key doctrinal differences at the abrahadabra institute

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this article is co-authored by m1thr0s and Izi Ningishzidda

The fact has been made clear since the beginning that The Abrahadabra Institute distances itself from many other schools of magick and ritual in the Western and Eastern Mystery traditions. The entirety of the Western Mystery tradition is in a state of disrepair, especially with regards to the Hermetic Orders and Alchemy.               While this is clear to most, what is not so clear is the often stark contrast in ideas and doctrines that set us fundamentally and forever apart from the thinking of other schools of occult thought. What follows are a few of these differences which may help our contemporaries come to an understanding of the importance of separation from other schools. 

Rejection of  Arbitrary Revisionism, Even if It’s Old

The Abrahadabra Institute involves itself in syncretic study of world occult topics. Our work relies on the saying attributed to m1thr0s, Magister Ouroboros 729 that “Revisionism is the Bane of Syncretism” and we apply this broadly and much further into the past than most, rejecting  altered godform lineages that deviate too far from their most ancient origins for unsound reasons. These changes are usually ones based on the historical, even contemporary, politics, or they are merely good-natured attempts to tie up “loose ends” in a roughshod manner, as allowed for at the time. An example of this would be the early forays into Egyptology by Budge, or the earliest Ancient Near East researchers who with well-meaning intentions, committed some inevitable errors which became popularized.
       There are also a plethora of websites based on information that we know to be suspect, dubious scholars like Zetcharin Sitchin who was pressing an “Ancient Aliens” agenda to the detriment of Ufology everywhere. The public copies this information naively and creates websites which disseminate the information from these bad Academic papers. This isn’t as common as the well-intentioned website owner who creates a mythology website and sources from the fictional creations of others who present their findings as fact.  We in fact had this problem here on Abrahadabra.com when sourcing information for the extremely obscure, but fundamentally crucial godform Ningishzida. About a decade later after countless hours of research it was apparent that everything we knew and had online pertaining to the God was wrong, some of it by a little, others by quite a lot. 
       Many these attempts to transmit information may be well-intentioned but all too often they are just shortsighted and downright lazy, with individuals trampling right over the sacred mysteries which are beyond the understanding of those with average intelligence.  Most of our research into correspondences look only to the most ancient origins of the godforms. “Horus” or Hrw (Heru) predates the Osiris cult by over six centuries, and belongs to a class of deity colloquially known as “elder gods” to use American occulture terminology. This special status, only of interest to occultists, is otherwise undefined by most scholarly archaeological texts, but the professionals do analyze major shifts in the mythologies to our benefit.  
       The Abrahadabra Institute refers to the most ancient deities as “primordials”. Qualifications for belonging to this class of deity require that the mythology be rooted in prehistory, and that the form has special traits and qualities predating any politically motivated mythologies (for example cthonic underworld queen Ereshkigal before her “marriage” to Nergal signifying the war god’s new status from Akkadian to Sumero-Akkadian figure.) Sometimes the new links are correct, especially where mankind’s understanding of science reaches new heights, so that we may make a connection between Ra and nuclear energy, or Hephaestus and computer technology for example. 
      Not all neo-mythology is discarded, but in the end it does need to be analyzed for mistakes and inconsistencies if the attributes and ideas are to be useful at all in ritual alchemical projection and the very refined conditions of consciousness Mutational Alchemists should work under. If one has not worked with the high powered invocations possible with our mirrors, it is difficult to explain to the neophyte or journeyman occultist just how serious we view all of this. The trappings of Man’s ill-founded imaginings all too often lend no strength to these most primordial forms representing forces of nature, forces of our own consciousness. More often they will just add up to bad alchemy.  An incorrect godform can and will lead to failure, and in some cases prove to be quite dangerous to the health of the mind and body. 
      With the Osiris-Isis-Horus myth we have a latter day revised edition of the young energy of Ra, and a tale of betrayal of the Master Ra as insulting and damning as the Marduk-Tiamat tripe that came out of Babylon and its priests mucking about with the far more ancient Sumerian pantheon. (The murder myth which depicts the thug butcher Marduk as a heroic conquerer of the Great Dragon Empress of the Oceans radically reformed the terrain of the ancient Sumerian religion thousands of years after the original. Contrived, shallow, and useless, the purpose of this revisionism is foolish pride and shallow thinking bent on taking something one does not understand for false purposes using cultural appropriation.)  
      The fact that Babylon and latter-day Egypt are now ancient by today’s standards changes nothing, a falsehood will always snag in Mutational Alchemy practice, it is for this reason every mirror we produce must be perfect down to the last pixel. The velocity at which we run these tools can lead to disaster even over a short period of time due to the unpredictability in the system. Mutational Alchemy demands perfection of everything and everyone, with no exceptions.
      Relatively new deities, dating back to the late Old Kingdom of Egypt 5th Dynasty, Isis and Osiris simply do not exist for The Abrahadabra Institute. The moping morbid scene of Isis trying to put her dickless frankenstein lover back together is inelegant and ill-formed, not worthy of any mystery school The Abrahadabra Institute would attach itself to. The adoration of suffering and grief is especially inconsistent with Mutational Alchemy thought, for this same reason Catholicism is almost entirely rejected, save for those elements filial to the Mithraic religion it bastardized. It is this very factor of similarity to suffering-worshiping religions however that has made the mythos so attractive to ex-Christians seeking an “alternative” Mary and Jesus scenario to satisfy their diseased minds. 
      Isis and Osiris may exist as egregores in the minds of many people but that is none of our concern. Heru Behdety, or the Behutet, the winged disc that vibrates with the pulse of a million lightning storms a second, this is our Ra Hoor Khut. Son of Ra, the ancient old emperor who remains untouched by the silly tribalist fairytales of unfilial ancient Egyptians who placed him at the mercy of the “treacherous woman, eternally weeping bovine” cartoon character that is Isis. The Kemetic obsession with dead bodies to the exclusion of much else is most unhelpful and would certainly have assisted in their eventual fall from power. Today the historically xenophobic Egyptian people have been reduced to a tiny persecuted minority barely connected to their ancient heritage in a country overwhelmingly inhabited by descendants of Arabs and Bedouins. 
      For goddesses we have Sekhmet, consort of the far more ancient and venerable Ptah, and excellent alternative current to Kali ma, another deity who predates her upstart interloper consort shallowly shovelled in next to her today. (Siva). It seems that even in the ancient world, great ideas were quickly trampled on by useless mediocrity profaning and overshadowing the great minds with their shallow and brash idiocy. 

Mutational Alchemy, Not Your Mother’s Trad

There is no other meditation process on earth quite like Mutational Alchemy. A hybrid between the art of Budo, Yoga, Pythagoreanism, Taoism, Kabbalah, Tetragrammaton and Western Magick, it can only be described by completely overturning the average student’s ideas about magick and meditation, and slowly tweaking their programming towards a more logical, streamlined and martial thought process. We refer to this process as “hacking away the inessentials” and it is a wisdom path known to the Chinese Taoists. The goal of our work is empowerment, protection, higher intelligence, serenity and strength in mind and body. Furthermore Mutational Alchemy is not a demanding practice. The rituals can be done anywhere at any time, in a hospital, in prison or at work, quickly and efficiently. Yet it can take decades to fully master these meditations. Aleister Crowley stated that another would come along who would completely redefine meditation as the world understood it, and it is our belief at The Abrahadabra Institute that the nearest and closest approximation to this is m1thr0s’s Mutational Alchemy, as a hybrid branch of Hermetic Alchemy. Everything we do is very far removed from all of the other mystery schools both active and extinct in the world today. It meets all of the criteria for the proper meditational practice of the next evolutionary branch of humans, humans that might live in deep space and master the ever more complex world of technology we live in. These are what we like to call Praeter Humans or Homo astralis or “Man of the Stars”

Aligned with the West and The Enlightenment

Unlike many schools The Abrahadabra Institute is not aligned with Eastern ideas. We utilize ancient Chinese thought but with discretion and a strong distaste for anti-individualism and the aversion to analytical thinking that broke Taoism and opened the floodgates to those who betrayed The Dragon. Western thinking as it was born and fostered in Athens and as it sustained a strong unyielding thread of hope for the individual and individual rights up until the very founding of America is what we base our political alignment on. As an American occult organization we are opposed to the way of life and the value system of the East  as it is defined and promoted generally: brute tribalism that embraced communism, “sacred cows”, taboos, traditionalism and so forth. This places us at odds with many in the occult who value these methods and romanticized ways of living in the occult, including many famous authors. We soundly reject the racist and collectivist ideas of Blavatsky, the anti-Western fundamentals of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, while “tearing out their flesh” as commanded by Ra Hoor Khut; that is, stealing the best parts of each for our own more rigorous devices.
      We reject these schools especially where they oppress action and initiative, or self-responsibility. Many New Age and Occult schools promote the idea of killing the Ego, sacrificing one’s self to the “Universal Will” (in order to attain some kind of enlightenment) or various kinds of submission to a “higher power”. At The Abrahadabra Institute we believe that the higher power is consciousness itself, and Man is destined to take its reigns, directing his or her own destiny, rather than succumbing to random and thoughtless whimsy pushing from unknown and unseen sources. This is why it seems that The Abrahadabra Institute often aligns with sinister paths such as the Satanic orders, but we are not of them.  Science and technology are both extremely important to us of course, and we do not align with the back-to-nature extremism of some primitivists within the occult. 
      Bhakti Yoga, or worship of the godforms, does have its place in the practice of some members work, but consistently the intelligences behind the mirrors we have and work with command individuals to strive, achieve and struggle towards victory and Completion. With the axiom There is No God But Man we have no conflict with any invocation, evocation or ritual worship practice, in fact this empowers us to fully embrace the possibilities of union with our own birthright, awareness of the wider network of consciousness. 
      The sacred law of Thelema is also held in esteem by us, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, love is the law, love under will” a commandment to value Liberty, individual rights and rational thought over emotional thinking, the very pillars of The Enlightenment.
Our goals are still quite similar to other orders and schools. We believe in enlightenment and its unfolding along our path, and we believe in the idea of Man achieving Completion. The Great Work is the fundamental driving force behind our efforts, and there are those among us who work with Eastern ideas. Overarching all of this however is a commitment to Western values and Western thinking. This is what will forever define us and set us apart from the Eastern orders. 

A Hybrid Branch of Original Hermetic Alchemy, Pythagoreanism and Aristotlean philosophy

It cannot be overstated that Mutational Alchemy is a Hermetic discipline, and in the most ancient sense of the word. We have little to nothing in common with the hybrid branch of Hermetic Gnosticism which arose with the Christian churches, instead the ideas we have can be traced to “true” Hermeticism, the worship and adoration of Hermes as personification of God-made-flesh. The ancient Greeks understood that Man perfected was Hermes, furthermore that the Gods themselves were  inferior to Man, there only to act as servants to the much more powerful magician. (The Egyptian Hermes, Garth Fowden pg 79) Our advice with most of the Gods is to destroy them if they displease you, as according to our doctrine that is the only way to access the purest and truest forms of deity. In other words, nothing real will care or be bothered if you destroy it. This runs awry of many modern pagan doctrines, but it is completely adherent to original Hermeticism in its purest form. It may be our embrace of entheogens that is the difference, as all of the ancient religious practices, pagan and monotheistic incorporated soma of one kind or another.
      Alchemy was one of the few disciplines to mostly escape Christian contamination from the Gnostic sects of Hermeticism, and one could even say it benefited from finding religion completely useless to its designs because of the tyrannical restrictions placed upon individual rights by the wholly evil Church. The Enlightenment, especially by the hand of the Scandinavian Protestants purged the heretical Catholics, but by itself it could not repair the damages done to Hermeticism through its marriage to Christianity and other co-opted traditions. However, the Age of Enlightenment eventually resulted and culminated in the events leading to the founding of America, the dawn of modern science and other triumphs of Western Civilization. This is where one can find the line in the sand, in the war between the two great meta factions of thinking in every sphere in our world. They have arisen in other areas of the world under different names and banners, (especially in Taoist China which succumbed to all but utter destruction for very similar reasons, constituting an inward betrayal of its own principles due to its scholar’s gradual aversion to analytical thinking) but nowhere were they so clearly outlined as in battlefield Europe. Essentially in the human and political sphere it is a choice between individual rights and the rights of the collective. (This was later very well outlined and identified clearly by the American philosopher Ayn Rand, who described her wyrd in one sentence “ “Metaphysics—objective reality. Epistemology—reason. Ethics—self-interest. Politics—capitalism”, but anyone interested in the philosophy behind the original Greek Hermeticism without all of the Christian (Eastern) contamination, as well as a modern facelift should read through her work for a complete understanding) It is true these ideas cannot very well be tied directly to ancient original Hermeticism alone, but the seeds of the ideas are rooted directly in ancient Greek thought through multiple individuals, chiefly Aristotle and Pythagoras. Somewhat ironically, an example of what happens when going in the opposite direction of Neolithic style government which survived in ancient Greek thought can be found in modern Greece today, which is a socialist, anti-individualistic disaster born on the crest of Christian thought. If not for the Arabs in fact, Aristotle’s works may have been completely lost, proof that one should never take reason and enlightenment for granted wherever it sprouts up. (to be fair, Greece suffered the most under the evils of the Crusades, and the bitter hatred of Christianity that was sparked could only fully catch fire in America, the first country founded on moral principles of freedom and individual rights. The lineage between ancient Greek thinking and modern Greek thinking was almost completely severed within Greece herself, and this is evidenced by the rate of successful assimilation into the Christian church within the Greek population, which formerly prided itself on more sophisticated concepts.)

We’re Not Defanging the Book of the Law

Most modern Thelemites try to make the Book of the Law, in particular, the third chapter, out to be figurative instead of literal. The idea that Ra Hoor Khut is spreading an ideology of peace and love is quite contrary to The Abrahadabra Institute’s position on it.  The chapter starts off on line three: “Now let it be first understood that I am a god of War and of Vengeance. I shall deal hardly with them.”  Ra Hoor Khut is unique in that he represents both Mars and Jupiter. He is the twin god, Hoor Paar Kraat, his second half. It is all a part of his continuous reign. Mars and Jupiter form two parts of the most ancient version of the Capitoline Triad, called the Archaic Triad. In the book, “The Victorious City” obviously points to Rome (although a few have argued London, which isn’t wrong, it’s just one of the many double-meanings strewn throughout LAVL) so this is an important factor that cannot be ignored. 
      The Abrahadabra Institute anticipates the future to be fundamentally warlike in scope.  Historically speaking, really significant change has never come easy. It has almost always been preceded by a prolonged period of strife and conflict. The writing is on the wall today, suggesting the same type of change as we are discussing here. There seem to be a number of people who want to argue otherwise, and who want to paint a picture of love and harmony preceding revolutionary transformation, but historically there is no basis for this kind of transition. Thus, when Ra Hoor Khut specifies War and Vengeance we have every good reason to suppose that he means exactly what he says, and is not alluding to some lovey-dovey change of minds and hearts that just miraculously occurs as precedent. This way of thinking is dangerous. If the enemy can convince us that some deus ex machina is coming to save us, then we have missed the entire point of the Book of the Law. At the same time the change will be forced in one way or another, but those who do not heed the call are going to be left out. Had has something to say about this:

  1. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.
  2. I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. «Come unto me» is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

Everyone knows what’s going on, and those who pretend not to are pretending. The Abrahadabra Institute is reality based – it’s a reality based organization. It does not pretend to futures that sound wonderful but cannot possibly occur. When Ra Hoor Khut says he is a god of War and Vengeance, whose time has come, then we should should expect exactly that from him. Not that we can’t win, but we can’t win shit with fluffy daydreams or the fanciful chasing of clouds. 

 

nvidia’s new 1080 occult site

Nvidia has come out with an innovative and fascinating to way to promote their new 1080 GPU (which looks incredible by the way) on their new site Orderof10.com and focuses on the number “10” since the previous series have been the 780, 980 etc. Take a look at this gorgeous tetractys among other cool and interesting diagrams, a kamea of Sol, and an 8-sided mock magick triangle  for the first two challenges featuring figures from the history of math, science and architecture. The rest of the challenges will be unlocked in the days to come leading up to the 1080’s release). This follows on the heels of a rash of occult symbology in popular media and website interfaces including the US Army’s elegant Cryptaris website.

 

Good for Nvidia, this is some very innovative marketing and they should win a prize of some kind. :P

hexatet

hilbertmagicksquare

8gridtriangle

Pair striking images like these with the newly announced today Civilization 6 and its Atlas painting and his lap full of white fertility juice and we might have an occult revival happening on our hands, finally. Yes, I know it’s a waterfall, but anyone who knows anything about ancient shamanistic rights knows about the connection between the male sky gods and water.

CivilizationVI_19_6x48__Billboard.0

 

aleister crowleys remains stolen

It’s been a terrible year for Thelemites, first Boleskine, his legendary manor house on Loch Ness has burned to the ground, the Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu is being sold and is in ruins and now Crowley’s grave has been sacrileged apparently.

The Clovelly Inquirer newpaper reported last week that the remains of Aleister Crowley have been stolen. The article states:

“Aleister Crowley, the famous mountaineer’s grave was disturbed on Friday.  The cemetary attendant was performing his nightly rounds when he noticed a large pit about “six feet across” and recalled to our reporters that the sides of the pit were “extremely smooth, like it had been carved out with a giant cylinder bit.” Authorities are asking anyone with any information on the identity of the thieves to please contact the Clovelly Constabulary at +44(0) 1237 431256.

Link: http://www.clovelly.co.uk/news/aleister-crowley-graverobbing

Whether the job was done as a prank or for some other purpose remains to be seen. The activity has attracted the attention of tourists since the theft was discovered late last week. The cylindrical walls of the pit are a mystery, since Clovelly is a small village and a machine large enough to dig the pit in such a short time would have to be shipped in by sea according to the local architect Edward Neilson – the only ground access into the small historical fishing town is by donkey.

The town today is considered a low crime area and has no history of graverobbing. However, an 18th century book entitled The History of John Gregg and his Family of Robbers and Murderers explains that “Chovaley” (i.e. Clovelly) was once the home of a tribe of cannibalistic bandits. It is alleged that Gregg and his extended family of dozens were eventually tracked down by bloodhounds and were burnt alive in three fires. They were said to have lived in “a cave near the sea-side” and had committed some 1,000 murders. A stretch of Clovelly Bay is called “the Devil’s Kitchen” which is possibly the reason why Aleister Crowley demanded that he be buried there instead of simply having his ashes strewn under a tree.

 

subreddit for occult business launched r/occultbusiness

https://www.reddit.com/r/occultbusiness/ is a new subreddit dealing with topics of interest to people who own or want to own an occult business. 

The dream of working in the field that one loves is far-fetched for some but it may not be as difficult as you believe. 

Artisans, artists, retailers, traders, publishers, writers, collectors, healers and performers of the business pursuasion are encouraged to join and spark a discussion! Get help with your occult oriented business or give advice from your own experience. 

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how to get your tarot published

After showcasing our timeline album over at IMGUR of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot a few people asked me to cover the publishing process from start to finish. I’ve seen a few Kickstarter projects asking for absurd amounts of money for low runs so in my opinion transparency is a good thing here. 

Publishing a tarot is easier than you might think, especially with the ease of access to resources via the internet. While in the past hand cut decks were popular, they are very time consuming and thus they are very limited in distribution, numbering between 15-100 copies. Large factories can handle tens of thousands of copies as long as you can pay for them, and offer a wide array of services like gilding and different paper types.

During Creation

The first thing you need to make sure of is that your art is of a high enough DPI, or resolution. The bigger the image the higher the quality of the final printing. 

mat-ptah
As you can see the art is MUCH bigger than the final card, this will help your final print quality tremendously.

If you are painting or constructing the images digitally you’ll need to make sure that you’re painting with CMYK in mind, the inks that a printer uses. The computer you’re using has access to a lot more colors than a conventional printer, and more than even some of the advanced industrial printers you’ll possibly be sending your images to.

If you are painting traditionally you will need a good working knowledge of cameras, lighting setups and have the equipment itself, either rented, borrowed or owned. If you don’t wish to deal with this you can also hire a photographer to take pictures of your work. Expect to shell out at least $20 per photo for the photographer’s time, if they are professional. Make sure you get a high DPI digital version, and not prints. You can put this images in a photo editing program to make adjustments later on or send them directly to the printer.

I shouldn’t need to mention this, but under no circumstances should you ever use someone else’s images in your work. Whether it’s the likeness of a celebrity or a photo you cut out of magazine and painted, it’s stealing. (see http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/heart-of-stars-tarot/ for an example of what not to do – this is literally a crime and could never be picked up by a publisher or printer legally) If you use photo manipulation please make sue the image has the proper creative commons release or is in the public domain. There’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t hurt anyone’s livelihood or infringe on their individual rights. If you put a likeness of your friend in the tarot, make sure they’re okay with it first.

Getting it Published

Finally when all of your images are done and they are in digital form, (JPEG with at least 300 DPI resolution.) what do you do now? You can send it to a local printer if they have the equipment to handle a tarot deck. Most printers in the USA do not – they will print a sheet for you and you have to cut it yourself. There is a niche market for such handmade decks. Other times you’ll find that the quality is lacking and it can get expensive testing one printer after another.

Tarot cards used to be exclusively hand pressed and painted, so it is definately a real option for one-off’s especially, and well done lithographic tarot can become extremely sought after.

"Look if the Visconti's can do it so can you" says the Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo King of Pentacles.
“Look if the Visconti’s can do it so can you” says Visconti di Modrone’s King of Cups.

A Publisher

Some go with the publishing route, but if you do this you need to widely publicize your work on the deck during its creation and target a niche audience that represents the common occultist – highly advanced or innovative decks will not do well and publishers will rarely take a chance with them. As an example, we wrote to two publishers before deciding it would be in our best interest to retain all ownership rights. US Games told us outright that while they could see it was based on the Thoth, the nudity would offend their customers. 

By Paul-in-London - http://www.flickr.com/photos/epaul_07/7169673527/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19852478
Definately not US Games customers. (By Paul-in-London – http://www.flickr.com/photos/epaul_07/7169673527/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19852478)

Llewellyn just ignored us despite writing to them twice. 

Small Local Printers and Hand Cutting

Our first real option after this lull of publisher rejection was offered by a student of m1thr0s’s, MythMath who already had a lot of experience making homemade games and had made playing cards before using a corner rounder. We had been working on the pack for nearly five years at that point and he wanted to get The Mutational Alchemy Tarot printed right away, and ordered some difficult-to-source poker paper to get it done locally. The paper was luxurious, durable and flexible but the images were noticeably off center. The printer wasn’t equipped to handle cards and it was extremely cost prohibitive. To make one deck would require an investment of $200, and I knew there had to be a better way, considering companies churn out decks for $15 a pop over and over again with few major problems with centering.

If you want highly professional service dedicated to tarot printing alone, on state of the art machines, you will have to go to Los Angeles, New York, or…Asia.

The TwinStar Orders Us Around

In 2014 that taskmaster the TwinStar began pushing me hard to get the deck published en masse. Its urgent demands were something I knew could not be ignored, nor would it be overly difficult for me to obey them as it probably already had a printer lined up. You have to work with the TwinStar for a few years to begin to understand just how perfect it is in action and conversation – it’s never wrong, it always has your best and highest interests in mind, and it’s not worth arguing with it, as you will lose, badly! 

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REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU FUCKED WITH ME PUNY HUMAN

I started researching possible companies to self publish, and found Make Playing cards.com, which was very expensive at $15.00 per deck and while the colors looked good the paper stock was flimsy like a run of the mill massmarket deck according to other users. I uploaded all of our images and ordered a test copy to see if it was worth ordering a big batch. They wrote us back stating they had a policy against nudity! I couldn’t believe it. There was no other option in the USA for wholesale printing jobs.

Ali Baba and the Forty Tarot Factories

Asia was a labryinth, but m1thr0s and I absolutely wanted to get our cards printed in China for magickal reasons. Navigating the maze of trade liasons, importers, manufacturing companies and factories however, was daunting and indimidating. Sending thousands of dollars halfway across the world is even scarier, since it was a business loan and there was no way we could afford to do it again, especially since we wern’t sure if it would pay for itself. It was an investment in the long term for TAI itself, so that the website, annual taxes and licensing would begin paying for itself at least, and m1thr0s and I could gift the ownership of the MAT to TAI to help any future leaders of it.

I did some research and found out that dealing with factories directly was more cost effective, while the alternatives such as importers who go to factories on your behalf are more expensive, but supposedly more reliable. 

After reading an article on the topic of doing business in China I decided to seek out factories. I started on Ali Baba, the trade hub of the world for everything from handbags to 3D printing machines sold wholesale. I hung my signpost out that said I was looking for a publisher for high quality art cards with nudity “not porn”, hoping to avoid any surprises later on.

I got quite a few responses and had to take days looking at all of them, talking to agents about what I needed and what they were willing to do. I sorted them out by weeding out people who seemed to abrasive or hasty, people who didn’t represent the factory directly (they call these importers or trade liaisons, and while they can be very helpful I was trying to cut all of the extra costs to put everything into the decks) factories that seemed to focus only on poker cards instead of oracle and tarot, and finally I was left with my choice, Shenzhen Wanjing Printing Co. They had a very nice website on Ali Baba with lots of photos of their staff and factory, a very responsive and polite agent as well as lots and lots of details about what they could do. The pricing was up front and they took the time to give me quotes based on what I asked for, instead of just throwing a cheap number at me without any details on the weight of the paper and packaging options.

I was lucky in that I didn’t have to make any compromises, except for paying more than I would have going to another company. We got exactly what we wanted, from the neat tuckbox to the black bleed-to-edge border. We did have to resize each image very slightly to fit their template, which was a little bit bigger than what we had planned, although this was actually a plus. Everything cost about $5,000 for 500 decks. It can go a lot lower for lower quality paper such as the kind you find in mass-published tarot decks which are seemingly never more than 300 gsm. (ours are 350 gsm art paper)

sales9@wjplayingcards.com is the email address of our contact Fanny Yeung at Shenzhen Wangjing and they are the best. If you decide to use them tell them The Abrahadabra Institute and Izi sent you. They are very reputable and are used by big publishers as well. 

The team at Shenzhen Wangjing Printing Co. sent us this photo after I chatted with them about the art. Apparently they all love wolves and call themselves “The Wolf Pack” lol so I sent them pictures of the wolves I had growing up.

Even if you can pay for it, can you afford it?

We hadn’t been recieving very much financial support for our work on Abrahadabra even though people would come to us constantly with questions and requests for advice. This was very upsetting to our local busines advisor and she told us to stop doing it. We had to put the entire amount on the credit we had built carefully over the years. m1thr0s was on disability since he was hit hard with COPD around the time I was familiarizing myself with his work. I had been working on the deck for 5 years while doing customer service  and freelance on the side at very low paying jobs to support him and the entire Institute, so we didn’t have any savings to put towards it. There just isn’t enough time to work on these important scholarly subjects and work at a full time typical career job, that’s the bottom line, especially with m1thr0s needing more and more assistance physically at home due to his poor health.

Both m1thr0s and I are highly skilled artists, so I knew we would be able to sell them once they were published. I know a lot of occultists want to publish a deck but if your situation is fragile like ours usually is you shouldn’t dump everything into publishing a deck that might not sell. I knew all of these risks and the reality of the situation well before I started on the project, but after talking with others involved in the Abrahadabra Institute I knew it was important to have a graphical representation of the kind of ideas we are always going on about in a fun form factor. 

Shipping is very expensive from China for heavy boxes and you should expect to tack on at least a thousand dollars for every 500 decks. They initially wanted to send it to a port but I couldn’t get any of the ports here to explain how to pick it up, so the easiest option was by air with UPS. The best part of choosing Shenzhen Wangjiang is that they reassured us and guided us every step of the way, and we ordered everything sight unseen without sending a quality controller. This is very risky but I had to trust that since things were going so smoothly my spirit lodge helpers were managing everything as they always do. 

Marketing

m1thr0s is way more marketing savvy than I am having been the chief director of marketing at the Anarchist-Chaote publisher Loompanics for years before being hit with COPD. First he had us notify our clan at Abrahadabra, asking them to check out the deck and give us reviews at Aeclectic which one person did. The rest of our loyalists who had eagerly been awaiting the deck to hit purchased one and we rewarded them with signed cards from the first printed copy as well as free shipping. 

We posted ads on Facebook, Reddit and locally and received quite a response. A customer asked for us to do a video review and I did so using my smartphone which wasn’t hard. It’s pretty easy to do marketing like this, we could probably go harder at it by advertising in magazines and such but I don’t feel like it’s necessary at the moment due to selling them pretty quickly as it is. The biggest tarot site on the internet is Aeclectic Tarot so we felt like we should put the pack in the directory there, and generated quite a bit of activity surprisingly. Aeclectic tends to be a Rider-Waite crowd but it is inexpensive and important to register there as they are basically the only directory of tarot on the internet aside from Amazon. If you can’t afford anything else at least get on Aeclectic. 

Whether you are looking to publish your own oracle deck for personal use, or you are an artist looking to make a name in tarot, I hope this article has been useful for you. As always feel free to ask questions in the comments and support us by buying your copy of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot!