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z2square200Zero 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.

Recent posts


  • 2021/01/15Shaman vs LARPer

    Britannica’s article by renowned religious historian Mircea Eliade on Shamanism states:

    “…shaman, a person believed to achieve various powers through trance or ecstatic religious experience. Although shamans’ repertoires vary from one culture to the next, they are typically thought to have the ability to heal the sick, to communicate with the otherworld, and often to escort the souls of the dead to that otherworld.

    “As its etymology implies, the term applies in the strictest sense only to the religious systems and phenomena of the peoples of northern Asia and the Ural-Altaic, such as the Khanty and MansiSamoyedTungusYukaghirChukchi, and Koryak. However, shamanism is also used more generally to describe indigenous groups in which roles such as healer, religious leader, counselor, and councillor are combined. In this sense, shamans are particularly common among other Arctic peoplesAmerican IndiansAustralian Aborigines, and those African groups, such as the San, that retained their traditional cultures well into the 20th century.”

    UrbanDictionary’s top definititino of LARPer is

    “A word that describes a live action role player or someone who enjoys acting out fantasy adventures.”

    https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Larper

    The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of a LARPer is:

    “abbreviation for live-action role player: a person who takes part in games in which players dress as particular characters and act out their parts in the game”

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/larper

     

     

     


  • 2021/01/14Introduction to the Qabalah: The Structure of the Tree of Life SATURDAY 16 AT 2 PM EST

    Tahuti Lodge, O.T.O. in the valley of New York will be hosting the lecture Introduction to the Qabalah: The Structure of the Tree of Life SATURDAY January 16 AT 2 PM EST.
    The event page on FB says:
    “Now you must learn Qabalah. Learn this Alphabet of Magick. You must take it on trust, as a child does his own alphabet.” -Magick Without Tears, Chapter IV
    Join us for an examination and explanation of the various components that make up the Tree of Life.
    *This event is OPEN to Tahuti Lodge’s Members, our OTO extended community, and interested seekers.
    Admission: $10
    To RSVP for this event and zoom info, please email tahutilodge@tahutilodge.org


  • 2021/01/14Aleister Crowley and Pirate Bridge


    A little-known chapter in the life of Aleister Crowley.

    Vanity Fair, January, 1917.

    In the January 1917 edition of Vanity Fair Crowley introduced modifications to the game of Bridge which he termed “Pirate Bridge” – Though I have never played any version of Bridge, I do know that it is a competitive card game played in teams.  It is still enjoyed all over the world today, but was in its heyday during the early 1920’s through the mid-1940’s.  Crowley clearly enjoyed the game enough to consider ways of improving play.

    Though Crowley’s “Pirate Bridge” was essentially a few minor alterations to the original game it became somewhat of a fad and received much attention from the media.  Crowley of course enjoyed being in the spot-light and for a moment the Great Beast was not the world’s most evil man nor the prophet of a new aeon.  Instead, he was simply Aleister Crowley the inventor of Pirate’s Bridge, (and also those other things).  Speaking fondly of this period Crowley wrote, “I had only to wander into the appropriate circles to make myself the darling of the community.”

    Bridge was quite popular during this time, such that international tournaments were commonplace.  Because of this Crowley’s “Pirate Bridge” became widely adopted and articles in various publications as well as small booklets would appear in several languages, promoting Pirate Bridge.

    “Pirate Bridge” – Title page to a French booklet published in 1918 e.v.

    The following article was published by the “Dominion” out of Wellington, New Zealand and is dated to the 28th of December 1918 –

    “Pirate Bridge”

    Bridge players should welcome an authoritative guide to the latest development of auction bridge.  Such a work is now pro­vided by Foster’s “Pirate Bridge” (E. P. Dutton and Co., per Angus and Robertson and Whitcombe and Tombs).  Mr. Foster is admittedly the best expert authority on card games, more especially the various latter-day developments of the good old game of whist.  In an interesting sketch of the history of bridge, Mr. Foster credits a Mr. John Doe, an Anglo-Indian, with having invented auction bridge.  It remained, he says, for Mr. Aleister Crowley to go a step further than Doe.  The idea of auction bridge was to distribute the privilege of making the trump, giving everyone at the table a chance.  Mr. Crowley improved up­on this by distributing the privilege of picking the partner who could best support that trump, or who could offer the best defense against it.  Instead of having all partnerships decided by their accidental position at the table, his plan was to have the partners select each other by a sort of proposal

    Advertisement for Fosters official Bridge rule book which featured Crowley’s Pirate Bridge. (See “The Argus” article below for more details.)

    and acceptance, according to the suitability of their joint hands.  Mr. Crowley explained his ideas to Mr. Crowninshield, the editor of the New York weekly “Vanity Fair,” who at once saw its possi­bilities, christened the new game “pirate bridge,” and introduced it to the card-playing world in a series of articles, the first of which was published in January 1917.  Mr. Foster’s work deals with every stage and variation of the game and offers advice as to the best play at each juncture.  The chapters on bidding, accepting and refusing unsuitable partners are models of shrewd observational lucidity in expressing the counsel given.  The rules of the game are given in full, and several illustrative games are worked out in detail.

    (For those who would like to read it – a copy of Crowley’s original article, The Origin of the Game of Pirate Bridge, as published in Vanity Fair, is included below.)


    “Pirate Bridge” – First page of the French booklet published in 1918 e.v.


    This article appeared on page six of “The Argus” (Melbourne, Vic) on Saturday, October 19th 1918 e.v.


    Crowley’s article on Pirate Bridge – “Vanity Fair” circa 1917 e.v.


  • 2021/01/13More Witch House Grooves and Beats

    “Witch house is a dark, occult-themed electronic music microgenre and visual aesthetic that emerged in the late 2000s and early 2010s.[1][2] The music is heavily influenced by chopped and screwed hip-hop soundscapes, industrial and noise experimentation, and features use of synthesizers, drum machines, obscure samples, droning repetition and heavily altered, ethereal, indiscernible vocals.

    “The witch house visual aesthetic includes occultwitchcraftshamanismterror and horror-inspired artworks, collages and photographs as well as significant use of hidden messages and typographic elements such as Unicode symbols.[3][4] Many works by witch house visual artists incorporate themes from horror films such as The Blair Witch Project,[5] the television series Twin Peaks,[6] horror-inspired dark web videos and mainstream pop culture celebrities. Common typographic elements in artist and track names include trianglescrosses and Unicode symbols, which are seen by some as a method of keeping the scene underground and harder to search for on the Internet as well as references to the television series Twin Peaks and Charmed.[7][8] ” sez Wikipedia

    Read the whole piece: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_house_(genre).

    Here’s a mix from DJ Spellcraft

    https://soundcloud.com/djspellcraft/witch-house-grooves-and-beats


  • 2021/01/13Wierdness Without, Wierdness Within

    Episode 8 of Sharron Kraus’ Preternatural Investigations podcast is called  “Wierdness Without, Wierdness Within.” The posted description says:

    In which the ways the communities we belong to are shown to affect our sense of self and our ability to find magic, meaning and happiness in our own lives. Differences between narrow communities and those that are more open, welcoming and diverse are looked at and what makes us who we are is shown to involve more than the factual aspects of our identity – the self is shown to be preternatural.

    Music by Sharron Kraus, with Nick PalmerNancy WallaceHarriet Earis, Oliver Parfitt, Jenny BlissNeal Heppleston, Guy Whittaker and Nick Jonah Davis

    REFERENCES
    Harry Smith, Anthology of American Folk Music
    David Olusoga, The James MacTaggart Lecture, Edinburgh TV Festival 2020
    Greil Marcus, Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes
    Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
    Penda’s Fen
    Philip Pullman, ‘Imaginary Friends: Are Stories Anti-Scientific?’

    “Preternatural Investigations is a podcast about things that are strange but not too strange; the marvelous things that lie ‘between the mundane and the miraculous’1.

    “As a rationalist who believes there is magic, mystery and meaning to be found in the world around us, my investigations are influenced by William James’ enquiries into religious experience and Mark Fisher’s explorations of the weird and the eerie.

    “My subjects will include the magic we experience in certain places, as a result of participating in certain kinds of activity, in response to art, music and literature, and in nature; the relationship between fictional representations of magic and the preternatural magic we can experience in the world, at wonder, imagination and the ability to find new ways of seeing familiar things, the way fictional and other constructed worlds intersect with and are grafted onto the natural world, enabling us to experience the world as a many-layered palimpsest that draws us in, leads us on, and reveals itself to us at the same time as giving us insights into aspects of ourselves.

    “Preternatural Investigations ran for 12 weeks, starting Sunday 23rd August,  hosted by musician and writer Sharron Kraus.”

    https://preternatural-investigations.org/episode-8/.

     

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