Home…And Ready to Rock and Roll
Well, I’m back home from the Babalon Rising festival and hard at work. I had a brief stint of jet-lagged tiredness, a surprise for me since even with overseas travel I’ve never experienced it previously.
Babalon Rising is a great and growing festival. Each year more people attend. Unlike other festivals that have become increasingly “family friendly” (“Bring the kids! We have special activities for them.”), BR remains staunchly adults only, giving it a different ambiance than many other events.
As with any festival (BR is in French Lick, Indiana), the location plays second fiddle to the people who attend. The people at BR, including those who run the festival, those who make presentations, those who help out, and those who attend, are great. Let me give you an example of the thought some people put into their presentations.
In the book, The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie, there is about 1.5 pages given to the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. I consider this an important foundational ritual in ceremonial magick (and spend many pages describing it in my Modern Magick), because it provides a student practice in generating and directing magickal energy, as well as developing visualization abilities, expanding psychic senses, communicating with archangels, etc. A magician will use all of these abilities as he or she matures, so practice with this ritual can be incredibly valuable. So why does Regardie spend so little time with it if it is so important? Even though The Golden Dawn is massive (884 pages!), it’s really just the most essential of class notes. It’s drawn from the teachings of a magickal order. You would get a copy of the notes and then be trained with them by a mentor, or at least be able to discuss it with someone who has more experience and knowledge. The Golden Dawn is a fantastic guide to magickal training and knowledge. Many people use my Modern Magick as a preparation to working with The Golden Dawn or in conjunction with it. I would also suggest the Cicero’s books for this purpose, especially The Essential Golden Dawn and Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition. If you’re not into the Golden Dawn, try looking HERE for other books on magick that can assist you on your path.
So why did I bring this up. One presenter (I’d met him before but now I consider him a friend) named Jay gave a workshop on the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. He used seventeen (17!) pages of notes. He had that much great information. Afterward, while we were talking, he said he was still wondering about a certain part of the ritual and I mentioned a possible solution. His eyes widened as if I had given him a revelation. But I’m not sitting at my keyboard claiming to be the wise, know-all mentor. Jay had some great information and ideas that I had not even considered before.
And that’s one of the great things about festivals. People share. Freely and openly. I probably learn far more than I could possible share.
Lon Milo DuQuette
One of the other major presenters was my friend (and now co-Llewellyn author) Lon Milo DuQuette. I originally met Lon briefly after his first book was published. Since that time, we have met frequently at festivals and conventions. For the last several years, Lon has driven north to my home in Los Angeles, then together we drive up to Pantheacon in San Jose, California. It gives us a chance to catch up on what’s been going on and share stories.
Beside being incredibly knowledgable in occult areas and a great musician (he often livens up his workshops with music), he is a great presenter. Sometimes, just sharing a lot of information can become an overwhelming “data dump,” and after a period of this the audience can become numb and just hear “yada, yada and Yada” rather than the information. Some presenters overcome this problem by simply giving less information. Lon solves the problem by being clear and extremely funny. If you want to get an idea of his style, see his wonderful book, Low Magick: It’s All in Your Head…You Just Have No Idea How Big Your Head Is. I feel very honored to call Lon a friend.
The Llewellyn Free On-Line Encyclopedia
Well, that’s my report. What am I back in the saddle doing? Most obviously, I’m doing these blogs for Llewellyn. I’m also the editor of Llewellyn’s free on-line Encyclopedia. I’m responsible for adding new words and phrases, definitions, and articles to what is rapidly becoming the most comprehensive free metaphysical, new age and occult encyclopedia on the internet.
Just before leaving to Babalon Rising I made over 100 new entries to the Encyclopedia, including:
- Atalanta: In the ancient Greek myth, Atalanta was abandoned by her father who wanted a son, was nursed by a bear and raised by hunters who tought her to fight and hunt. She took an oath of virginity to Artemis, and later was famed for being in foot races in which no man could outrun her to earn her as a bride.
- Hippodamia: In order to marry Pelops, the son of Tantalus, she rigged a chariot race between him and her father. Of course, her father had been fixing races before, leading to the deaths of previous suitors. Thus, her name is associated with large racing sites and large theaters.
- Mnemonics: Named after the goddess Mnemosyne, any technique or trick used to enable memory. For example, the words HOMES is used to memorize the names of the Great Lakes:
The “m” is silent, so the word is pronounced “neh-mahn-ics.” Especially before books became widely available, the art of memory was considered highly important, and mnemonic techniques were of great value.
Obviously, there are many other new additions. If you ever come across a word associated with metaphysics, the occult, astrology, the Tarot, the new age, etc. that you want to know more about, try looking in our free Encyclopedia. If it’s not there, drop me an email and let me know. Include a definition and if we use it you’ll get credit as the source. My email is DonK@llewellyn.com. And I’m also working on Llewellyn’s New Worlds, traveling giving workshops, and writing my own books. Stay tuned, my friends…the best is yet to come!