Zero Equals Two is a blog on magical news and culture sponsored by U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O. A diverse collective of contributors comb the worlds of magick, art, science, history, philosophy, and more every day for articles and events of interest to Thelemites and other modern free-thinkers and explorers, collecting them on this blog for your enjoyment.
- Vol. 1, No. 5 of the Keep Silence edition of The Equinox is now available
Vol. 1, No. 5 of the Keep Silence edition of The Equinox is now available for purchase.
Highlights include Liber HHH – a collection of practices each related to one of the three mother letters, The Temple of Solomon the King part V – being an article on the Qabalah, and LIBER XXX AERUM – The Vision and the Voice – a record of Crowley working the 19th call to receive visions of the 30 Aethyrs.
As you can see from the picture, my first edition copy was heavily water damaged. People have been enjoying the aged look of the photo reproductions of the first edition covers, but this seemed a bit too far. Luckily, Tony Iannotti offered to provide a scan of the cover of a copy in his possession, for which I am very grateful. Tony maintains https://bbs.bapho.net/, an online version of his BBS that originally distributed many of Crowley’s works in ascii form which are the source for the majority of the texts seen online today.
Canada (or those in the U.S. who prefer B&N):
- The Feast of Roderic Borgia, Pope Alexander VI
Tomorrow, 18 August, is The Feast of Borgia, Pope Alexander VI. Pope Alexander VI, born Rodrigo de Borja 1 January 1431, was Pope from 11 August 1492 until his death on 18 August 1503. According to The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius, Alexander “is remembered by Catholics as one of the most ‘decadent’ of the Renaissance Popes.”
Alexander VI was in fact a popular Pope during his day: he was a patron of the arts and a political statesman, who repelled a French attempt to assert control over Italy, liberated the Papal States from petty land barons, called for a league of Christian States against the Turks and was tolerant toward the Jews. He was also partial to the Qabalah, and he granted absolution to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, a Christian Qabalist and student of Raymond Lully and Marcilio Ficino, who had been accused of heresy by the Inquisition under Pope Innocent VIII. Michelangelo created the Pietà for Alexander.
Learn more about Pope Alexander VI:
- Roderic Borgia, Pope Alexander the Sixth (1431-1503 e.v.)
- Pope Hosts Scandalous Ballet of Chestnuts
- Was The Banquet of Chestnuts a Pinnacle of Religious Hypocrisy or Just One Hell Of a Party?
- Immortal Meals #7: Papal Orgies
In memory of Pope Alexander and his penchant for parties, we offer this delicious Italian recipe:
- 1½ cups chestnut flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tbs baking powder
- 2 tbs cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 tbs honey, plus more for serving
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup dried cranberries, plumped in ¼ cup warm water (or wine – preferably Vin Santo)
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan by lightly brushing it with olive oil. Reserve.
- In a large bowl, swift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, eggs and milk.
- Slowly pour the liquids into the dry ingredients, whisking very well to avoid lumps. The batter should be smooth and a bit liquidy.
- Reserve some of the nuts and fruits to sprinkle on top of cake. Add the remaining to the batter, mixing until evenly distributed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle the nuts/fruits on top and bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake begins to puff slightly and the middle is set. Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from pan.
- Dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder and serve with some warm honey.
- Ritual Occultation and the Space between Worlds Presentation at Trans State Conference
Here’s video of Jasmine Shadrack & Charmaine Sonnex’s presentation at the Trans State Conference “Ritual Occultation and the Space between Worlds.”
The video’s posted description:
exploring the application of the “flow” state in Pagan and Black Metal performance practice. This presentation examines the concept of the “flow” state and applies it to Pagan ritual workings and black metal performance. The flow state is “the holistic experience that people feel when they act with total involvement” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p 36). It is a liminal state of consciousness (Turner, 1974), and is induced during ritualistic performance in Pagan and black metal contexts. These disparate praxes reveal through their shared aesthetics, a realm through which transcendental performativity is delivered. The transformative powers offered by flow, advances a spiritual engagement with black metal. Pagan symbology when applied to black metal performance leads to adoption of the flow state. Pagan ritual workings are a mental operation where the practitioners raise energy, imbue it with a purpose, and then send it out to its intended target. This work cannot be conducted in an ordinary state of consciousness; an altered state must be realised to craft the singularity of intent necessary (Adler , 1986; Orion, 1995; Starhawk, (1986). Pagan ritual is understood as a form of performance (Butler, 2004; Hume, 1998; Roundtree, 2006) with emphasis on set and setting, and ritual tools considered as props. This staging aides the Pagan as performer to achieve and maintain the altered, liminal state of flow. The ways this liminal state performs, demarcates a specificity of engagement within a black metal performance that uses Pagan ritual as a conduit. This means that the value of flow in Pagan ritual is equally as significant in black metal which consolidates the props in Paganism, consuming and excising them into black metal performance as key signifying practices. As it is in Pagan ritual, flow’s singularity of intent becomes the crux of the subject in process; the raising of energy through black metal performance in order to project it out seeks to access the flow state in order to achieve its purpose
Jasmine Shadrack is a Senior Lecturer in Popular Music at the University of Northampton and is in the final stage of her PhD. She is also the guitarist and front woman in an avant-garde black metal collective, Denigrata. Jasmine’s research explores the ways in which women as performers are engaged with by black metal. The value and impact of this original research lays in its engagement and analysis of its gendered performance; there are few women black metal performers so by foregrounding female subjectivity as a fundamental of the research, her thesis seeks to investigate issues of identity, self-embodiment and musicality.
Charmaine Sonnex is an Associate Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Northampton and is in the final stages of her PhD. Her research interests include Transpersonal Psychology, non-contact healing, Paganism, and spirituality. Charmaine’s thesis includes a comprehensive meta-analysis of the current empirical research into various form of non-contact healing, explores Pagan ritual workings through a psychological lens, and seeks to establish the efficacy of Pagan healing practices through a randomised controlled trial (RCT). This research makes an original contribution to a number of research fields; the meta-analysis is the most recent and comprehensive review of its kind, the application of psychological theory to investigation of Pagan praxis is unique and original as is the application of the RCT method to Pagan healing practices.
- A Contemplation of Thelemic Ethics in the Social Media-ted World
We’re gonna go deep on this one. And I’ll state upfront that this is one person’s opinion and not OTO U.S. Grand Lodge policy per se. Ya disagree – complain to me, not the Most Holy King!
“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. ”
One might suggest that this could imply that a Thelemite should act solely upon their True Will and not according to personal whims, social convention, religious dogma, civil authority or any other received wisdom; that is the one absolute, universal law recognized by Thelemites. One might imagine that\in order to do that, one must actually discover that Will and liberate oneself from the control of all other influences, a process which is gains focus and intensity when one undergoes our initiation rituals complemented by the study and practice of Thelemic theurgy and thaumaturgy.
The observance of these Thelemic Ethics perhaps ought not be based in fear of punishment or expectation of reward from an exteriorized Deity or temporal authority but with the goal of harmonizing external action with True Will and thus to center one’s existence in True Will.
In his essay “Duty: A note on the chief rules of practical conduct to be observed by those who accept the Law of Thelema” Aleister Crowley gives this list of practical conduct.
Meanwhile, the New York Times ran a think piece earlier this year about behaviors in the U.S. which are predicated largely, I’d suggest, upon personal whims, social convention, religious dogma, civil authority and any other received wisdom. I’d further suggest that this has manifested as an unprecedented amount of ongoing unfraternal behavior between those self-identifying as Thelemites and OTO members – primarily in social media. I’d further suggest that individuals of all political persuasions might read this article consider how it applies to themselves (not the folks on the other pole of the political spectrum), and then whether they might want to alter their posting habits at all. And entirely possible they won’t. And that’s fair enough.
The article ends:
“This is the landscape of our broader political wars. What’s fascinating is that it’s also the landscape of our innocuous pop-culture battles, over which films are underrated and which celebrities overappreciated. Social media, in particular, is almost perfectly designed to turn mundane exchanges into ferocious moral dust-ups. Questions of taste and aesthetics have always been intimately bound up with questions of status and character and overarching cultural values. Even the most humdrum disagreement resolves itself, through one wave of backlash after another, into the same central question: Why does ‘everyone’ believe the wrong thing? ”
- Women’s Sex Magick: Avoiding Penetration Pain
While the idea of sex magick in literature seems to revolve around the idea that a couple experiences simultaneous climax and mutual pleasure, the reality is a bit more complicated. Not all women orgasm, and those who do don’t necessarily get there easily or quickly. Add to that the idea that there are physical limitations to consider, proportions of partners, and so on, and one realizes that the practical needs also to be thought through.
Many people don’t realize that the average vagina is about 3 to 4 inches deep, while the average penis is about 5 or 6 inches long. As WebMD points out, “Regardless of how long the vagina is, the area that is thought to be important for most women’s sexual response is the outer one-third.” Still, one might worry that penetration has the potential to be painful, and indeed it does without some attention to detail. An advice column in the Chicago Tribune offers suggestions for making penetrative sex more pleasant for people with cervixes: Ask Anna: How to avoid painful, cervix-hitting sex. Please note that this advice needn’t be limited to heterosexual, penis in vagina pairings, but also can apply to any sex act when a vagina is penetrated.
Want to learn more about the measurements involved?