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THANK YOU & GOODNIGHT

The time has come, We Revelers.

The time has come to say “Thank you” and “Goodnight.”

As of today we will no longer be posting new material on the site. It has been a truly wonderful experience, and it is definitely sad to see it end. But thems is the breaks and new and exciting projects are a callin’.

Thank you to all our writers whose unique visions and inquisitive natures have made the pages of These New Old Traditions a sparkly delight.

Thank you to all our readers, for it is because of you that These New Old Traditions carried on as long as She did.

I wish you all the best bartering may yield.

Onward and Upward.

____________________

You may find the continued writings of our founder over at Not New York.

"The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun," by William Blake

“We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible.”
—Novalis

Beginning in 1990, the [Eulessynian] Hot Tub Mystery Religion (HTMR) celebrated Greater and Lesser Mysteries in two sanctuaries, both on Silent Oak Drive in Euless, Texas, bounded by miles of dark woods surrounding the Trinity River. Fueled by Dionysian excess and theme park aesthetics, Epopts sought to create installation-variations on the ideal of the pleasure dome, inspired by the imaginations of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Moorish Luminary Doctor Jabir ‘abd al-Khaliq. Prince Krazie, Son of Yippie, a reformed COINTELPRO fink, artist and charter Epopt, described a typical rite as,

“A small speck of light and beauty in an unreal, sick world…receiving the most holy sacraments from the most high of the highest…black light…strange sounds, music…naked nymphs splashing in the rippling water.”

It was in this heady vat of high-minded fun that Forbidden Books, a local cafe and bookstore, rose to the surface, caked in luridly colored sargassum like some rubber-clad, hyper-saturated B-movie creature. ‘Zines, Re/Search, the Amok catalog, titles from AK Press and Autonomedia all found their way into our hearts and minds through that tavern of blameworthiness. It also served as a community center for the extraordinarily weird. HTMR pamphlets and samizdat erupted like wildflowers proclaiming “Big FUN!” and urging the reader to contemplate the koan: “How much fun can you have before someone tries to stop you?” Oh, how we’ve tested this axiom and its boundary repeatedly and under conditions both mad and sensible.

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In 1998, I was working with my erstwhile fiancé, a gifted graphic designer, on a book-length project filled with art, essays and interviews. Previously I had edited two well-received ‘zines including The Eulessynian Hot Tub Mystery Religion, which netted me dozens of new friends. In the subsequent years I had accumulated a wealth of material intended for the new project. Reaching out to artists and writers I admired, I was overwhelmed with contributions. Sadly, the project never came to fruition and a few years later my creative partnership ended in an equitable divorce. Of the material I had accrued, almost half was lost irrevocably in a computer crash. Until last week I thought that my interview with post-porn artist and feminist Annie Sprinkle, who had been very kind and accommodating in responding to emailed questions, was lost. Last week I uncovered a cache of documents, including said interview which, after 13 years, appears here for the first time. After so many years, I want to thank Annie Sprinkle for her time and thought.

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Finding places where people gather to worship Kali–the aspect of God that, among other things, severs your head–is not necessarily an easy task. While there’s nothing particularly secretive about Kali worship, diaspora communities who take Kali as their primary deity–the people you want to meet–aren’t necessarily interested in proselytizing to people outside the diaspora, and thus do not send up smoke signals calling spiritual exiles to the faith. Rather, for Americans wishing to find people venerating Muktakeshi [She with Disheveled Hair] they must often be in the presence of either Ammachi the “hugging guru,” or California sadhu and kirtan wala, Bhagavan Das, both of whom give much respect to the great Mother of the World, Jagadamba. Yet, while both are inspiring enough people, neither represent what I am looking for.

Read the rest over at Not New York

In the previous Epicycle we discussed what a planetary hour is and how they can be calculated. We also briefly touched on how they can be used. Much of the remaining orbits of this series will explore these other techniques. However, before addressing these additional observances I think a valuable question we should be asking ourselves at this point of the discussion is: “What good does all of this do me? Why does timing matter when working with magick?”

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Last year was a great year for These New Old Traditions, with all sorts of interesting pieces coming down the wire. Here’s a list of the top ten most read pieces:

10. PLAYING NORDIC: The fine line between honoring one’s own heritage and creepy white pride cultishness…, by Onalistus Reveler
“Conservatives befriending pagan traditions (often specifically Heathenism, also known as Germanic Paganism) hover so close to the ideas of the men’s movement, and to supposedly ‘post-racial” concepts of racial solidarity, you just wish sometimes they’d take off their Norse helmet and be like, Look. We take pride in being white. We relish in dated concepts of ‘maleness.’ And, we believe ethnic purity is a real thing that should be preserved. Instead, so many PagaCons try and hide their racism beneath the leaves on their Odin altar, burying their bigotry in notions of ‘roots’ and ‘heritage.'”

Find the rest after the jump….

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DIVINATION USING FIRE

We stare into the burning fire
And see in their resplendent light
The granting of our heart’s desire
Or else the terrors of the night.

From tarot card reading to the study of bird flight, there are many different forms of divination, but in my opinion the most reliable ones are all related to fire.

Now, I should probably admit that I’m a bit of a firebug. From candlelight to bonfires, flames never fail to capture my interest. Maybe there’s some subconscious longing in me for the warmth and security which came from ancient hearth fires.

There are a number of ways in which fire can be used for divination, some of them more practical than others. The practice of fire gazing for example, whilst it is for me an amazing experience which I would recommend to anyone, wouldn’t be ideal for apartment-dwellers or people with shared gardens. Instead, I would love to share with you a few ways in which fire can be used in divination on a more everyday basis.

Note: When using fire for divination, make sure that you are not wearing any loose clothing and that your hair is tied back. You should always have some way of putting out fires to hand and be careful that you handle fire with respect.

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Sunrise over Rosh Ha-Ayin, Israel

At its most basic, a planetary hour can be described as a classical means by which a person is able to put his/herself in accordance with the heavens by dividing the day from sunrise to sunrise (instead of using midnight as the border of one day to the other), ultimately dividing the day into periods ruled by the classically recognized planets. Measured by the amount of light and darkness that is contained from from one dawn to the next, these periods will vary in chronological length depending on the time of the year.

In the past, these variable periods were said to share in the powers and sympathies of the planets associated with them and were consulted when performing certain rites and operations designed to maximize the influence of a particular planet. For instance, if you wanted to be successful in battle (and who doesn’t?) a ritual could be timed to maximize Martial energy – it could be performed on a Tuesday, the day associated with Mars, during one of the four Martial hours that occur during that day. To cinch the deal one could burn dragon’s blood, brandish an iron spear, wear scarlet, etc. etc. If you’re particularly lucky perhaps the planet itself would be in a sign in which it rules or is exalted (i.e. in Scorpio or Capricorn). This would align the “signatures” of the planet in question thus allowing the Magician usage of a clear link between the divinely connected planetary force and us poor, amnesiac schleps stuck here on earth.

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"The Golden Calf," by Damien Hirst (sold for $18.6 million)

“The roots of today’s globalizing spiritual crisis lie in a movement away from immediacy; this is the hallmark of the symbolic.”
—John Zerzan

“Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”
—Guy Debord

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
—Shakespeare

Symbolism is an act of re-presentation, always impoverishing and isolating that which is symbolized by collapsing it into a fragmentary concept, separated from its environment and its dependency on the rest of existence.  As the universe flows on in its relentless dance, a symbol remains the same, and the breath and spirit of what it identifies is forgotten in favor of its name.  “For the Murngin people of northern Australia, name giving and all other such linguistic externalizations are treated as a kind of death, the loss of an original wholeness,” notes John Zerzan in Too Marvelous for Words: Language Briefly Revisited.  How deeply in this pile of deaths might we be buried today, as symbolic culture has grown exceedingly complex and expansive since its inception?

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Chaos Magick mastermind extraordinaire, Phil Hine, just made available digital formats of all his Chaos International articles. From his website enfolding.org:

A friend recently asked me if I had any of my old contributions to Chaos International magazine in digital format. I’ve scanned all the articles I think are worth hanging onto (mostly written under my own name, with a few using the pseudonyms “Kalkinath” or “Cliff Othick”) and collected them into a zip file which can be downloaded from Mediafire (zip is about 76mb): http://www.mediafire.com/?03bxcf7e4eknny4

Particularly great is his piece on sodomy and spirituality recalling a time when his boyfriend put a bottle in his boom-boom.

Enjoy! (It’s about 76 MBs of stuff, so make room).

Guess what? Now we’ve got a local branch run by our very own Onalistus Reveler. The word is that he’ll be covering NYC’s vibrant (and especially marginal) spiritual scenes. Exciting! But don’t worry, he’ll be writing here still as well. All is goooooood!

NOT NEW YORK website
NOT NEW YORK facebook

From melissadesa.wordpress.com

With none of my household being Christian, Christmas is an odd holiday to celebrate.  But as my daughter so aptly observed, “I like getting presents!”  Yes, tis the season!  Commerce has packaged December as the month of buying, whether you be Christian, Jewish, or African-American, or none of these.  Who wants to be left out of the present-getting?  (A lot of people, but…)  I most likely would not celebrate Christmas at all, if it were not for my daughter’s desire to eat sugar, get presents, and do fun creative stuff while cooped up in the house.  As a mystic reveler, it is my challenge to turn Christmas on its head.

Goodbye, Baby Jesus.  Hello, 2-dimensional Christmas.

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"Poem" by Bob Grenier

At 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY. To sign up, go here.

“At its most basic, writing poetry is to experiment with letters, words, sounds, and symbols. Keeping that in mind, we will look at poetry in this class not as a static sub-genre of writing, but rather as the very basis of writing itself. We will experiment with the idea of “text-as-textile” in an effort to re-experience writing as something that can be handled and manipulated.

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EXPLORING MAGICK

The Three Magi

A friend recently asked me: what is the difference between magic and magick?  Most people are familiar with magic-with-a-‘c’: pulling a rabbit out of a hat, card tricks, sawing in half a pretty girl with a smile on her face.  These manipulations of our attention require distraction and sleight of hand.  The better the magician is at distracting her audience, the more magical the act will seem.  But everyone who watches a magic show knows that the magician is not actually making anything appear or disappear, is not altering future or past.  We may wonder at the abilities of a magician, but we can be sure it isn’t actually “magic”.

Magick is not the same as magic.  There is a distinction I see which I will attempt to explain.  This is, of course, my own viewpoint from within my own reality tunnel.  I am not “correct”.  Magic is manipulation of attention and relies upon the ability to distract.  Magick is the art of changing consciousness.  Magick may involve magic, but magic does not involve magick.  (Maybe…)

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Outside of brochure for The Society for All

First up in our profile of new religions is an interesting little path manifest around the idea of waiting—or longing—as one might experience while waiting—or longing—for the bus to arrive. A truly urban religion if ever there was one, The Society for All is a path of wonder and devotion for the beloved (here in the form of a city bus). Adherents of the path, known as Omnes (meaning “everyone”) chant and travel this world waiting for the arrival of…. hmmm…..

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During the months of October and November I had the privilage of being witness to a number of brandy spankin’ new religions being made manifest in my “Start Yr Own Religion” class at 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, NY. I will being profiling these this week.

Stay tuuuuned….

The Water Path includes taking part in cleansing fires, much like smudges, but it is the internal part of the path. It is a path of cleansing, of emptying the glass of its contaminated contents and refilling from the font of the universe with love and right thinking. Our first steps on the path were to learn the animal nature of each of the 20 days in a Maya month. There are 20 spirits within the Maya calender, each with its own day, and 13 numbers, symbolizing the interaction of the solar and lunar years. That leaves 260 combinations of numbers and energies, each with distinct goals and advantages, as well as common trouble spots. It is possible with a birth date to read the horoscope of a person, to see how the energies of the universe combined on your first birthday, the day you were born, the day you were 1 solar year old and saw the sun for the first time.

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“There are a good many fools who call me a friend, and also a good many friends who call me a fool.”
—G. K. Chesterton

Among the scattering of winter holidays, both sacred and secular, there is nothing quite like the medieval Feast of Fools, an event once loathed by both Catholic and Protestant alike for its biting satire, ridiculous excesses and heathen trappings. This popular feast for centuries involved the occupation of a cathedral by peasants, boy bishops and livestock under the direction of a Lord of Misrule or Abbott of Unreason, usually on or about the Feast of the Circumcision (January 6). Celebrants wore costumes, cross-dressed or sported mock-clerical garb. Other features of this unusual celebration included the burning of old shoes instead of incense, gambling on the cathedral steps, and incredible inebriation. Much of the appeal of the farcical feast comes from its social and clerical inversions which ostensibly date back to the Roman Saturnalia, a week-long pageant during which slaves, at least ceremonially, ruled over their masters and everyone took a holiday. This pastime was so popular that even crazy Caligula Caesar was unable to mitigate the festivities.

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My partner Mike and I have been following a winding path for some time now, having begun long before we ever converged. Our paths have taken us through deserts, over mountains, across prairies and into the heart of volcanic lands. The path we’ve walked together has generally been guided by the spirit of the situation, and it has pushed us always toward more simple lifestyles, community-based activity, and allowing love to be felt and expressed more and more. These are active themes and often what drive us forward from one place to the next. With that in mind, we traveled south to Guatemala to study the Maya cosmovision.

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Two little interesting blips from the somewhat vanilla KansasCity.com site:

The first is a seemingly simple Q&A regarding the tenets and practices of wicca. It reads like other over-generalized PR fluff, but veers into steamy venues when the discussion ventures into open relationships. So, we go from this:

Q: Do witches worship Satan?

A: No. We can’t worship Satan because Satan does not exist as a deity in Wicca. Satan exists in Christianity, as an anti-deity.

Which is just hogwash and reductive to the point of being useless. What do you mean “We can’t”? and “Satan does not exist?” Ugh….

But then we go to this:

Q: Is a Wiccan marriage understood from the outset to be an open marriage?

A: No. It is not understood to be open. It is not understood to be closed. It is understood that that is a private issue between the two people in the marriage.

Which is awesome, because it shows once again that, yes, we all secretly think wiccans are polyamorous, which aside from assumptions making asses out of u and me, is not A.) too far off the mark, and B.) necessary indicative of something “bad.”

But, you know what else is awesome? Exorcism.

Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism.

Oh to be present at that convention! Not sure how other people feel about this, but to me, exorcism is one of the last remaining potentially valid (if done “correctly”) veil-splitting esoteric practices left in our J-C-I.

Signs of demonic possession accepted by the church include violent reaction to holy water or anything holy, speaking in a language the possessed person doesn’t know and abnormal displays of strength.

The full exorcism is held in private and includes sprinkling holy water, reciting Psalms, reading aloud from the Gospel, laying on of hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Some adaptations are allowed for different circumstances. The exorcist can invoke the Holy Spirit then blow in the face of the possessed person, trace the sign of the cross on the person’s forehead and command the devil to leave.

You got that right!