In March, 1977, not long after my 11th birthday, I received a newsletter from Lincoln Enterprises announcing the pilot premiere of Spectre, an occult-themed thriller starring Robert Culp and created by Star Trek’s Gene Roddenberry.
I was instantly obsessed.
Debuting on Saturday, May 21, Spectre aired from 9-11pm to low numbers. It was not picked up by NBC and the pilot was cast into the morass of late night horror movie rotation.
I caught it every now and then,even managed to video tape three-fourths of it so I could watch at my leisure, which I did until the tape wore out sometime in the early 90s.
Spectre admittedly suffered from shoddy production values, and some of the lore is a bit wonky, but I dare say you’d be hard pressed to find a better occult detective film in spirit.
Culp’s William Sebastian is everything you could want from a…
“The Duke was a slim, delicate-looking man, somewhat above middle height, with slender fragile hands. … His hair was dark and slightly wavy, his forehead broad, his face oval with a rather thin but well moulded mouth, and a pointed chin that showed great determination. His nose was aquiline, his eyes grey, flecked with tiny spots of yellow; at times they could flash with piercing brilliance, and above them a pair of ‘devil’s eyebrows’ tapered up towards his temples.” — Strange Conflict (1941), Dennis Wheatley
I met the Duke in 1976 through Dennis Wheatley’s novel, The Devil Rides Out, which I pilfered from the Converse Public Library, only because the Librarian would not allow me to check it out. They discouraged ten year old boys from reading such literature back in those days. Who knows, perhaps they still do? I did return the book once I had finished it…
Michael Hughes posted on twitter, “Weird that I don’t get requests to appear on podcasts anymore.” I was having the same thought. Usually my inbox is inundated at this time of year, setting up interviews and what have you for the Witching Season, but I suppose there are more pressing matters on everyone’s minds, and Samhain is taking a back seat to matters of the material.
More’s the pity. We can have our pumpkin cake and eat it too.
We have become mere shadows of our former selves. The pandemic has shown where we are weakest, both above and below. Cabin fever, or something akin to it, has everyone on the verge of total lawlessness.
What was it Howard said? “Barbarianism is the natural state of mankind. Civilization is unnatural. It is the whim of circumstance. And barbarianism must ultimately triumph.”
If I’m going to countdown my 20 favorite Occult Detectives, I’d best start with the guy who started it all for me — Carl Kolchak.
The tv movie, The Night Stalker, aired in January of 1972, two months shy of my sixth birthday. I was enthralled, to say the least, and while I didn’t know it at the time, the adventures of the intrepid reporter sparked a love for the occult detective genre that still has me in its clutches almost 50 years later.
When I started my paranormal investigation group in 1983, it was this to which I looked for inspiration for the group’s moniker.
I owe a lot to Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson, and to Darren McGavin of course. They took Jeff Rice’s unpublished novel and made something truly remarkable, something that improved upon the source, and sparked the imagination of a child living in the rural…
Well, it’s finally here — what I like to call Bobtoberfest — that magical mystery tour that makes up the 40 days of the Witching Season. Things are a bit different this year. There’s this little thing called a pandemic going on, not to mention the election cycle, civil unrest, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and… well, you get the idea.
But fear not. We’re not going to let this diminish our ghoulishly good time.
I have walking tours planned through some old haunts — all to be streamed for your viewing pleasure. There are some terrific surprises for Last Writes in store, plus esoteric book reviews, an Occult Detective countdown, lists covering all sorts of macabre subjects, several investigations to be shared, and a whole lot more…
Most importantly, on Mabon, my lovely wife, Kim, and I will be celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary, and in less than three weeks, our…
It’s a strange thing to build relationships with people whom one’s never met up close and personal and yet this is the world we’ve manifested for ourselves and I am thankful for it. Otherwise I may never have been blessed to call Shawn Hebert a friend.
Shawn is the proprietor of what I consider the premier source for ritual candles, incense, and oils — Lailokens Awen. Shawn is a genius when it comes to the formulation of spiritual, magical blends through his expertise in aromatherapy and herbalism and I can personally attest to his products, having utilized his Beeswax Sabbat Altar Candles, and the results have been spectacular.
Shawn is quite simply one of my favorite humans. I respect his magical beliefs, his dedication to his craft, his heart and passion, and his gift for spinning occult detective yarns that, I hope, you’ll all be reading in…
Last week we learned about The High Priestess. Today, we’re continuing our journey through the Major Arcana with THE EMPRESS.
magickal title – Daughter of the Mighty Ones
the third key
the 14th path
feminine, receptive, passive
The path of The Empress is the mediator between Father and Mother, Chokmah and Binah, union of the powers of force and form. She is the Universal Mother whose womb we must all be born from to reach a higher level on the Tree of Life. The Empress is the root-essence of emotion, not that of the full spectrum of emotions manifested in Netzach. In her Venus aspect, she is all-loving. The red and green of her gown suggests the Venus/Mars opposition in balance. She is seated on an earth-brown throne, a symbol of The Empress as form builder. Her ankh is a symbol of Venus and eternal life. Her sceptre with its Sun orb implies her dominance of the heavens.
Beauty, happiness, love, pleasure, success, luxury and dissipation, if placed with negative cards
As a Significator
A woman of authority, power, and wealth, a political figure, a mother, a pregnant woman
ANGELICA (Angelica Archangelica)
masculine, projective, active
healing, protection, exorcism
feminine, receptive, passive
Chakra – Throat/Heart
peace, purification, courage, psychism, healing, meditation, love, self-knowledge, purpose and direction
This week’s post gets into the fun stuff – building your own astral temple. Before we begin, if you’re new to meditation and astral travel, the process I use can be found in my blog post Pathworking I, which you can read here.
What is an astral temple? It is a magickal space created in the astral using meditation, visualization, and energy directing techniques. It’s a space unique to you between the worlds, a place where you are no longer constrained by the limitations of ordinary reality. It is a place where you can work with guides, angels, demons, and other astral entities, as well as commune with the gods and make magick.
The astral temple can be anything you want it to be. It can be as simple as a stonehenge, woodhenge, stone circle, or forest clearing, or something as grand as a gothic cathedral, Egyptian temple, pyramid or wizards tower straight out of a fantasy novel. A hut, a saxon long house, a castle, or a cave. You’re limited only by your imagination.
Your astral temple can be on a hill, the summit of a mountain, perched on a cliff, or hidden deep within a forest. It can be on an island surrounded by a limitless sea, or floating in the air. Again, you’re limited only by your imagination.
Before taking the journey to create your astral temple, sit down with paper and pencil and begin to take notes on what you want your temple to be. Get as detailed as you possibly can. Do some rough sketches of how you would like it to look. You don’t have to be an artist for this, and your drawings don’t need to be perfect. They’re just aids to assist your imagination and will help to focus your ideas. Don’t let your design get unwieldy. If your design as a maze or corridors and rooms, you’ll have a hard time visualizing that all at once when it comes time for construction. Your temple needs to have ‘solidity’ in the astral. That means you having it firmly in place in your mind. If your temple is so complex that you cannot remember all the rooms/hallways/details, etc., then it’ll lack realness. As time goes by, you can add to it, and when you do so bit-by-bit, it makes the whole structure easier to visualize and appear solid in your mind.
To give you an idea of what an astral temple can be, I’ll share how mine started and evolved over the years.
My astral temple began as a stone henge (not Stonehenge, but a henge made in stone) on a hill surrounded by a forest. I was happy with this temple for many years, but at one point I decided I wanted a temple building in addition to the henge, and with vivid imagination in full gear, I decided I had to have a wizards tower straight out of a Dungeons & Dragons novel. So I went ahead a created another hill in the surrounding forest that was in close proximity to the hill with henge.
Around this point in my life, I was heavily influenced by Celtic myth and Arthurian legends, so, reading so much lore about the Isle of Avalon, I wanted to recreate that in the astral. Now, this was the 90’s and the internet wasn’t what it’s like today – you couldn’t just google whatever your heart desired, so I had to find a topographical map of Glastonbury to get an idea of the shape of the isle when surrounded by water, what the Tor, and Chalice and Wearyall Hills looked like, etc. I traced what I thought would be the isle’s outline onto blank paper, then added the outlines of physical features (the Tor, hills, etc.) I marked where the two springs would be, then went ahead and started designing the temple complex. My stone henge would be on the Tor and the tower would be on Chalice Hill. I decided the two springs would meet in the abbey grounds where they formed a large pool, before continuing on in a single stream. I added forests and to the north and east I decided on having rises and small cliffs.
With everything ready, I went into meditation and began my work, seeing this island forming out of thin air around the small forest and hills I had already created. When that was done, it was literally an island floating in space. I decided to keep it that way. Back then, I was very inspired by the artwork of Gilbert Williams and Rob Schouten, with their images of floating temples and spaces, heavily influencing how I imagined the astral.
That was more than enough work for one session, so in subsequent sessions, I built up the woodland, placed the two wells, pool and streams, created as much of the abbey ruins as I could from the few pictures of the place I could find in books at the time (remember, no google back then). My last step was to place a protective sphere and wards around the floating isle to keep it safe from unwanted visitors and negative energies.
And just like that, I had a whole temple complex in a place as close to looking like the Isle of Avalon as I could envision with just a topical map as a guide. As time went by, I added more to it, elemental shrines, caves, and other small details.
Now back to you. Once you’ve fleshed out your ideas enough, you’re ready to begin. If you’re using my process of relaxation and meditation, step out of the sphere and see yourself in a place appropriate to your plans – if your temple will be in a forest, see a woodland path beyond the sphere, follow it until you reach the place where you’ll build your temple. If your temple will be floating in the sky, step out of the sphere and see that it is floating in the sky. You can then fly to the location where you will begin building your astral temple.
If you’re creating the landscape that your temple will be built in like I did, work on that first. See the dirt and rocks forming into the landmass you determined in your notes. See the grass and trees grow, flowers blossoms, etc. Add any water features that you want. Once you’ve done the big work, travel around your space and add the details to the landscape that you want. This sounds simple and easy, but it takes time, and should be done in it’s own session or sessions before moving on to include the temple itself.
When it’s time to build your temple, see it being built brick-by-brick, or log-by-log, depending upon what you’ve chosen. If it’s a circle of standing stones, see them being shaped out of the earth, then moved into place. Take you time with this step, focus on colours and textures of the building material(s) you’re using. Once construction is complete, walk around your temple, looking at every inch of it, making alterations as needed. If your temple is a building, move into it, again scanning to make sure everything is how you envisioned it. If there are multiple rooms, walk into each one, ensuring the ‘bones’ of the temple are to your liking. This should probably be it’s own session as well.
In an additional session add details – if you’re temple will have a library, furnish it to your liking. Add statutes, wall paintings/engravings, design elements, furniture, spell and ritual items and tools, etc. In this session you’re ‘moving in’, and will want to include everything you’ll need for your astral workings in your temple.
Once this step has been completed, finish your sessions by setting protective wards around your temple. See it surrounded by a sphere of white light, an impenetrable shield that only you, and those you invite in, can cross. Once you have this image firmly in your mind, place some sort of warding image or symbol on the outside of the sphere in each of the four directions. These wards can be pentagrams or protective sigils you have designed yourself. Draw them on the sphere, seeing them flaming with power. You can include a chant or statement of intent if you wish. Once this final step is completed, you can finish your session and return to waking consciousness.
And just like that, you have your own astral temple. If you’ve gone to all this trouble, you’ll probably be visiting the space regularly, but life does get in the way, so you may go through periods where you’re not traveling as much, and that’s OK. But your temple and wards will need maintenance, so traveling at least once a month will do.
Remember to take detailed notes and make some sketches after each session. Also, nothing is set in stone. You can make changes to your temple or surrounding area as needed, just like I did. The important part is taking the time to visualize those changes, deletions, additions taking place.
So what can you do in this fabulous, shiny new temple? I’ll save that for some upcoming blog posts.
Last week, we continued our journey through the tarot with exploring the magickal attributes of The Magician. Today, we’re taking a look at THE HIGH PRIESTESS.
magickal title – Priestess of the Silver Star
the second key
the 13th path
The path of The High Priestess is the longest path on the Tree of Life, from God the Crown to God the Son (from the source of all to the slain and resurrected one). The Hebrew letter Gimel is attributed to this path, and means camel. The camel is the only animal that can carry us across the Abyss. The 13th path is the ultimate source of water and represents the root-essence of consciousness. The High Priestess is the counterpart of The Magician, thus receiving creative force and initiating form. The High Priestess is a higher form of the energy contained in the Temperance card. Her lower body forms a downwards pointing arrow, a reflection of the upwards facing arrow seen in the Temperance card. This symbolizes her function as regulator of the flow and direction of vibration. Together, the two arrows form a current of consciousness, waxing and waning.
Change, alteration, increase and decrease, fluctuation
As a Significator
Someone trying to get in touch with him/herself, someone who holds a secret, a wise woman, psychic, researcher, scholar, an ideal woman
If you would like to try a tarot meditation with The High Priestess, see my posts here and here.
In last week’s post, we started learning the magickal correspondences of tarot, crystals and herbs. If you missed it, you can read it here. We’re continuing on this week, and sticking with the order of the tarot cards, next up is THE MAGICIAN.
magickal title – Magus of Power
the first key
the 12th path
air – active / earth – passive
The path of The Magician lies between Kether (the source) and Binah (the organizer of form), the Crown of Understanding, the beginning of material production. The Magician is the architect and builder of the house that the divine spirit resides. He is The Fool in the act of experience. He is a form of the Egyptian god, Thoth. He is a symbol of the step towards manifestation from the silent, pre-thought stage that is represented by The Fool. The Magician stands before a transparent altar, which suggests that the thought of manifestation is present, but is yet to be actualized. The four tools resting upon the altar represent the four elements, the four suits of the tarot, the four Qabbalistic Worlds, and the four-lettered name of God.
Wisdom, cunning, skill. In certain instances, occult wisdom. The ability to use the power from above and direct it into manifestation. May be a builder of houses (Beth, the Hebrew letter associated with The Magician, means house). The Magician is the house in which the divine spirit resides. Creative in home life, may be an inventor.
As a Significator
A person becoming aware of their potential. A magician, builder, artist or inventor. The ideal man.
If you would like to try a tarot meditation with The Magician, see my posts here and here.