A Method for Cryptographic Sigil Creation

  Inspired by my recent conversations with Erik Arneson , Tres Henry , and Taylor Bell , I've been thinking a lot of late about the potential uses for cryptographic hashes in the creation of magical sigils.  After playing around with the ideas a bit and making a few false starts, I've developed a proof of concept to share with the wider community. Background:  What's a Cryptographic Hash? In the world of cryptography, a hash function is a one-way encryption operation.  This means that source data (plaintext) can be encrypted with a hash function, but once encrypted it cannot be decrypted.  This doesn't sound especially useful at first glance, but in truth these hash functions play a vital role in the world of information security.  Because the same input will always give the same hashed output, the hash of a file or other piece of data serves as a unique signature of that input.  This has many uses in file integrity checking, authentication, and other arenas, but from

Why I Love the Golden Dawn Tradition

 A little while ago, I wrote a post about some of the problems that I see in the present-day Golden Dawn tradition .  As I said at the time, I still hold the tradition dear to my heart even though I have issues with the temporal institutions that currently embody it.  To read my previous post, however, one might think I had nothing but criticism to offer. This post is the other side of that coin. For me, there is nothing else like the Golden Dawn.  Having spent about a decade doing magic in a temple setting, working through the grades and experiencing their energies and their impact in my life, it's still difficult to imagine not working magic that way--even though I haven't been in a working temple environment for a few years now.  While the A.'.A.'. is similar in structure, I've never been a fan of Crowley--though I have more empathy for him these days than I once did.  And there are various Masonic and para-masonic organizations which also share a lodge setting i

Toward a Methodology for Reality Hacking

"Superstition is the tribute paid by ignorance to knowledge of which it recognises the value but does not understand the significance." Dion Fortune, Sane Occultism If you have read my previous post on magic as hacking , you may find yourself persuaded by the similarities between the two activities, but asking yourself where exactly that leaves you as far as putting the information into action.  A set of techniques or processes gets us only so far as the use cases they were developed for:  continuing to slavishly rely on them in circumstances they were not intended to address seems superstitious at best (using Dion Fortune's definition above), and potentially ineffectual or counterproductive at worst.  Nor does it help to understand what the tactics are unless you can also have some insight into where (and why) these can and should be applied.  With that in mind, I've been spending my time lately considering what a methodology would look like if we are to approach mag

On Magic and Hacking

We look hard We look through We look hard to see for real Sisters of Mercy, "Lucretia My Reflection" Inspired by my recent conversation with the delightful Erik Arneson , I decided to take some time and write up a more cohesive set of my thoughts on the interrelationship of magic and computer hacking. Prefatory note:  "Hacking" is a very broad term, which covers not only intrusion into computer systems, but also their defense, engineering, and an entirely vast array of non-computer-related tinkering, making, and puzzling.  Here, however, I'm talking specifically about the offensive side of hacking:  the approach to breaking into computers and networks. In my day job, I'm a professional computer hacker.  I work on an internal red team, which means that I'm paid by my employer to break into our own systems before criminal threat actors can do so, and serve as a sparring partner for our network defenders.  In recent years I've seen a great many parallel

Podcast Interviews, Part Three

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Erik Arneson , host of the outstanding Arnemancy podcast .  We had a delightful conversation on the relationship of magic and computer hacking, the esoteric uses of cryptography, and a great deal about the philosophical underpinnings of magic--including some of the big questions that arise when you begin to explore the nature of magic itself. Mercifully, we did not talk about the Kybalion. Big thanks to Erik for having me on the podcast! Listen now:  Anything but the Kybalion

Podcast Interviews, Part Two

 My friend Taylor Bell recently interviewed me for the Green Lion Podcast , in a two-part episode.  I always have great conversations with Taylor, and it was a lot of fun to record this one together.  We dig into the weeds of magic, Forteana, and all things weird and wonderful. Interview Part One Interview Part Two

Podcast Interviews, Part One

  Recently I had my first podcast interview, on Projeto Mayhem .  Watch as I get tag-teamed by Marcelo del Debbio and Andre Descrovi about the Kybalion, one of the most controversial texts in modern western occultism.  Thanks to both of them for having me on the show and for the thought-provoking questions!