I’m Shawn Knight, and this is my website. I’m an eclectic, esoteric person who is a programmer by day and a wannabe “man of the world” by night, living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Spirituality in Theory
My brain seems to be hard-wired for belief in something spiritual or mystical, despite the lack of compelling, non-subjective evidence. I’ve increasingly come to accept that, although as a person who believes in reason, it’s often frustrating or annoying.
I consider myself a magician, which means I believe in the application of my mind and personal energies to the deliberate alteration of reality to further my personal goals and desires.
My strongest background, in the occult realm, is in the Western Mystery Tradition, in particular the systems of the Golden Dawn and of Aleister Crowley (Thelema), as well as a strong familiarity with the chaos magic of Peter Carroll.
I have a particular interest in the life and work of Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones) and in numerology. Building on Achad’s work, in the late 1990s I developed my own system for doing Qabalistic/gematria calculations in the English language, which over the years has produced some remarkable results and inspiration.
Spirituality in Practice
In terms of what that actually means in specific beliefs and practices about magical/spiritual/occult things … that’s harder to say. My beliefs and practices may seem to casual observation to vary with my mood; it’s more a matter of experimentation and looking at what feels appropriate for a given situation. The best term I’ve ever come up with for this is transtheism.
I have received initiations and empowerments in both Eastern (Vajrayana Buddhist) and Western (apostolic succession from both the Catholic and Gnostic lines) traditions. However, I am not a member of any formal magical Order.
It would be wrong to assume from any of the above that I hold fixed beliefs about spirits, divination, talismans, or any such things. I am an experimenter, a speculator, a theorist, an explorer. I am prepared to reject a hypothesis when it is shown to be false. My magick and my spirituality are important parts of my life, but a hallmark of life is that it adapts and evolves to its circumstances.
Interests and Hobbies
My more academic interests include but are not limited to philosophy, science, Egyptology, linguistics, history, comparative religion, spirituality, and paranormal phenomena.
I am available, as my full-time work schedule permits, for speaking engagements or discussions on a variety of subjects, generally those on my interests list.
Once every week or two I meet up with some friends to play board and card games, especially “German-style” resource management games. A few times a year I go for a nice weekend road trip to go hiking in central Pennsylvania, or to visit friends in Ohio or eastern PA.
Other leisure activities include reading, playing guitar, cooking, cricket, language construction, window shopping, watching British comedy, and having a good argument.
I am unmarried. I dislike children (with rare exceptions) and intend to never have any of my own. For the last few years I’ve been in a polyamorous (“open”) relationship (meaning I am open to new, additional relationships and my significant other is okay with that).
I live in Pittsburgh. That might change. Some combination of career, spirituality, and distaste for the current political atmosphere might make me leave sooner or later, though it seems sorta unlikely. (The results of the 2012 elections in America have somewhat increased my optimism on this.)
I am a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. I hold a B.S. in Physical Sciences (interdisciplinary major) with a minor (specialization, in this case) in Physics.
Professionally, I work for Carnegie Mellon as a systems programmer/administrator. It pays the bills so that I can eat, read, drive, sleep comfortably, and do all the other things in life which actually matter to me. (Nothing whatsoever on this website should ever be construed as me speaking for Carnegie Mellon, or even in my capacity as an employee thereof, unless I explicitly say so.)