Jan 14, 2016

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S Connoly Interview

English: Naos of Horus Temple in Edfu, Egypt M...

English: Naos of Horus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hello Everyone, 

Today we have with us a very special guest – S. Connolly author of over 30 books on the occult.

Her areas of study and practice over the years (since 1984) have included necromancy, divination, herbalism, LaVeyan Satanism, Wicca (she actually went through formal Gardnerian pre-initiate training and lied about her age to get in, but never went through with initiation because it wasn’t for her), Traditional Witchcraft, Traditional (Theistic) Satanism, Santeria, Thelema (no formal OTO involvement), Ceremonial Magick, Enochian Magick, Hermeticism, Khemeticism, Qabbalah, Rosicrucianism, Ancient Canaanite and Western Semitic practices, and Daemonolatry.

Thank you for your time today Ms. Connolly.

Q: You’ve done a lot for the occult world with your writings. I know of a lot of practitioners who use your reference material extensively (myself included). What some may not know, is that you also have written a wide selection of fiction as well. Tell me a bit these series.

I write a series of cozy occult mysteries as Audrey Brice (The Ordo Templi Serpentis Mysteries, or OTS for short) with a main character who is a Daemonolater and a supporting character who is a Satanist. I personally enjoyed some of the witchy mystery series available back before I started writing these books, like Juliet Blackwell’s Witchcraft Mysteries, and Madelyn Alt’s Bewitching Mysteries. My problem as a reader was that I didn’t really connect with those characters as much because they were just so “goody two-shoe”. So I decided that if I wanted a cozy series with LHP practitioners, there were likely other people out there who wanted the same thing. I also knew that if I wanted a series like that – I’d have to write it myself.  Oftentimes when I write something it’s because it’s a book I’d want to read. The series currently has three novels, one short story, and three novellas. The fourth novel, Ascending Darkness, is coming out in the next few months.

I’m also starting the Thirteen Covens saga (also as Audrey Brice), which is less cozy and more thriller. Still occult themed. It will start as a series of novellas that introduce the reader to each of the thirteen covens (Fourteen Tales of Thirteen Covens), and then there will be at least one novel (possibly more) in the series. The first story *A Rising Damp* is already available. *Temple Apophis* and *Lucifer’s Haven* will be released in the next few months.

I also write a sword and sorcery fantasy series called Sorcerer’s Twilight as S. J. Reisner. The third book there will be coming out in 2017. Or at least that’s the plan. I also have some short fiction and a romance novel (Saving Sarah May coming in March 2016) under this pen name.  I also write some paranormal erotica under my Anne O’Connell pen name. I have two Daemon themed series there. The Castle Sedgebrook series includes two novels at the moment with a third slated for 2017, and the Dalliance with Demons novella series begins with Temple of Lilith coming out in the next few months. So I write pretty extensively. I’m relatively prolific like that.

A lot of people seem surprised when they learn that I actually started out as a novelist long before I started writing non-fiction.

Q: A lot of the characters in your series are very familiar to those who follow some of the darker paths. Can you give us some examples of how some of the characters represent some of the primal powers?

Well, I actually associate my pen names to the elements far more than characters, but if I were to label them I’d say of my most popular characters, Elizabeth Tanner would be air because she’s kind of flighty and always thinking. Alyssa would be fire because she’s always so perky. Mike would be earth for always being stable. And Gabe would be water because he always seems to be the quiet one, injecting that little bit of wisdom as it’s needed.  

Q: More questions about fiction – did you want to discuss your upcoming book?  

I have a lot of fun novellas and novels releasing this year, so if you like fiction, definitely check out the OTS series.

Q: One of your thesis is that much of magick stems from Khemeticism. Can you give some examples on how these currents all come back to this source?

There are versions of the tree of life/Qliphoth in ancient Egypt. There are examples of what we now call Hermetic philosophy carved in Egyptian temple walls. For example, the axiom “Man know thyself and thou shalt know the gods”.  A lot of the hermetic axioms, As above, So below can be found, in some context, in Egyptian writings. Hermes studied in Egypt. And the Jews were slaves in Egypt – where do you think they derived some of their mysticism? It’s not inconceivable that Egyptian spirituality, magick and culture didn’t influence them. Some books I’d direct you to for further research include “Ma’at the 11 Laws of God” and “The Metu Neter” by Ra Un Nefer Amen. I’m also fond of Freke and Gandy’s The Hermetica: Lost Wisdom of the Pharoahs.

Symbol of the three Abrahamic religions.

Symbol of the three Abrahamic religions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Q: An issue facing many new practitioners in the arts is that they approach magick with too many preconceived notions. When you were first introduced to the occult, what were some of the notions you had to quickly discard to be successful?

I had to outright reject the black and white worldview that Abrahamic religions culturally force on us. That’s a hard thing to shed. I also had to drop that Judeo-Christian worldview that told me Daemons were the evil beasties in mythology. I now view Daemons as misunderstood and rather maligned intelligences. Sure, not all of them are “pretty” or “easy” to work with, and some may be rather harsh, but “evil” is subjective and “darkness” is only dark until you shed light on it. Then – not so dark.

Q: What would you define as the difference between a successful practitioner and a dabbler?

This depends if we’re talking spiritual practitioners or magicians. There’s a difference. Spiritual practitioners are only dabblers if they don’t draw their spirituality into their daily lives and don’t regularly partake in spiritual practices like prayer, offering, meditation.  Dabblers in spirituality and magick generally don’t stick with something for years and years, and if they do – they usually have nothing to show for it. So, when you meet the badass unemployed magician who can’t keep a girlfriend and is living in his mom’s basement – yeah – he’s a dabbler. But when you meet a magician who’s been doing it for 20+ years and he has a nice house, a wife, a couple kids, a stable life and things are going good for him – he’s likely a successful magician. Some people will tell you that only the real magicians have messed up lives. I don’t believe that. You can either manifest basic creature comforts for yourself or you can’t. If you can’t – you’re not doing it right.

Q: At what point did you know you moved from an initiate to an adept? What advice would you give to those initiates who are struggling with the great work?

Being adept in Daemonolatry means the initiate has reached a point in her spiritual path where she can begin guiding herself. It means that while you may still be learning, you no longer need a teacher to handhold you through every step of your personal spiritual evolution. It means you’ve taken hold of your own spirituality. I knew I’d reached that point when I stopped caring what other people thought of my spiritual path and my personal growth and realized it was none of their damn business. When I stopped seeking approval from other practitioners. Once you hit that point, you’re technically adept. Now an adept magician is another story entirely. Your magick either works 90% (or more) of the time or it doesn’t. If you haven’t reached that 90+% success rate, well… there you go.

Q: Why do you think there is a movement in the occult community to classify the work as black or white, light or dark, order or chaos?

Because most people need to put things in black and white boxes in order to conceptualize and wrap their heads around things. Nothing is black and white. There is order in chaos. Becoming comfortable with that is difficult for a lot of people. So until they become comfortable with blurring the lines and thinking outside those boxes, they’ll be prisoners to classifications. Of course classifications and terms like that do help most people stay on page with one another, too.

Q: Tell us a bit about your cats and how they are part of your practice.

I haven’t had a true familiar in years, but when I did, it was a cat. I’ve always loved cats. They’re very psychic and they always alert me when something is going on in the house I should know about. So I keep them in the house. My two new rescues enjoy hanging out in the temple with me and watching me work. They often watch the spirits come and go. They’re always a good indicator if I’ve been successful in invocation. Of course sometimes they can be a pain, too. If you’re trying to meditate and kitty decides she wants attention, nothing will keep that cat out of your lap or rubbing against your knees, elbows, and hands. It’s the nature of cats. This is why I started meditating in a closed room. But that aside – they’re great temple companions. I highly recommend cats as animal companions.

Q: Any closing thoughts?

If you’re interested in learning more about my fiction, or my non-fiction, I have a personal website at http://www.sjreisner.com/  There you can find my thoughts on many magickal topics and you can subscribe to my newsletter to get updates when new releases strike. I have so much coming in 2016 that it would be foolish for me to just promote a handful of things. Watch for my upcoming novel Ascending Darkness, some more Daemonolater’s Guide chapbooks and Daemonic Prosperity Magick. I may have random projects thrown in there too. It’s just how the creative muse works.

Thank you so much for the interview! It was a pleasure.

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