Thursday, February 16, 2017

Magus Maximus Competition

Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire are proud to announce our

Magus Maximus competition!

While, obviously, Mastros & Zealot is a for-profit endeavor, our primary mission is Magical Poetics and the Re-enchantment of the World. To that end, we sponsor this competition, to bring out the best competitive spirit in our fellow magicians, and simply encourage there to be more magic in the world.

The current prize pool is $23 in cash, $111 in custom sorcery from Mastros & Zealot, one free Tai Chi or Magic class from Sifu Eric Randolph of The Tao Applied in Pittsburgh, a blessed "Hermes, Lord of the Game" candle, and the right to call yourself an official Magus Maximus World Champion.   Prizes will be split among all winners. Winners outside the United States will need to pay shipping on any mailable prizes. If you would like to contribute magic, cash, or prizes to the prize pool, send me a message.

Entering the content is 100% FREE but all entries must be public, except in Earth, which you may enter secretly.  You may, if you wish, enter in each category.  Winners will be announced at the Spring Equinox.

Ways to enter:

EARTH: In the Buried Heart of the Witch House, there is an earthen shaft connecting the Land Below with the Sky. Within the shaft, in a box that once held Ashanti gold, there lies a scroll. On the scroll is written a name. Tell us the name. THIS IS NOT A METAPHOR, there is an actual box, with an actual scroll, on which is written an actual name, hidden in this house. Fly in spirit to find it. Every correct answer is a winner, but the name will change each time someone wins. People who have a key to the Witch House are not eligible for this contest.

AIR: Write and publish (here on our page, on a blog, or in a run of at least 100 distributed print copies) a poem, song, short story, play, invocation, essay or other art of words about a competition between magicians. Encode within your words magic to win this competition. Winner(s) will be selected by popular acclaim.

WATER: Create and publically exhibit (digitally or otherwise) a visual work of art (painting, sculpture, photography, video, etc) that glorifies Hermes, Lord of Games. Encode within the image magic to win this competition by currying favor of Hermes, Lord of Games. Winner(s) will be selected by popular acclaim.

FIRE: Best our champion,  Simon Zealot, in a public contest of martial magic. Contact Simon to make arrangements.



Friday, February 3, 2017

House Protection

I haven't been posting here as much, you should check out Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire on facebook if you want to follow along with more of my day to day magic, or take a look at our website to see our professional offerings.  In any case, today I wanted to write some about a super easy, very traditional type of house protection magic, the door cross.  Here's a photo of my front door, with its new crosses:

The first step is to prepare cascarilla powder, which is simply powdered white eggs shells.  (brown eggs won't work for this)  I always save my shells in the container as I use the eggs, which means I'm pretty much always grinding up a dozen at a time, but you can make smaller batches.  No, the shells don't smell as you save them, (1) because it's refrigerated, and (2) because the little bit of raw egg inside the shell dries up too fast.   For this project, you'll probably need about 4 egg shells.  Rinse the eggshells, and then put them in the oven for about 15 minutes (to completely sterilize any membrane left inside them.  I grind mine in a coffee grinder, but you can use a mortar and pestle if you don't have a grinder.  I recommend crushing them small by hand before putting them in the grinder.  Grind them as fine as you can.  If you want, you can add baking powder and water to make a dough, and dry that to make a sort of chalk.  But, for this, all you need is the ground egg-shells.

Once the powder is made, you'll want to mix some of the cascarilla and a little bit of plain table salt into some white paint.  The type of paint isn't too important.  I used cheap acrylic craft paint, the kind that costs $1 a bottle.  My front door is under a porch and has a glass storm door.  If yours is exposed to the weather, you probably want to use exterior latex paint.  The proportions also aren't terribly important.  You want enough cascarilla & salt to make sure all the paint is "infused", but not enough to mess up the texture of the paint too much.

Awaken the paint mixture in the usual fashion, calling out to its constituents to do their work.

Next, you'll want to make a stamp.   I used a kitchen sponge (the kind that are soft when dry).  I freehanded the cross with a sharpie, and then cut it out with scissors.  I wanted mine to look "primitive", so I didn't bother with doing too good of a job with it.  You could, obviously, make a much better stamp, or even use a professionally made one, if you wanted, but I like the way mine came out.  Stamp crosses onto each corner of the door.  Personally, I think white crosses on a red door are best, but I admit that's largely an aesthetic decision.  Red, blue, black, or white crosses on a white door would also be fine.  I also put three crosses by the knob and the deadbolt, but it depends on how your door is laid out.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Hekate's Cake



Hekate taught me a recipe that she likes as an offering.  It's a sort of garlic bread pudding, similar to skorthalia, but baked.  I cannot say how much of these instructions are particular to the current contents of my kitchen and what could be changed and have it still retain its integrity:



In the largest red bowl combine:
about half a loaf of very stale&dry white bread
whole milk to cover.
1 stick butter, melted.
garlic.  much garlic (about 2/3 of a cup)
1 handful dry dittany of crete, crushed
a glop of honey (about 1/3 cup)
let it sit for a while until the bread gets soggy
add two large white eggs
no salt, save what is in the butter

mix it all together, and then put in a cobalt glass loaf pan.
bake until it is golden.
Serve this to Me and eat of it yourself.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Ragnarokkr 2017


Mastros & Zealot: Witches for Hire are pleased to announce our first game of 2017, Ragnarokkr, opening on New Year's Day.


This is a story of Loki and Thor, abroad in the world of the Svart√°lfar, running the Midgard serpent's back, Asgard up in flames as seven nations attack, first Kemetica, then Bharata, then Shamballa after that, the Middle Kingdom, Turtle Island, the Inuit Nunaat, the call of Ragnarokk moves even the People of the Dream, for the Twilight of the Gods, you see, is just the Darkening of the Supreme.

This story begins then with Loki and Thor, abroad in the world of the Svart√°lfar, the first in pursuit of knowledge forbidden, the secord just searching for something worth hitting, but what they discover instead is a parallel world, where the dark elven banners had never unfurled, and so they come here with Odin, and join a new God called Christ, as Ragnarock is replaced by Christmas, and all the elves are put on ice.

This, then, is a story of a parallel earth, of the origins of Christmas long before the Virgin birth, of a dark and secret gnosis behind Santa Claus's girth, for those who see only the cost of things, but no longer feel its worth.

Imagine a world where Egypt never fell, where the Roman Empire never rose to prominence, where Monotheism never spread.  Imagine a world where psychic magician-priests rule.  That land is Nykia, and Nykia is at war.  As refugees flee, war begins to spill into our world.  Loki and Thor are the first (they think) to discover our world.  The Shifty Eyed Allfather, a curse be on his name, abandoned his Asgard and came here, a world where the gods have been made weak, and the people complacent, and he begins to build an empire.  Under his banner, the light-skinned peoples of the North prepare themselves for war.  

For six months, as the Light grows ever stronger, Mastros & Zealot are going to war.  Will you follow the One Eyed Invader, or will you flock with us to the banner of the Old Powers of Our Earth, making war on White Supremacy?

January First, the War Begins.


#Ragnarokkr2017                        #TheDarkeningoftheSupremacy                  #OldPowersRise


Friday, December 23, 2016

Krampus & Perchta

krampas title page copy.jpg


By request, a Strategic Sorcery style Global Ritual. Printable version here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_upeofrIpFJalRLSWg5WDJwZjg



Instructions
This ritual is best performed between Wednesday, December 21 and Sunday, December 25th.  The night of Friday the 23rd is ideal.  However, the ritual can performed whenever you want.  The rite can be adapted for your own use.  

Necessary Tools
  • A single-sided paper printout of this ritual (save it as a talisman)
  • 2 candles; dark green and “forest” scented is ideal.
  • Buttered bread with honey.  The shiniest, prettiest, darkest red apple you can find.  If you were poisoning Snow White, what kind of apple would you want?  Pick that one.
  • Red Wine, Dark Beer, Apple Cider, or WHOLE Milk (skim milk is worse than nothing)
  • A small pile of coins.  Gold Sacagawea dollars are especially nice for this.  You will NOT get your coins back.

Optional Tools
  • Mask
  • Antlers / Horns
  • Evergreen boughs
  • Staff or Stick (Birch is best.  Anything will do, except Holly.)
  • Ivy crown
  • A feast.  Roast a whole goat on a spit!
  • Friends / co-Workers
  • Breakable chains

Before Beginning
  • Spend some time collecting your thoughts, and reviewing 2016.  
  • Think of times you’ve been very generous.
  • Think of times you’ve been fully sincere.
  • Think of times you’ve been very peaceful.
  • Think of times you’ve been very brave.  
  • Think about things that have been holding you back; chains you’d like to be freed from.  Write them on the last page.




Opening

Begone Crass Commercial Ploy!
Begone Sanctimonious Spoiler!
Begone Santa!  Begone Christ!
Welcome to the Sylvan Knotty!
Goodbye to the Saccharine Nice!

Bang your stick three times. (or stamp your feet)

I bless this sacred glade, set apart in Time and Space.
The Forest Primeval weaves a fairy ring around me,
where Wood and Spirits embrace.
Now is EveryWhen.

Light the candles.


pan corner.jpg
Call

Perchta!  White Cloaked Lady of the Winter Wood!  
Goosefooted Goddess of Snow and Frost!  
Rewarder of Magnanimity!  Punisher of Greed!
Rewarder of Sincerity!  Punisher of Thieves!
Dark Winter Queen,
Come to me!  Be with me!  
Inspire me!  Bless me!

Krampus!  Ram-Horned Lord of the Winter Wood!  
Goat-legged God of Ivy and Birch!
Rewarder of Carelessness!  Punisher of Heed!
Rewarder of Bravery!  Punisher of Misdeed!
Light Winter King,
Come to me!  Be with me!  
Inspire me!  Bless me!

Wicked Wild Winter Wood, Whispering Winds and Wandering Ways,
Weave your Web of Wondrous Wyrd!
Goblins, Boggins, Hobs, and Sprites; woodland Puck, and spring heeled Jack,
Come and join our Saturnalian feast!
The reward for heroic slack!

Pour drink.  Pour honey over bread





Chant
Drum a steady beat with your stick.


Perchta, Krampus, Wild Wood,
Winter Queen and King.


Repeat the chant until you feel overtaken by you inner Wyld.  
You may find your tempo and volume increasing to a frenzied crescendo.
ExStasis
Offerings

Perchta, I am generous!  (cite an example of your generosity)
Perchta, I am sincere! (cite an example of your sincerity)
Bless me with wealth and health and all good things.  
Make me an instrument of inspiration!  

Krampus, I am at peace! (cite an example of your peaceable ways)
Krampus, I am brave! (cite and example of your bravery)  
Bless me with clarity and tranquility and all good things.  
Make me an instrument of inspiration!  

Bless these coins, so that they may spread your generosity, peace, and inspiration.

Wicked Wild Winter Wood!  
I free you from your chains!
Wicked Wild Winter Wood!
Free me from my chains!

Burn the last page of this pamphlet

Euoi!
Euoi!
Euoi!



Denouement

Laugh, sing, dance, and cavort until you no longer can.  This is not optional.

Before New Years, give the coins away to beggars, or leave them where someone in need will find them.  DO NOT put them in a Salvation Army kettle, or any other collection related to Jesus or Santa.  

Place the offerings out in the woods.  If you have no woods near you, choose the most wild place that you can find.  If, for whatever reason, you cannot make food offerings, make a monetary offering to a charity that protects the wilds.  Really, this is a good idea, even if you do make food offerings.




The Thirteen Nights of Krampusmas

Aubrey Beardsley - Le Morte d'Arthur_65.jpg

On the 13th night of Krampusmas  
the Old Claw ordered we...

13) Fight against the dark god,

12) Prepare ourselves for battle,

11) Dance with maenad ladies,

10) Liberate the slave elves,

9) Escape from the Pale Warden,

8) Give unto the needy,

7) Love the strangest stranger,

6) Join our hearts and voices-

5) STOP. BUYING. THINGS.

4) Seek the Mysteries,

3) Run through the forest,

2) Declaring all our loves,

  1. While cosplaying the Krampus Army.

chains.jpg

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Benevolence Meditation Instructions

I haven't been able to find the artist's name and info for this painting.
If you know it, please comment below; I would like to buy a print.


In a recent conversation with a friend, we spoke about different kinds of anger.  Those of you who know me know that I can have a bit of a temper.  Those of you who have known me for a long time know that I used to burn with a deep fury I could rarely shake.  This is one of the practices that helps me deal with that.  It's a variation on a Buddhist practice called "metta meditation".  Metta is a Buddhist concept usually translated as "compassion", but it can also mean "benevolence" "friendliness" or "loving-kindness", but I think "Grace" is also a really good translation.  It's very similar to the Hebrew word "chesed".

The Pali Canon (Buddhist scripture) says this about the benefits of Metta Meditation: "One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas[gods] protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and – if penetrating no higher – is headed for [will be reborn in] the Brahma worlds [the Good Place]."  I can't personally vouch for all of that, but I do think it's a very beneficial practice, especially for those of us who struggle with wrath.

The meditation below give step by step instructions for the meditation I do, which is not a traditional Buddhist practice, but is strongly informed by it.  In particular, I have reordered a few of the steps.  Some preliminary advice:  if you can't feel it, just imagine that you can.  This is a difficult practice, and one that takes a lot of practice to master.  HOWEVER, the "trick" to it is all in the intention.  If you can hold on to the idea that you WANT to be able to radiate benevolence to all creatures, you're already "doing it right".  From there, it's just practice to be ABLE to radiate more and more love.


  • Begin with a few minutes of calm quiet meditation.  If you don't have an existing meditation practice, this might help.
  • Express, out loud, that it is you intention to engage in this practice for the betterment of all sentient beings.  Here is a (shortened) traditional formula, or you can speak your own words: 
    • "May all beings be happy and secure, may they be happy-minded!
      Whatever living beings there are - feeble or strong, long, stout or medium,
      short, small or large, seen or unseen (ghosts, gods and hell-beings),
      those dwelling far or near, those who are born or those who await rebirth
      may all beings, without exception, be happy-minded!
      ...
      Let my thoughts of boundless lovingkindness pervade the whole world:
      above, below and all around, without obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity.
      "
  • Think of a person you love unconditionally.  It's better to choose a living person, but a dead person is also ok.  If you have children, they're probably the ideal focus, but other family members, mentors, elders, or friends are all also good choices.  Our feelings for romantic partners are often complicated and conflicted; they're not always the best choice for this part of the exercise.  Focus on your feeling for them, and your desire for them to be happy, healthy, and blessed. Allow this emotion to arise as a physical feeling of radiant warmth in your heart.  When the feeling is strong and consistent, try to extend it until it suffuses your entire body.
  • Extend the feelings of unconditional love, acceptance, and benevolence you felt for your Beloved to yourself.  This is harder than it sounds!  If you feel the warm feeling you established in step one start to falter or cool, allow it to retract back to your heart, and return to thinking about your Beloved until it grows strong again, and then work on extending it.  When you can feel your entire body glowing with warmth and love, abide in the feeling for a few moments, and then move on to the next step.
  • Think of someone you're more or less neutral toward.  A colleague, perhaps, or a neighbor.  Someone you like well enough, and you wish well for, but you wouldn't usually describe your feelings for them as "love".  Try to extend the warm feeling you have built up, the feeling of love and benevolence, to them.  For me, I find it easiest to feel this by imagining they are in front of me, and imagining I am placing my hands on their head and the warm blessing love is flowing from my hands into them.  Again, if you have trouble, return to step one and rebuild the feeling, and then proceed.  When you feel the loving warmth pouring out of your hands (or you heart, or how else it feels to you), move on to the next step.
  • Think of a person in your life whom you really dislike, but don't actually want to murder.  Bless them in the same way as you did in the previous step.  Whenever you need to, return to your heart and rebuild your store of radiant, unconditional love.
  • Now, think of someone you genuinely despise.  Someone you fantasize about killing.  (cough, Donald Trump, cough)  Slowly, extend your field of warmth and love to that person.  It might help to remind yourself that love can help to heal the person of whatever the fuck makes him that way. As needed, return to your heart to restock.
  • This step is the hardest, but it's the key to the practice:  Return to your heart, fill your body, and let yourself glow slightly with radiant love.  Now, imagine that your heart is connected to the radiant, all-loving, all-compassionate Heart of the World.  You might access that feeling by thinking about an intercessory spirit like the Blessed Mother.  For me, I imagine a glowing, pulsing, geothermal love at the center of the Earth, the Womb of Being.  But, you don't need to think of it as a spirit at all, just look for the Love that animates Being.  Allow it's love to flow through you unobstructed, fueling the glow in your heart.
  • Now, extend your glow from every part of your body.  In all six directions, to every living creature, to everything and place.  Hold this feeling, of being a radiant, glowing channel of Love, for as long as you can.  When you are ready to come back to being yourself, say something like this out loud, and then allow the feeling to contact.  "May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering." 
  • Sit for a while, coming back to yourself.  Drink a glass of water.  (you might not realize you are thirsty, but you are)
  • Repeat as needed.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Key of the Gate of Artemis



Artemis, no stranger to men, though
hardly what one would call loose,
as a child far younger than 9 or 10,
made these 6 demands of Zeus-

-To be always a virgin, unowned by any man

-To be known by many names, unlike the Appolonian

-To be practically clothed, with bow and arrows close at hand

-For 60 daughters of the Deep and 20 Nyads to command

-For no city to be named for her but to always hold high land

-and to quell the pain of childbirth and guide the midwife's hand.

Artemis is the spirit of women
who know they can still be anything.
Artemis is in every girl
to whom the sacred hunt still sings.
Artemis, like Apollo, brings light
and the sight of distant things,
Initiating little girls into
a space now reserved for kings.

-Simon Zealot

The Key of the Gate of Artemis, the Huntress, the Wild Grrl, opens what fear has locked down. Artemis is the girl old enough to know she can be anything; the woman young enough to know the same. Artemis the ancient Mistress of Wild Herb and Wild Mountain and Wild Beast teaches us to overcome fear. To release the power that fear has locked up. To open the gate of Sardis.


As Simon and I worked at the gate, we came to understand that they key to this gate would be a series of motions; a dance, a kata, a yoga. We moved, feeling it in our bodies (mostly in his body), and we came to know it's name, the Dance of Stag and Archer. And as we circled in on it, as Artemis revealed to us her ancient art that prepares the body for the hunt, Simon recognized it as the kin to his own art. The magic of the body can be lost but not destroyed; it can be only so tainted by culture and rhetoric. The movements of the body that unlock fear have to be the same in Lydia as they are in Tibet. And so, we present to you Artemis Elephaia's Dance of Stag and Bow, with antler hands and prancing feet, the Animal Play Qi Gong that is taught by Deer, shown to you below by the true Dr. Strange.

Read the poem aloud, and then work your way through the Frolick.  Try to follow the motions below as best you can, breathing deeply and slowly, with the intention of unlocking your hips, releasing toxins from your kidneys, and releasing your fear.  Feel with your body for when the energy can flow through your body like a deer; graceful, spritely, frolicing. When your fear abates, you should feel shift in your body; a series of "pops"  of energy being released.  When this happens, you are ready to begin the hunt, you will know you have passed through the third gate.