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Your clock

Never mind that thing on your counter or wrist.
It's just an approximation
of your position on Earth,
and Earth's progress in its daily rotation.

You can read your clock
by the shadow of a memorial pillar,
its point gradually tracing
an almond-curve across the landscape.

Now take up your shrine
and move against the rotation of the Earth,
that is toward the West:
the shadow slows. Move East:
the shadow quickens.

Your friend standing to the North,
her shadow is longer, and moves quickly.
Every man and every woman has a clock,
of no use but true
to the minute and second,
each according to its relation to all.
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About a year and a half ago, kaosangre and I began a journey together. Starting out in Salem, Massachusetts, we crossed the Atlantic and visited five European countries and made many friends over the course of six weeks. I still haven't finished posting the photos from that trip. As momentous and intense as the European trip was, it was to be the beginning of a much greater journey.

We went back to Salem for Halloween, as described in my previous post. In the midst of talking to costumed revelers on the streets about their freedom, I took the opportunity to take my beloved aside, to the North River Bridge where the first armed resistance against the British forces took place.

It was at this important symbol of the beginning of freedom in Western civilization that I asked her to make formal our natural marriage and celebrate it with a ceremony and feast. In short, I presented her with a family heirloom ring, asked her to marry me, and she said yes!
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Salem Halloween

As previously mentioned, big Halloween weekend for me. It was all amazing, and the hospitality afforded by stevensteven, illuminaut, and shepjoe was beyond generous.

I took some photos throughout the weekend, which are available here.

Some of the unplanned highlights included:
  • meeting the proprietors (if that is the correct title they hold, I don't know...) at Weiser Antiquarian; and getting the Progradior Correspondence personally signed by the editor at a discount; and a free, extremely well made Weiser canvas tote bag
  • stopping in York Beach, Maine for excellent chowder, fish & chips, etc. at the Lobster Barn
  • Maine salt-water taffy
  • home-made feasts included: chicken piccata, chicken nuggets, honey mustard tofu, mac & cheese, basil ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with homemade cookie dough, and more...

With respect to my previous post, Preaching Thelema, it's now a series with a theme song, and the next installment came from the weekend:

Embedding disabled? Try this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cReZs2UAvas

Be sure to also check out stevensteven's report of the weekend. Three parts are now up and a fourth is promised.

There is still more to report about this Halloween weekend. See my next post for an announcement.
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Halloween in Salem

I've got a big weekend coming up in Salem, MA.

Thursday, kaosangre and I will fly out.

Friday will include a trip to Weiser Antiquarian and then dine with the officers of Knights Templar Oasis.

On Halloween, Saturday during the day, I will facilitate a 5-hour workshop on promulgation strategies. After this, we will hit the 17th century pedestrian mall of Salem, MA, teeming with 250,000 spooky revelers, ourselves armed to the teeth with literature about the Law of Thelema.

Sunday, at Noon I will facilitate a class on making music to accompany ritual. We'll then have brunch, and I will then offer another class, this time an examination of the symbolism of The Lord as it is employed in Liber XV: The Gnostic Mass. I'll then perform as Priest in the Mass, with illuminaut as Priestess and stevensteven as Deacon.

Monday we return home.

I am very excited about this weekend! Not only will I be able to do many of the things I love, but with some of my dearest friends.
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Preaching Thelema

I just got back from promulgating, street preacher style. Video excerpt here:

Embed not working? Use this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxGC8myibOM

It was a really interesting experience. There was a particularly serendipitous occurrence, caught on video, where I was walking past a musician just as he sang the Grateful Dead lyric, "a friend of the devil is a friend of mine." He had recognized the Great Beast 666 booklet in my hand and made smiling eye contact with me as he sang this verse. Afterward I talked with him and he said he had found a booklet at the local anarcho-syndicalist vegan café, Red & Black.

A few people listened with interest and took booklets afterward. I heard one student (apparently with prior exposure to the material) explaining to his friends what I was about. At the beginning it was clear that people thought I was going to say the same old "Jesus saves" stuff and a number of people had question marks over their heads as I read Liber OZ. I think this all stirred up some curiosity.

I plan to go back soon if the weather holds.
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Hummus b'il Tahina

Hummus, the world-famous Levantine dip that has been steadily increasing in popularity in the U.S., has been a common part of the diet in the Middle East for hundreds of years, with recipes varying in each household. When eaten with bread, hummus offers a complete protein along with healthy fats, plenty of fiber, and vitamins. One common legend gives credit to Saladin for inventing hummus, while historians generally agree that the modern dish resulted from a gradual evolution of the use of chickpeas stretching to antiquity, and not recorded in writing until about the 13th century e.v.

The following recipe makes about 10 cups of hummus. You'll want to adjust the recipe if your processor has a lower capacity.

  • 3 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 8-12 large cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup tahini (unsalted)
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sumak powder
  • fresh ground black pepper
click to zoom

garbanzo beans or chickpeas for hummus
garbanzo beans or chickpeas

boiling garbanzos for hummus
boiling the garbanzos

boiled and drained garbanzos for hummus
boiled and drained garbanzos

alaea salt from Hawaii for hummus
red salt from Hawaii

garlic for hummus

garlic and red alaea salt in a mortar and pestle for hummus
garlic and red alaea salt

lemons for hummus

powdered sumak berry for hummus
powdered sumak berry

sumak for hummus
powdered sumac berry

hummus b'il tahina with pine nuts, fresh mint, and sumac
hummus b'il tahina
with pine nuts, fresh mint, and sumak

First, soak the garbanzo beans in water overnight (or about 8 hours), with enough water that the beans can expand (about 2" (5cm) over the beans). Remove any beans that float. If you are unsure on the amount of water to use, check it after a couple hours and add water if needed.

Drain the garbanzos, then put them back in enough water to cover them by 2 inches (5cm) and boil. Remove any foam with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and continue boiling partially covered for 3 hours. Every half hour or so, check the water level and add more boiling water as needed to keep the beans covered.

Once tender, drain the beans and save out 1½ cups of the cooking water. At this point, to make the hummus extra smooth, you could remove the hulls from the boiled beans after cooling them with a cold rinse. I skip this step and make up for it with much longer processing time. Place the beans, 1 cup of the cooking water, and ½ cup of olive oil in the processor and start it running on high speed. If you want to add more nutritional value to your hummus, replace some of the olive oil with grapeseed oil (I used a tablespoon with good results). Leave the food processor running while peeling and mashing the garlic.

Mash the peeled garlic cloves and salt together in a mortar and pestle until they make a smooth paste. This step makes a big difference in the flavor, as the salt draws out the essence of the garlic. I also like to use sea salt or high mineral-content salt to give it that much more of an old-world flavor.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the lemon juice and tahini until they form a light paste. Add in the mashed garlic & salt, and mix together. Add this mixture to the food processor. Keep it running as you add fresh ground black pepper to taste.

If it is too thick, add some of the remaining cooking water. It should be smooth and pourable like pancake batter.

To serve, sautée the pine nuts in olive oil until brown, and finely chop fresh mint leaves. Pour the hummus out on a platter and use a spoon to form a crater, spiral, star, or other shape like a moat in the hummus. Sprinkle the browned pine nuts, mint, and sumak powder all over it and then pour olive oil to fill the "moat". Finally, add a couple of whole mint leaves as a garnish.

A side note on sumak: this is a crimson-colored powder often confused with paprika but with a very different flavor. It is a lemony berry that is dried and powdered, and compliments the lemon in hummus. It can be somewhat more difficult to find but should be stocked at middle eastern groceries. In Portland, it is available at Barbur World Foods and at Taste of Europe.

Serve with quartered pita bread or tortilla chips.

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Montana: Land of dignity and Freedom!

Montana may become the first U.S. state to rule that assisted suicide is a right guaranteed by the state's constitution.

"Lawyers on both sides [of the question of assisted suicide] say the Montana Supreme Court has a tradition of interpreting the State Constitution with [the inviolability of human dignity] in mind, with privacy rights and personal liberty often outweighing other concerns. The court ruled in 1997, for example, that Montana’s anti-sodomy laws were unconstitutional invasions of privacy." (NYT)

More: Politics Daily | NY Times | Missoulian

"Man has the right ... to die when and how he will." —Liber OZ, the Thelemic declaration of the rights of mankind.
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Sit Down John

Thanks to illuminaut for recommending that I see the musical, 1776. The opening song is... well... I like it:

Sit Down John

Sit down, John! Sit down, John!
For God's sake, John, sit down!
Sit down, John! Sit down, John!
For God's sake, John, sit down!

Someone oughta open up a window!

It's ninety degrees! Have mercy, John, please
It's hot as hell in Philadephia!

Someone oughta open up a window!

I say vote yes! Vote yes! Vote for independency!

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Will someone shut that man up?

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Walt Whitman on the Law of Liberty

Happy Independence Day!

"IT is not only true that most people entirely misunderstand Freedom, but I sometimes think I have not yet met one person who rightly understands it. The whole Universe is absolute Law. Freedom only opens entire activity and license under the law. To the degraded or undevelopt—and even to too many others—the thought of freedom is a thought of escaping from law—which, of course, is impossible. More precious than all worldly riches is Freedom—freedom from the painful constipation and poor narrowness of ecclesiasticism—freedom in manners, habiliments, furniture, from the silliness and tyranny of local fashions—entire freedom from party rings and mere conventions in Politics—and better than all, a general freedom of One’s-Self from the tyrannic domination of vices, habits, appetites, under which nearly every man of us, (often the greatest brawler for freedom,) is enslaved. Can we attain such enfranchisement—the true Democracy, and the height of it? While we are from birth to death the subjects of irresistible law, enclosing every movement and minute, we yet escape, by a paradox, into true free will. Strange as it may seem, we only attain to freedom by a knowledge of, and implicit obedience to, Law. Great—unspeakably great—is the Will! the free Soul of man! At its greatest, understanding and obeying the laws, it can then, and then only, maintain true liberty. For there is to the highest, that law as absolute as any—more absolute than any—the Law of Liberty. The shallow, as intimated, consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws, namely, the fusion and combination of the conscious will, or partial individual law, with those universal, eternal, unconscious ones, which run through all Time, pervade history, prove immortality, give moral purpose to the entire objective world, and the last dignity to human life."

See also Liber OZ: http://sekhetmaat.com/wiki/Liber_77

Thanks for the pointer, rikb!