L.V.X VITAE

93!

Month: May, 2014

Mage: the Awakening

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I am in the midst of my creative and emotional breakthrough. Because I have spent so long thinking about a few specific ideas, I have quite a vast lake of pure idea. I need to change these ideas into actions. Think the Ace of Swords into the Ace of Wands.
     Last night, I had a tarot lesson that has already changed my life and the way that I will be reading the tarot for people in the future. I will expand on this in another post, as I think it deserves it.
     I have also realized that something I really really enjoy has been missing from my life- gaming. No, not video-gaming. I hate that shit, unless its with my gameboy, and even then I still really only enjoy a few games. These games are any Zelda, Pokemon, Trauma Center, and Animal Crossing, in case you were wondering. No, the kind of gaming I am talking about is the good, old fashioned table top role playing game. I begun with Dungeons & Dragons of course, but eventually progressed to White Wolf games, as they had a certain flavor that D&D didn’t have. D&D could have been anything I wanted it to be, but my immature mind couldn’t see past the usual hack and slash, dungeon diving chronicles that most people played. WW games were perfect for me- LOTS of reading, story, and awesome powers. The chronicles were character driven, not weapon stat driven. I played Vampire the Masquerade frequently throughout highschool and I knew that I wanted to play more WW World of Darkness games. By the way, don’t worry, I’ll include a short dictionary at the bottom for those who are benign to these acronyms.
     I have always wanted to play one of WW’s WOD games called Mage: the Ascension. The reason that I have never purchased a copy or played was that I had always heard it had a horribly broken rules system, and that it was very complicated. This actually drew me in more, but knowing the players in my group would never be able to understand or read that much, I let it go. Until now. I have had this feeling brewing inside of me for sometime now, and I really really really want to play Mage. I could of course settle for a cheaper game, or one that requires less reading, or one that more people know, but due to my circumstances, I think that Mage will fit perfectly into what I need right now. That’s what roleplaying is- a fun way to explore certain sides of yourself.
     The only problem to playing Mage is that there are a few different versions. I will try to explain this without getting too much into WW and the WOD, and all of their fucked up bullshit that goes along with it. The Old WOD had Mage: the Ascension. It came in first edition, second edition, and revised. When WW introduced the ‘end’ of that world, they revealed a whole new World of Darkness- and that is where Mage: the Awakening comes in. Therefore, my choice is between M:tAs 2nd Ed., M:tAs Revised, and M:tAw. I have been researching for days and I have decided that the newest of them, M:tAw is the perfect fit. There has recently been a kickstart fund raising program for what is called M20, or Mage: 20th Anniversary Edition. When this editions arrives it will obviously be my first choice, as it will have updated rules and setting, and in essence take the best from both worlds. However, I don’t want to wait what could be over a year for this to become available- its in the early stages of development. Even though the book is completely written, they haven’t commissioned artwork or begun working on layout at all. Therefore, I have decided to go for Mage: the Awakening.
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One of the deciding factors for me was the fact that the books, even though a bit more expensive- are easier to find, and I have found a torrent file that has almost every single M:tAw book in existence. The books are also available from DriveThruRPG.com, making them extremely easy to find. I also have a decent laser printer that I can provide a few table copies of the core rulebook. I think for myself that I will begin by purchasing physical copies of these two books and then after reading the PDF’s of some of the more highly acclaimed supplement books, decide if its worth it to either hunt them down on Amazon or eBay, or have them printed through the POD services over at DriveThruRPG.com.
Another huge factor for picking The Awakening was that it had a tarot deck made for it, which is now extremely rare and out of print, and it was complete and workable. By this, I mean that it had 78 cards, and that it could function as an actual tarot deck. This meant that whomever commissioned the deck, likely one of the head writers or even the producer himself, had a good amount of knowledge on the tarot. This, to me, means that they had more ‘real’ magic in them than the original writers. Also, because of M:tAs focus on techno-magic and Matrixy plot lines, it felt a lot more cyberpunky and thought up, whereas M:tAw draws much information from real magick. I use the words magic and magick differently. Magic is illusion. It is fake, fun, whimsical, but most of all, not real. Magick however is used to denote real world magick- ceremonial or even shamanic in nature. The fact that M:tAw has a book called “Keys to the Supernal Tarot” also shows that the writers were very inventive in mixing the real world with the game. Below is a picture of an ad for that book:
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From this image you can see that it uses the 22 major arcana as a way to run a chronicle. This is really enjoyable for me. Fortunatley, this book isn’t rare and I already have the PDF for it. Whats great about the PDF library is that many of the books only have one or two good chapters. This way I neither have to pay for books with only a sliver of good material, but I also don’t have to lug around or keep the books around. This is important because RPG books are BIG and heavy and bulky. the M:tAw core rulebook is over 400 pages long, and its almost A4 sized! Below is a picture of the cover of the corebook:
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The tagline for Mage: the Awakening is “A Storytelling Game of Modern Sorcery” and features the pentagram over a picture of a broken stele, tablet, or talisman from Atlantis- one of the concepts of the game I am not very familiar with as of yet. As you can tell, I’ve done some research and I am happy to finally make a decision on which game to choose. I should also remember my own plans to purchase and play M20 when it arrives on the scene in print for a few reasons: it is going to be quite expensive. I’d imagine around $60. This way I wont spend that much money on M:tAw.
If you have any questions or are interested in playing, please feel free to contact me at: fratergrant@gmail.com or visit Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. I am in the cafe everyday except Wednesday and Thursday, from 1 to 9 PM. Now, I must get to reading my core rulebook. I will close with a few images of sigils and art from the game, as well as the promised dictionary of acronyms.Good evening, and as always, 93!
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WW- White Wolf. The publisher of WOD games
WOD- World of Darkness
D&D- Dungeons and Dragons
nMage- Mage: the Awakening
M:tAw- Mage: the Awakening
oMage- Mage: the Ascension
M:tAs- Mage: the Ascension
M20- Mage 20th Anniversary Edition

Tarotfied- Laying a Few Cards for a Work-Related Situation- The Thoth and Original Rider Waite Smith

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    This reading was done in order to more firmly grasp the situation I am having at work while here at Omega. Due to sensitive nature of this, I won’t be discussing my thoughts as to how this situation effects those around me in any sort of negative way, and no names will be named.

     The Two of Swords begins the reading by saying hey now, I am the Moon in Libra. There is a call to Venus though in the colors of the Thoth cards, alluding to friendships and relationships. The card states that the time for fighting has ended, and we must be in an alliance with each other in order to accomplish anything. It also means that the time for rest is up, that is in the past. We must move forward, and the circumstances in which to do so are favorable.

     The Six of Swords, Science, brings us the heart of the situation, the matter at hand, what should be done NOW. It states that our brains hold the key- that we can work this out and create something really worthwhile. The Rider Waite Smith deck focuses on the journey and transmission aspect of the card- that learning and developing solutions to problems is a journey, if only of the mind. I find that this is very true in this situation. We have all found that we have nothing but love for one another, and we should use our minds and figure out the best way to do things. We should also have a lot of communication, as indicated by the Swords/ Air energy of the short spread. The fact that Science is well-dignified means that the emphasis of this card cannot be understated. There is a journey, a next step that must be taken in order for things to be achieved.

     The end of the reading shows us the fierce and  honorable Knight of Wands/ King of Wands. His extremely potent energy is felt here, showing the qualities that must be employed in order to make the change, as well as the qualities that will be strengthened by making the change. It could also mean that a creative force should be entering the situation soon- it could be an actual person (we have part timers coming on Monday) or it could relate to a new attitude and paradigm that someone involved will be taking on.

     I feel that the overall energy of the reading is very smart, positive, and logical. I find that the tarot always speaks to me in ways that I really have an easy time understand and assimilating the messages. I think that I will be sharing this reading with my coworkers in order to express that our level of communications must stay extremely potent as well as our focus and problem solving abilities. We should also be remembering that this is a time of transition, a time of change for the mind. We are all learning. In the end, we will be as bright as fire, and as hot with a passion as the embers below it.

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Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

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nbsp;                Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

     Greetings and 93!
     I have felt very uneasy about posting anything about my experience until now. I am officially on staff at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. I am working in the Cafe as a cook, and I am a member of the Peace Guild, which will be starting June 4th. The time here so far has been quite interesting, yet because it is so interesting I have had a hard time coming to terms with actually posting anything about it. It has been said that this place has a certain energy, and those that say this are correct. This energy is magickal and beautiful, and I wanted to make sure that by writing something about the experiences that it wouldn’t taint them, or destroy their occult nature in some way.
     The fashion of learning comes in many ways. Mostly classes and discussions have been the core of my learning, but work provides many opportunities as well. My first look into what Omega was all about was a Shamanic Journey into the abyss of the subtle energy fields of our minds and what surrounds us physically. Shamanism is much about nature and its teaching, and it allows us to experience nature in our minds. It allows us to more fully explore our divinity through communication with divinity, or the Source. This Source I speak of can be modified for those of any spiritual path or religion. I expect most of those who are reading this blog to be fairly involved and decided in what pantheon and paradigm you choose to operate in.
     The Shaman decided that he would begin to drum, and we would enter our reveries and begin to enter the Astral Realm. This realm is of the mind- it does not exist in space as we know it, yet it seems to overlay that space, having only minor properties of the ‘original’ reality, or that reality which we operate in day to day life. I began to drift upward, and I found myself in a large field, and in the middle of the field was a giant tree. I immediately felt a connection to this tree. I found myself in love with this tree, in pure awe and appreciation of its existence. I then realized that I actually was the tree. I felt the energy fields of my body begin to radiate around me, and I felt my existence and physical form grow to encompass the large branches and leaves, as well as the inexplicable root system below. The roots below me began pulsing with energy, consuming raw matter and converting it to a format easy for my soul to digest. I was filled with this divine light of energy plant food- I was high as fuck to be honest. This kind of energy has a way of lifting you so high that when you are let back down, all you want to do is ascend again and again, higher and higher.
     The drumming did stop. The Shaman informed us that he had been drumming for 8 minutes, yet it felt like only a second that I was able to fully realized the energy structure of my tree being-ness. This one second of full realization was all I needed to be sold on the ways of riding the drum- a term used in shamanism to understand the feeling of ascending with a beat, almost about or on the beat. He began again, this time with the intention of finding an animal, or an animal spirit to cling to. This was our chance to find an animal that we could speak with and be with and love, and it could also serve as a message to us in real life. This means that if our spirit animal is a hummingbird, that we might feel an even greater connection with a hummingbird in the physical world. It might show us the way or even remind us to look inward as well as outward for answers, and whenever you see the hummingbird images are instantly conjured of your shamanic journeys, and it should ground, center, and inspire you. Therefore, finding a spirit animal is important work beginning in shamanism.
     The reverie was much easier to assume this time, as the energy I had felt within the Astral was still pulsing through me. I entered the same sort of area that I was at in the first reverie, yet it was much darker this time. Not necessarily in light, but in the feel of the world, and the beings that inhabited it. This was a world that was full of powerful beings and it was demanding respect from every entity within it. I could almost feel the presence of other human consciousnesses within the sphere, once again feeling that the space exist as an overlap of our mortal coil. I began to move through the area, controlling my surroundings by pushing my own consciousness further into the Astral Realm. Visions began to take over, and I saw my own physical body erupting with snakes, becoming snakes. As my fingers and forearms began to turn to the heads of a purple black serpent, they helixed up my arms and onto my shoulders, and then again in this cyclical nature down my spine. As their heads hit this bottom area of my chakras, they bursted forth in two white hot beams of light, again spiraling up my spine, once again turning into the serpents head, only it was almost as large as my own, dominating most of my body, and it poked its head through the top of mine, and I, my consciousness as the serpent, spiraled into light, nothingness, and the macrocosm as energy together. I had pierced into something, and I couldn’t really contain my enthusiasm. I was completely blissed out, in divine trance. This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to come from such a simple journey, but not only had I found my spirit animal, but it itself had empowered me with its blessing, its properties and energy. I really felt compelled to perform ritual magick, and so when this journey ended, I politely excused myself from the class. I needed to ride the waves, and I performed Liber Resh and Star Ruby on repeat, followed by some vibrations of god names and mantra. Breath was controlled at all times. I’m not sure whether to share such information here or not…
This was a beautiful journey, and I am truly thankful for being in a place that has allowed me to take such journeys, but this was only the story of one. I have had many experiences since then, and I shall save them for another time.

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