Ancestor Veneration When It Isn’t Your Father’s Wish

I received a question by letter, which I wanted to answer privately, but didn’t have an e-mail address or even mailing address. So here’s to hoping this post is seen by who it’s intended for. ❤

The question presented:

Dear Benebell,

I am a Taoist witch, but my religious family thinks I am a Baptist Christian and therefore against non-Baptist religious practices.

Last night my dad and I were watching a Taiwanese movie and an ancestor veneration scene came up. My dad began a conversation about Taoist traditions and said, “When I die, please don’t venerate me like a Catholic or Taoist would.”

I am a strong believer in ancestor veneration and plan to venerate both of my parents when they pass away.

I do not want to go against my father’s personal wishes as I love and respect him, but I also do not want his spirit to go un-venerated because I love him dearly.

What, in your opinion, is the best way to go about this?

Continue reading “Ancestor Veneration When It Isn’t Your Father’s Wish”

Morning Calm Oracle by Seo Keller

A treasure of a divination system in a box that you’ll cherish, Morning Calm Oracle by trained shaman Seo Kelleher invites you to engage with a world of spirits, divinities, and nature magic from the Land of the Morning Calm, a name of endearment given to Korea.

The box design, sigils, and the tactile experience of handling the cards are an exemplary representation of East Asian magic. Those who are sensitive to energy will even feel the difference in the vibrations of this deck in hand compared to other decks you might have in your collection.

I am enchanted by the effortless beauty and the beneficence of this deck. The artwork is done by Alodia Yap, whose artwork is moving and melodic. Yap’s art style here is impressionistic. It works in perfect harmony with what Kelleher set out to achieve.

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Crafting with a Ba Gua Mirror in Traditional Asian Witchcraft

Learn a little more about this common ritual tool in traditional Asian folk magic. I’m inviting you to give the ba gua or eight trigrams mirror a try.

This video covers a few pointers on how to use a ba gua mirror to tell whether you’ve been hexed or cursed (a folksy practice that’s interesting to learn about, at the very elast), how a ba gua mirror can amplify your spell-crafting techniques, a simple intention-setting candle spell, how to make your own ba gua mirror if you can’t source one, and how to integrate this one tool and folk practice into what you’re already doing.

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Elemental Directional Correspondences in Ritual Magic, East vs. West: How Do You Reconcile Conflicts?

One of my favorite personal rewards from launching the Witchcraft Fundamentals course is the Google Group, where all of us are exchanging insights, asking tough questions, trying to answer tough questions, and getting to know each other. To give you a sampling of what that e-mail list-serv group is like, I’m sharing something I wrote on there in one of the threads started by a practitioner of both Eastern and Western metaphysics.

The question presented is, in short, how do you reconcile Eastern elemental-directional correspondences with Western elemental-directional correspondences?

By the way, scroll all the way down for the PDF downloads of this post, which you can then print out and tuck into whatever reference manual for your metaphysical studies you have going on.

IN THIS WESTERN WITCHCRAFT COURSE, you’ll learn fairly soon that there are different systems of elemental-directional correspondences even within the umbrella of Western occult philosophy, and we cover three of them in this course:

Continue reading “Elemental Directional Correspondences in Ritual Magic, East vs. West: How Do You Reconcile Conflicts?”

Lunar Year of the Metal Rat & Navigating Natal Years

The Rat is the start of the zodiac cycle, much like Aries in the Western zodiac. Thus, any year of the Rat is going to be prognosticated as a year of beginnings, of starting over, and new opportunities that come your way.

The Rat is considered to be business-savvy and entrepreneurial, so sole proprietorships are going to be more prosperous than usual. It’s a lucky year for small businesses or new startup ventures.

With 2020 being the year of the Metal Rat, we’re going to see a global focus on technology.

Metal years, no matter what the animal sign, are also more prone to social conflicts, so we may see more of that across the world stage. This is a year of nations and leaders trying to show off their power.

On the other hand, in terms of culture and humanities, it should be a great year for music.

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Taoist Metaphysics

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally. We are now on to Video 4.

4. Taoist Metaphysics

This video lecture will be a beginner-level overview of Taoist metaphysics, which will begin with the Taoist mythology for the origins of the universe, cover Taoist expressions and esoteric thought on reality as it has been created by our minds and by physical matter. Concepts of magic and non-physical entities will also be addressed.

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Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally. We are now on to Video 3.

3. Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

What is the impact of Taoism on the everyday Chinese culture and the collective consciousness of its people? What are some of the guiding principles underscoring Taoist sorcery? This lecture will discuss some of the practical ways Buddhism and Taoism get syncretized in Chinese occultism.

Continue reading “Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice”

History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

This is the continuation of a six-part video series I’m doing on Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism as it has been practiced historically and culturally among the Han. Video 1 released earlier was the Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism. We are now on to Video 2.

2. History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

In this video lecture, we are going to cover over 4,000 years of history, going through the dynasties, beginning with the Xia, Shang, and Zhou, until we reach modern China. Our coverage will span beyond 4,000 years, preceding the Xia, to talk about shamanism in the Neolithic Era.

Works cited for everything covered in this lecture are in the end notes of The Tao of Craft (North Atlantic Books, 2016).

Next Lecture: Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

All videos in this series are closed-captioned for the deaf, hard of hearing, or those whose native tongue isn’t English. I’ve also made my best attempt at accommodating for the blind. If there is room for improvement in these regards, I’m open to friendly critique. Thank you!

For the full playlist, go here:

tinyurl.com/chineseoccultism

Continue reading “History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China”

Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism

Taoism is a nature-based religion, philosophy, and a 2,000 year old tradition of sorcery native to China since the Zhou Dynasty. In that same time, Buddhism enters China and a modality of it–esoteric Buddhism–is blended in with Taoist magic. Yet the roots of Taoist magic trace back even further than the dynasties of antiquity, back to Neolithic shamanism.

This introductory six-video lecture series will cover the ontology, theory, history, and cultural practice of sorcery at the intersection of esoteric Buddhism and Taoism. You’re on Video #1: Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism.

1: Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism

2: History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

3: Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

4: Taoist Metaphysics

5: Chinese Occultism as a Syncretic Practice

6: Taoist Magic in Contemporary Times

I’m creating this lecture series as an invitation to you to learn more about the occult traditions I practice. I hope you find within these offerings bits of insight, knowledge, and methods that you can integrate, syncretize, adopt into your own Path.

For the full playlist, go here:

tinyurl.com/chineseoccultism

Continue reading “Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism”

Introduction to Chinese Esotericism

Taoism is a nature-based religion, philosophy, and a 2,000 year old tradition of sorcery native to China since the Zhou Dynasty. In that same time, Buddhism enters China and a modality of it–esoteric Buddhism–is blended in with Taoist magic. Yet the roots of Taoist magic trace back even further than the dynasties of antiquity, back to Neolithic shamanism. This introductory six-video lecture series will delve in to Chinese occult practices that syncretize Buddhism and Taoism.

Video 1 is an introduction to the course and the distinction between exoteric and esoteric Taoist/Buddhist practices. Video 2 covers the history of Taoist and Buddhist mysticism in China. Video 3 gets into the cultural practice of Taoist sorcery while Video 4 gives you a crash course into Eastern metaphysics. Finally, Videos 5 and 6 will give a primer on practicing or integrating Taoist magic and esoteric Buddhism into your path.

1: Introduction to Buddhist-Taoist Esotericism

2: History of Taoist and Buddhist Mysticism in China

3: Taoist Sorcery and Its Cultural Practice

4: Taoist Metaphysics

5: A Thought Tour of the Chinese Occult

6: Taoist Magic in Contemporary Times

I’m creating this lecture series as an invitation to you to learn more about the occult traditions I practice. I hope you find within these offerings bits of insight, knowledge, and methods that you can integrate, syncretize, or adapt for yourself.

For the full playlist, go here:

tinyurl.com/chineseoccultism

Continue reading “Introduction to Chinese Esotericism”