast but not enough that you know them beyond their jobs (pawn shop owner and head of the PTA).

 

The Welcome to Night Vale book, along with Mostly Void, Partially Stars, which collects the first season of episodes in writing and illustration, are great for the established Night Vale fan or the interested but podcast wary reader alike. And I, fangirl that I am, can’t recommend them enough.

-Katta Hules, Magus Minion

Synchronistic Rune, Algiz or Eolh

Sharing what I would consider magical synchronicity is not something I would normally do, but I felt compelled to in this instance as it offers a learning experience for those who may be interested in runic work.  It also provides an example regarding the phenomena of synchronicities when working with any kind of magickal path. I have been interested in and working with the runes and norse magic (more particularly the path of Seid, which to sum up briefly is the shamanic part of Scandinavian indigenous practices) for quite some time now.  I have found in my study and work with the runes that it is best for me to allow the runes to show up in my life as they may, and try not to strictly rely on EXACTLY what the references in runic  books say.  Not that this information is something to disregard, I find that its incredibly useful to look within yourself and use YOU OWN intuition when determining what exactly is calling out to you.  Often I find as a ceremonial magickian, we tend to forget that within us exists a natural magician, one who should be close with the Earth and her mysteries.  I see too many who rely on how to do things “by the book” and for some this may be beneficial, but for me it is very constricting for one who likes to stay on the primal side of witchcraft.

Recently I took a much-needed vacation up to the boundary waters in Minnesota with my spouse, and I found this particular rune greeting me a few times.  There were instances when I was outside and saw the rune within just a few branches laid out in front of me, largely displaying itself within a silhouette of a dead tree reaching up towards the sky at dusk, and within the wood pattern on the bunk bed that was in our cabin.  Now, runes are very “naturally occurring” because this is the way in which they were discovered by Odhin, so I can see where it would be arguable that they are just natural lines appearing in nature.  But this makes them all the more relevant!  

Algiz represents coming to know the “higher consciousness” or being closer with the divine, and it is also indicative of a new positive influence coming in to your life.  It is also a very strong protection rune.  Personally, the rune represents a key for bridging the gap between my two areas of magickal craft that I work with; Seid (Norse shamanism) and a very distinct area of ceremonial magick.  The two lines to the left and right are these specific paradigms and the center line being my own path which brings these two together.

-Kyle Ford, Magus Manager

Essential Oils, Medicinal Herbs, Flower Essences: What’s the difference?

PART 1 – Overview

As I talk to more people about herbal medicine and flower essences, I realize that there’s a lot of confusion around the definitions and usages of the different plant healing modalities. I will go into each modality in more detail during later blogs, but wanted to start off with a basic overview of three options:

Essential Oils

Essential oils are fragrant, highly concentrated natural constituents of plants that are located in tiny secretory structures with the leaves, berries, petals, roots, zests, resins or woods. They are what give the plant its characteristic odor. They are generally used as additions to DIY house cleaners due to their anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties, as therapeutic aromatherapy and mood enhancers, and as healing modalities generally for headaches, nausea and fungal infections.

Medicinal Herbs

These remedies are made from whole plant material such as roots, bark, leaves/stems, berries and flowers. They come in many different formats including tinctures, oils, decoctions, teas, syrups, vinegars and ointments. Herbs can help to support the balance in your system through a variety of health concerns, including: nerve and muscular pain, asthma, allergies, headaches/migraines, PMS, menopause, anxiety, depression, ADHD, digestive issues, fertility and more. They can also work on more generalized issues like stress management, recovery from trauma, fatigue, and poor concentration. 

Flower Essences

Flower essences are infusions of flowers in water preserved with brandy, which uniquely address emotional and mental aspects of wellness. Their focus on rebalancing the mind can support relief from trauma, PTSD, fear, phobias, poor concentration, family issues, grief, anger management, stress, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more. They can aid in the rebalancing of physical issues, too, as our emotions affect us physically through the body-mind relationship. Overall, they help create awareness about and resolve issues of unhealthy conditioned habits or perceptions. This relearning and rebalancing can lead to greater well-being and harmony in our lives.

Your health is important! If you are looking for help for a particular issue, I highly suggest speaking with a practitioner of your modality of choice in order to get the best outcome. Additionally, alternative medicine is a collaborative experience; you know your body best, we know the modality best. It is very important that you feel comfortable and confident in your choice of practitioner, so that we can work together effectively on your health concerns. 

For Flower Essence Therapy, schedule a session with Clare Gardner Nieto.
For an Herbal Consult, schedule a session with Liz Johnson.

http://www.magusbooks.com/healing_center.asp

Clare Gardner Nieto, Magus Minion

A Word on Sigil/Affirmation Phrasing.

Let’s go through converting and affirmation to a phrase for a sigil. In doing so, we can touch on how to best tailor a phrase/sentence to be turned into a functional sigil. So, let’s get started.

Original Affirmation: I will be superior to bad thoughts and low actions today.

Hm, okay. The intention is good, but there is a lot I would change about this affirmation before making it into a sigil.

1: Phrase Tense

Sigils work via continued contact or a slow steady discharge. Because of this, it’s usually best to use the present tense in your phrase. Saying I “will be” something is well and good, but it doesn’t define when. Saying “I am” is clear, and demands results now. To be sure, there’s a little fake-it-‘til-you-make-it here, but that’s fine for sigils! We’re defining intent so that we can manifest it, so let’s aim high!

This affirmation works as a spoken affirmation but might lose some punch as a sigil due to the future tense phrasing. Instead of having a hopeful “will be” let’s change the tense to the Present. Also, let’s get rid of the “today.” I want to be this way forever, so let’s not limit the positive effect on this one.

Affirmation: “I am superior to bad thoughts and low actions.”

2: Clear adjectives

This one may depend on your world-view. If you have a good/bad and black/white worldview, saying “bad” and “low” might be enough, and the phrase may not need any more alterations in terms of adjectives. My world-view does not include a set, universal definition of “bad” or “good,” so I need to be a little more specific to get the results I want. Even if you do subscribe to a tidier worldview than mine, it may help to be specific! (I’m not going to get into world-view here, because that’s a whole book in itself)

Rather than say “bad” thoughts, I really want to focus on what kind of thoughts I don’t want. I’m going to go with “self-sabotaging”. This is much more specific, if a little more verbose.  Likewise, instead of saying “low actions” I’m going to go with “hurtful actions.”

Affirmation: I am superior to self-sabotaging thoughts and hurtful actions.

3: Caster’s State of Being

In the affirmation we have, the caster is “superior to” the behaviors that are listed. That’s dandy, but the phrasing still worries me, because humans (or however you define yourself) err, and have bad days. This phrasing is worrisome, because it invites the user to feel shame if a self-sabotaging thought or hurtful action does slip through. Sigils are great, and we should aim for the stars (like I said before), but keep in mind that there are limits to how much energy you can give to it, and therefore limits to a sigil’s power.

So, the quick fix would be something like “I do not engage in self-sabotaging thoughts and hurtful actions,”  right? NOPE!

In a sigil, we are aiming to attract things. Sigils aren’t nearly as effective at banishing things, so lets work with attraction. So, we want to make sure we’re not using a negative phrase. Anything that has the word “not” in it is weaker than a positive “I do” or “I am.”

This affirmation names two negative behaviors, so we have to do some linguistic gymnastics to make this work.  The easiest way is to name behaviors that you want to attract instead of ones that you want to push away. However, that’s not the point of this affirmation, and sometimes we just want to get rid of a behavior, so let’s give this a shot.

Affirmation: “I am detached from self-sabotaging thoughts and seek non-hurtful actions.”

Awesome! This gives us an added bonus of not trying to change our thought patterns completely, but instead work within the framework we are given. This makes the sigil easier to charge and maintain. The “Non-hurtful” isn’t maybe the most ideal, but it will do.  “I am detached” works, because it means that yes, those self-sabotaging thoughts are still going to come through sometimes, but they’ll just roll off. That’s great! In my experience, being able to have a thought but not really buy into it is the first step in meaningful change of a thought process, so we’re off to a good start here for long-term change!

Final note:

It would be possible to take this affirmation and split into it two separate sigils and then mash them together, too. Then the phrases would be “I am detached from self-sabotaging thoughts” and “I seek non-hurtful behaviors.” It may make the creation of the visual aspect of the sigil easier.

 

-Kitty, Magus Advertising