This year has seen a lot of changes for this website. When I launched the Arnemancy Podcast in June, I also gave myself my first reading with Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot deck. I attempt to interpret it in that podcast episode, and it’s worth a listen. However, now that it’s been a few months and I’ve heard some feedback about that reading, it’s time to revisit my interpretation.
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S01E07 Bruno, Machiavelli, and Savonarola with Scott Gosnell

 
 
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Scott Gosnell joins me for an amazing conversation about Giordano Bruno‘s work, in particular On Magic and Thirty Statues, which he just finished translating and publishing. Our conversation dives into Bruno’s art of binding and his suggestions on how to bind entire cities. We also get into the crazy world of the Florentine Renaissance and explore the stories of Savonarola and Machiavelli.

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Featured Card: Two of Cups

Among the twos, the Two of Cups is my favorite. My preference for this card probably comes from its amazing depiction in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, which portrays a man and a woman staring into each other’s eyes. Meanwhile, a freakin’ massive winged lion head atop a caduceus seemingly sprouts from their clinking cups. This card has a certain ease to its appeal. You can look at it quickly and just think, “Oh, there are two people.” It’s after a few moments that the eyes boggle and the mind begins to rebel at the crazy combination of symbolism exploding out of this card.
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S01E06 Tarot and the Art of Memory
Solo Episodes

 
 
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Welcome to the first Arnemancy Podcast solo show! In this episode, I talk about how to use Giordano Bruno’s table method to memorize the Tarot’s Minor Arcana pip cards. This mnemonic method can be a very effective method for not only recalling card meanings, but to understand the relationships between the cards.

Here are some of my past blog posts about Tarot and the Art of Memory:

Learn more about my first live podcast recording on Friday, September 13th, with Coleman Stevenson of the Dark Exact!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
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Guest Appearance: Butterflies and Incantations Episode 6
Guest Appearances

 
 
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Vanessa invited me to be a guest on her podcast, Butterflies and Incantations! We had a talk about magical practice, current projects, strange philosophies, and other fun stuff. Here’s part of her show notes:

Vanessa and Erik have a fun little conversation about magick, crafting, tech magic, astrological talismans and other such things. Plus we get interrupted by JESUS! Plus a surprise bigfoot!

Be sure to check out the original here! Also, go back and check out my interview with Vanessa on My Alchemical Bromance.

S01E05 Astrological Aspects with Ryhan Butler

 
 
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Astrologer Ryhan Butler joins me on the podcast for a discussion of raising cats aspects in astrology. Aspects are the angles that planets make across the sky, and they define the relationships between planets at any given moment. They have a long and fascinating history, so in our conversation Ryhan leads us through the story of aspects and how they came to be.

Our discussion covers ancient Greek optical theories and looks at competing concepts around the doctrine of aspects before we come back around into the philosophy of magic. One topic we discuss is the Thema Mundi, and here’s a picture of it, which you might need to look at during this episode!

The Thema Mundi

For more on this topic, check out Ryhan’s helpful Twitter thread here:

(View the unrolled version here.)

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And if you’re in Portland on Friday, September 13th, come to my very first live podcast recording!

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Classical astrology pays a lot of attention to the houses, which are fixed portions of the ecliptic tied to the horizon. In addition to the signs and planets in each house, houses are interpreted according to the triplicity rulers of the house’s occupying sign. The topics associated with these rulers are known as the house triplicities.

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Guest Appearance: Alexxcast 324 – A New Book!
Guest Appearances

 
 
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I was a guest host on episode 324 of the Alexxcast, which was exciting because it was an announcement of the release of Alexx Bollen’s new book, The Theravada Machine and Other Stories.

Here’s Alexx’s description:

Tonight Alexx has Erik Arneson in studio to keep him on topic. That topic? Alexx’s new book, “The Theravada Machine and Other Stories“. Available on Amazon!

Enjoy! Follow this link to view this episode on the Alexxcast website.

S01E04 – The Disruption Generator with Eric Millar

 
 
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There really is no Eric Conspiracy. It’s always been a myth. But in this episode, Eric Millar and I (Erik Arneson) meet up at COFFEE BEER in Southeast Portland to discuss The Disruption Generator and Eric’s other work. Eric is an author, writer, and publisher — the brains and brawn behind Outlet Press.

We use the Disruption Generator to read for the Arnemancy Podcast, and the results are … well, troubling. Let’s hope we don’t actually end up where it predicts! Eric tries to spin it better!

Also, an announcement: the first Arnemancy Podcast live recording is happening at Rose City Book Pub on Friday, September 13th! Click this link to sign up for updates and more details on the event!

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Secret Societies in AmericaSecret Societies in America: Foundational Studies of Fraternalism
Edited by William D. Moore and Mark A. Tabbert
Cornerstone Book Publishers, 2011
294 pages
Paperback $24.95, ISBN 978-1-61342-024-9

The magnitude with which fraternal organizations influenced American society and history is something that we hear a lot about through conspiracies, but not enough about from main-stream historians. It turns out that these organizations – including the Freemasons, Oddfellows, and other familiar names – are an integral part of the story of the United States of America. This book, Secret Societies in America: Foundational Studies of Fraternalism, is a collection of remarkable essays and studies that showcases this influence. Published from the 1890s through the middle of the 20th century, they illustrate not only that enormous influence but the changes that occurred within American fraternalism which may have contributed to its waning popularity.

Reading the articles in this book, I was surprised that I’d never been exposed to any of this material before. These articles are the original source of many claims about numbers, statistics, and basic information claimed by many modern secret societies. They paint a fascinating picture of fraternities and their place in American society in the 19th and 20th centuries. The articles range in style from sensational journalism to dry sociology and cover a variety of topics.

Changing Attitudes in Fraternalism

Many articles approach fraternal history from unexpected angles, presenting influences in our society that are almost entirely unrepresented today. For instance, there is a great deal of material about how the life insurance industry worked and developed in the 19th century, and how it tied into the fraternal boom.

Milton Lehman reported in 1949 that one well-known saying of Freemasonry was, “It’s an inborn instinct to belong to a secret society.” This is an attitude which has disappeared in the modern world. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse of how fraternal organizations were considered such an integral part of the American way of life.

Is Freemasonry a Secret Society?

The phrase “secret society” carries sinister undertones today, but was once the go-to phrase to describe a fraternal order. The oldest articles in this collection, written before 1910, use it to describe all sorts of fraternal orders. Learning about the evolution of the term makes the worn-out trope of the Freemasons sound obnoxious: “Freemasonry is not a secret society. It is a society with secrets.” In fact, Freemasonry is indeed a secret society, it’s just that “secret society” hasn’t always meant the same thing.

Anti-fraternal author J.M. Foster in 1898 wrote “[…] it is safe to say that in all there are fully 6,000,000 persons in this country held in the coils of Secretism.” He also states that membership in fraternal orders was growing at an astounding rate of 300,000 per year. Many of the earlier articles use the term “joiner” to indicate people who became members of secret societies. It wasn’t a derogatory term. In fact, at one point, 40% of the adult population of the United States belonged to at least one secret society. The numbers are sometimes surprising: In 1911, the Oddfellows were the largest fraternity in terms of membership.

Conclusion: This is a Good Book

I really enjoyed this book. The one article I had difficulty with was “The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies” by Georg Simmel, a German sociologist. It was too dense and verbose, the language too clumsy. I’m not sure if this is the fault of Simmel or because of the translation.

In conclusion, if you are interested in the history of Freemasonry and its place in society, you will find this book invaluable. If you are a conspiracy theorist, you will find the information in this book valuable, as well. Hopefully it can help enrich your understanding of history and the role fraternal societies have played throughout the unfolding tale of the United States.

An earlier version of this review was published in Vol. 66, №2 (Spring 2013) of Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters.
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