Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Owen Society: Odds, Fobs and Gear Knobs: Accidental Talismans

While Dr. Xavier Day and I rarely see eye to eye, it is clear that we both couldn’t agree more how important it is for a magician to clean house. Most people of this modern age are familiar with the basic principle of the ancient concept of Feng Shui; in that the flow of energy in our environment is a reflection of the flow of energy within us. If our environment is so cluttered that physical movement is restricted, we should not be surprised if we are mentally restricted as well. The things in our environments are a reflection of our individual development. We all have things, but objects have an uncanny ability to store the essence of a particular memory, concept, emotion or place. Things then have a potential to become Accidental Talismans which was the focus of my presentation, Odds, Fobs and Gear Knobs: Accidental Talismans for the Owen Society April meeting.

There are many definitions of what a Talisman is, however I think a simple explanation is that a Talisman is a charged magical object. It is charged by magic. Magic (if you remove all the mystery and spiritualism) is simply will. Will is desire. Desire is an emotion. What then is an emotion? Well emotion, is a response to a memory, place, people and OBJECTS. It’s a pattern that comes full circle. A circle of which we would all be wise to be mindful.

A simple object can become an accidental talisman in several different ways. Things that are no longer used, such as clothes that no longer reflect your CURRENT size are accidental talismans. Obstructions, like a couch so littered with extraneous things that you no longer can sit on it becomes an accidental talisman. Distractions are accidental talismans, as are things that are avoided, things that hide something else and things that are unresolved. One of the most difficult accidental talisman to address I feel are things that invoke negative thoughts or emotions and these often take the form of gifts. This is that atrociously ugly lamp that your Aunt Mildred gave you. You feel for a multitude of reasons that you can’t get rid of the blasted thing, but it’s so hideous you begin to avoid the room IT lives in. Essentially, you allow this object to hold you hostage in your own home. Gifts from former lovers are also full of talismanic energy. Particularly if it is a portable item to be worn if you come into contact with your former lover and you are still wearing the item, you can only expect that connection between you to be instantly restored. Your lover will invariably think smugly to themselves “I gave her that!” If you restore the connection to your former lover, how can you possibly hope to establish a connection with someone else?

If objects are a reflection of our development, imagine for a moment a hall of mirrors in a fun house. It can be extremely disorientating, because within that hall of mirrors it’s very difficult to determine where you have been and where you need to go. Likewise if we are clinging to objects that have nothing positive to offer us in the present; then it is difficult to focus on the future and who we wish to become.

The best way to diminish the power of our Accidental Talismans is to give them a new home. Send Aunt Mildred’s lamp to a good charity and someone will find joy in it! Where it held you hostage, someone else will see potential and possibility. A question we all need to consider is do we really want our reflection to be of a hideous lamp? Or do we seek more creative possibilities? The bottom line is: possibility needs room to grow. Now go clean your house.

Approximately 13 people attended my lecture including Mr. M, Britney Gears, Televte Sunderland, Lainie Petersen, Alan P. Salmi, Catherine MacPherson, Oktyater Khaboror and Jean Julien Brumaire. Dr. Xavier Day, the professor’s esteemed college was also present as was of course, Professor Marius Mandragore. I am of course Amber McCoy (*), apprentice to the Professor.

(*) Amber McCoy is the Steampunk persona of Ame Kesa Morghan.

Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 March Owen Society Meeting: A Steampunk Magician's Toolkit

On this March Sunday Dr. Xavier Day had for all the participants of the Owen Society a complete Magician’s Toolkit. Complete with more than one device for divination which the good doctor explained was crucial for the inner peace of any would be magician, Steampunk or otherwise. When doing any kind of magical working, it is always a sound idea to check the ethics of the desire with divination. A reading that portends a warning does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t proceed with your intention, but it might give you an idea as to what the consequences may be. It’s up to the individual magician to determine if the consequences are worth the desire.

The consequences can be a bit of a messy affair that is the nature of all magic. Cleansing is also immensely important. Dr. Day delighted attendees not only in brewing samples of many cleansing oils for the toolkits, he included the recipes so that Owen Society members could replenish their supplies once they had been put to use. In addition to these oils were oils for charm and spell work with an explanation of their possible uses. However the creative magician of course can divine their own uses for such oils and with some herbal skill could brew up more possibilities of their own.

As an accomplished herbalist himself Dr. Day reminded the participants that plants are also living things. To carefully harvest a flower or a few leaves from an accommodating plant is one thing; but work with the root should be used with care and respect as this is taking the full life of the plant. Humans may have many gifts, but we share this world with many living things that have their own gifts. We should take care not to give the human status one too lofty for reality.

The reality is of course that human beings also have their limits and so too does the magic a human might create. You can’t expect a spell to work in an orderly fashion if you’re living in complete chaos! Dr. Day repeatedly drove home the point, “CLEAN YOUR HOUSE!” He concluded with the idioms be enticed, be specific, be CLEAN, be informed. Words most certainly to live by.

Approximately 20 people were in attendance at Dr. Xavier Day’s (*) lecture including one new member, Mr. Jason Winslade. Additional attendees included Jean Julien Brumaire, Thomas Forsyth, Oktyater Khaboror, Mr. M, Janet Berres, Nikki Deasy, Marie Gross, Mark Lancaster, Janet MacDonald, Alan P. Salmi, Cardinal Hymie Aloysius Pederasium, Helene Plushbottom and of course Professor Marius Mandragore and his esteemed colleges and friends Taliesin McCoy, Ymor Odwyn y dwr, Eitel August Graf Von Pappenheim and the Professor’s apprentices Delores Dion and myself, Amber McCoy (+).

(*) Dr. Xavier Day is the Steampunk persona of Matthew Ellenwood

(+) Amber McCoy is the Steampunk persona of Ame Kesa Morghan

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2014 February Owen Society Meeting: Dot Ask, Dot Tell

Always the card, Cardinal Hymie Aloysius Pederasium (or Cardinal Ped, as I refer to him) introduced himself as the “Lounge warm-up act for John Michael Greer,” who will be giving an extensive workshop on European Geomancy in March at the Occult bookstore. However Cardinal Ped gave a wonderful introductory and amusing presentation on the subject at the Owen Society’s February meeting.

Most people might think of the Eastern practices of Feng Shui or of dowsing when they hear the term “geomancy.” However the subject of Cardinal Ped’s presentation is a form of European divination with roots in Arabic sand divination. It is a mathematical and binary system that utilizes four lines of either one or two dots to form sixteen different symbol combinations. To use this divination in its most simple form, you would think of a question you want answered by divinatory assistance, then you would poke a random number of dots into the sand, then determine if the number of those dots is even or odd. If it is even, the first line of the figure gets two dots. If it is odd, then only one dot. You would then repeat this poking three more times so that you would have four lines of dots for a complete figure. You could also use a coin using the “tail” side to represent “even” or two dots and the “head” side to represent “odd” or one dot. You would then interpret the symbol from the classic meanings of the sixteen forms.

The sixteen figures vary in meaning much like any other divinatory system. Some of the figures are favorable, some are a little more ambiguous and some are rather ominous in their suggestion. When presented with ominous divinatory warnings Cardinal Ped recommended a “Pink Freud” approach; and suggests ruminating on the question is this suggestion fate or psychology? In medieval times when many divinatory systems were tooled and studied the state of affairs was very much black and white. In a time where class structures were fixed and no one could (or tried) to “change their stars;” no positive was seen in the darkness. In this modern world, and especially in the Steampunk world, we are constantly tinkering not only with objects and concepts, but even time itself. We can and do “change our stars” and steer the dirigible of our fate in multiple directions. We embrace our darkness, and realize it is a necessary counter balance to the light of day. Cardinal Ped believes the feared darkness of medieval times can be an important learning tool for the students of the modern age.

European Geomancy resonates in the modern age. Cardinal Ped pointed out that it is a mathematical structure that seems to be implicit in the human brain. We see a reflection of this elegant binary system in not only Eastern I Ching, but in computer code. That revolutionary modern development may have been based on the code of life itself, the double, binary helix of our genetics. It is this deep electrical earth current that one is tapping into with European Geomancy.

Cardinal Ped is one of my personal favorite presenters because he is incredibly thorough. If you would like to learn more about his personal research on Geomancy he has a public file on Dropbox.

Esteemed author John Michael Greer will be presenting a three day workshop on European Geomancy in March. Please visit the Occult Book Store for more information.

Approximately 23 people were in attendance at Cardinal Ped’s (*) lecture; including at least people new to an Owen Society meeting: Michael Keane, Matthew Rosenfeld and Lainie Petersen. Additional attendees included Thomas Forsyth, Britney Gears, Aria Healy, Oktyater Khaboror, Catherine MacPherson, Mr. M, Marie Gross, Janet MacDonald, Alan P. Salmi, Helene Plushbottom, Rory "Aquabear" Sunderland, Televte Sunderland, Joseph C.R. Vourteque and of course Professor Marius Mandragore, his esteemed colleges and friends Dr. Xavier Day, Eitel August Graf Von Pappenheim, Ymor Odwyn y dwr and Taliesin O’Brien, and his apprentices Delores Dion and myself, Amber McCoy (+).

*Cardinal Hymie Aloysius Pederasium (Cardinal Ped) is the Steampunk persona of David Steven Rappoport.

+Amber McCoy is the Steampunk persona of Ame Kesa Morghan.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

2014 January Meeting of the Owen Society: Development of the Occult Tarot

On Sunday, January 26, 2014 we heard from the mysterious Dr. Dragonfly for a thorough and historical presentation on the Development of the Occult Tarot.

Most people would think that cards of any sort would come as second nature to me given that I’ve made the majority of my financial wealth playing cards in the saloons of the Wild West and even internationally. However, I privately confessed to the good Dr. Dragonfly that I preferred my cards without pageantry. In poker, a spade is a spade (unless you’re cheating). At the risk of Miss Dion smugly discovering this musing of mine I must admit that I find the complex symbology of the tarot rather intimidating.

My intimidation might be lessen with time; rather that if my travels through time happen to land me in the late 1400’s I might do well as a professional “tarock” player as long as I have the coinage to have the cards commissioned for me. I was impressed to learn from Dr. Dragonfly that contrary to popular belief, the modern tarot deck did not come from Egypt or from the Gypsies. It was just a card game, although an elitist one because before the introduction of Gutenberg Press, cards were very expensive little works of art. The beauty of some of these decks can be viewed in fine museums.

It makes one wonder where the association with the occult began. In his notes, Dr. Dragonfly mentions that in 1589 a trial in Venice associated the game of cards with witchcraft, but it is of course the 18th century that really fuses these cards with the mystic. The French occultist Eliphas Levi worked with the tarot and the Kabbalah and his work later inspired the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

With all of time at my disposal, it might still not make me a master of the tarot. Although that American game that has treated me so kindly has little to do with the physical cards in your hand and more to do with the people with whom you are playing. Perhaps in that regard, tarot is not so different. Symbols are meaningless until an initiate breathe life into them.

Approximately 37 people were in attendance at Dr. Dragonfly’s (*) lecture; including at least seven people new to an Owen Society meeting: Oktyater Khaboror, Oswin Bernerd McGuinness, Arnell Ando, Fiona Cook, Beth Dougherty, Nicholas Efrosinis, and Micheal McAteer. Additional attendees included Oracle Alexandria, Jean Julien Brumaire, Lady Lavinia Cavigndish, Dr. Xavier Day, Delores Dion, Lady Elsa Fairfield Flatstone, Reginald Flatstone, Britney Gears, Aria Healy, Lord A. Kamion the Earl of Oxbridge, Captain Rheinhardt Krieger, Mr. M., Catherine MacPherson, Lady Marmelade, Daria Melnikova, Cardinal Hymie Aloysius Pederasium, Marie Gross, Janet MacDonald, Elmo Gene Painter, Alan P. Salmi, Rory "Aquabear" Sunderland, Televte Sunderland, Eitel August Graf Von Pappenheim, Joseph C.R. Vourteque, Hildebrandt Wilberforce and as always Professor Marius Mandragore and myself, Amber McCoy(+).

(*) Dr. Dragonfly is the Steampunk Persona of Paul James Lewis an occult researcher, astrologer, witch and pianist. He has been involved in the world of the occult since 1979 when he was initiated into a Gardnerian coven. He was also a member of a ceremonial magickal order, but at this time is affiliated with no particular tradition and is a solitary practitioner of the occult arts. As an astrologer he is associated with the NCGR.

As a pianist, he is the Principal Pianist for The Joffrey Ballet. A position he has held since 2002. A champion of contemporary piano music, he has played for Leonard Bernstein, Sir Michael Tippett, and Olivier Messiaen. His performances have been broadcast on PBS radio and television; has recorded 11 CD's of ballet class music and portrayed himself in the Robert Altman film, "The Company".

(+) Amber McCoy is the Steampunk of Persona of Ame Kesa Morghan a pagan activist, ritualist, performer and Steampunk Enthusiast. 


Monday, June 3, 2013

Terra Mysterium presents: "In the Observarium" the music video

In the Observarium
A Terra Mysterium production
Lyrics - Keith Green
Music - Matthew Ellenwood (ASCAP)

Cast in Order of Appearance
Matthew Ellenwood
Keith Green
Sean Wilson
Song Marshall
Debra Miller
Jim Kollenbroich
Amy Christensen
Kat O'Connor
Special Guest Appearance -- Lana Lupescu as Sally Faire

Director-Matthew Ellenwood
Cinematographer and Editor - Daria Melnikova
Assistant Director - Jessica Whitington

Special Thanks to the following for their contributions:
Nick Scalise of Scalise Studios for recording and engineering the audio track;
Carol Holzner for allowing us to film in her amazing home;
Oleg Grobshteyn for his technical support and the use of historical firearms;
All the fans of Terra Mysterium for your continued support!

Buy the single on iTunes.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Video Blog #15: The Music Video & the Creepy Victorian House

Terra Mysterium presents a series of behind-the-scenes videos exploring who we are and our creative process. In this entry, come with us behind-the-scenes of our first music video shoot!

Imagine Algernon Swinburne, Saki, and William S. Gilbert married their lyrical styles to a Neo-classical tune from the theatrical stage, its subject being a haunted seeing stone, and you have "In the Observarium."  Now imagine a creepy old Victorian mansion haunted by ghosts, seers, and demons, and see a sneak peek of the music video: the last day of shooting, with a few unusual guests!

The "In the Observarium" music track is NOW AVAILABLE for download! Get it here:
CD Baby

On location, day two: the "In the Observarium" music video will release in late May.

Have any questions you'd like answered in a future video? Leave them in comments. We hope you enjoy the video!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

May 2: Pagan Coming Out Day

My son talks about his dreams, and honors his ancestors, he can read the Runes, and he believes in magic. He believes that magic is the concept that anyone is capable of anything they wish to accomplish. Magic is taking responsibility to make that wish a reality. My son has chosen to be Pagan. He is seven years old.

It is written into the parenting agreement of my divorce decree that my son is to be raised Pagan. Religion serves many purposes. Religious beliefs give people moral and ethical frameworks in order to navigate the world. Religion helps connect humanity by directing focus onto something larger than our individual selves; a something in which each individual is a part. The Family court structure in the United States recognizes these important functions of religion. During divorce proceedings, it is strongly encouraged that the religion in which the child is to receive his moral and ethical training be clearly named. This is to address any misunderstanding that might arise in the future, such as if one parent happens to re-marry and convert to another religion; or it potentially avoids later conflict if the parents have different religions.

At the time of my divorce, I was (and I still am) a deeply religious and practicing Pagan, my son’s father was a non-practicing Christian. Everyone, even the courts, agreed that Pagan religious training made much more sense than no religious training. In 2012 my son’s father joined a prominent Christian church and he began taking our son to church as often as his visitation schedule allowed. I assured my son that if he would prefer to be Christian that was perfectly alright with me. Tynan asked my thoughts on original sin and Eve’s pursuit of knowledge and many other things. I gave him my own opinions and stressed that they were only opinions, based on my limited experience. I told him that I did not have all the answers and that he should also ask his father. My son has gone to his father’s church and he has listened to the sermons. There are many beautiful things about the Christian religion and it has much to teach in the area of basic human ethics and morality. However, my son expressed his frustration with Christianity, because “they don’t believe anything else is true,” as my son said. My son and I actually have different Gods. I honor the Goddesses Diana and Persephone from the Roman pantheon. My son is moved by the Nordic Goddess Freya and the God Odin. Our differences are accepted and honored. It is a shame that my son perceives that his ideas are dismissed in his father’s Christian world. “Pagan church” as my son calls it is full of songs and interesting stories, there are games and lots of food. Everyone is encouraged to participate but if you just want to listen (like my son) that is honored just as highly. My son said that at his father’s church “they just want to tell me what to do all the time,” and he doesn’t like it. “And they don’t believe in magic, Mom,” said my son.

Wishes do come true. If you want something badly enough, you will find a way to make it happen. If at first you don’t succeed in getting your wish, if you want it badly enough, you will try something else. This is essentially magic, and my son knows without a shadow of a doubt, that it is very real. He will articulate magic’s reality with his Skylander Collection which includes some very rare pieces. He wished for them you see. Some he bought himself by earning money doing chores. Some he was able to charm his Auntie into buying for him, but some appeared in his Yuletide stocking, like magic. “Odin knew I wanted them,” he will say. “I burned some marshmallows for him…I hope he likes marshmallows.”

Burning offerings is a common way to show gratitude to the Gods, incidentally. I never specifically told my son that, but he listens, as all children do, especially it would seem, when we think that they aren’t. My son is not as political when it comes to his religion. However, he has a school project coming up that includes a section on religion. He made the decision all on his own to include a beautiful drawing of pentacle that he made. My seven year old son is a proud Pagan. I wish we could all be so. Happy Pagan Coming Out Day.