October? I Hardly Know Them

Now that I’ve not only made an awful joke, but messed it up on purpose because it’s so awful, welcome to October! October is a hell of a month for me. Probably like most of you, I like Halloween season. I also like autumn. I got married on Halloween, so that means my anniversary is coming up.

Also, though, my dad died in October. And it’s usually midterms. And while I like the weather, it’s bad for this circulation problem I have in my feet, so I begin the long journey of wearing lined slippers until May basically.

But I’ve got a window open and I can hear wind in the bushes and trees, and also traffic which is less good but ok. This post is, like my recent work, more in the way of personal reflection. I like to use October as a chance to think through the year, in some ways. I’ll try to make sure there’s something useful in here as well though.

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Hanging around in the Turn of the Seasons

Or, the Equinox as a Necessary Breathing Space

As of my writing this, on Sept. 25, the Equinox has come and gone, though for many of us, stuck between tropical storms and perhaps even hurricanes, we still feel balanced between two winds pushing us in opposing directions. I, like many folk, observe the equinoxes, but perhaps in vaguer, and less powerful, ways than it deserves. So I thought I’d write about what I think it is and what it can mean to us. It’s the pause between things, after all — and I wonder if our cultural assumption that we have to be "always on" affects our enjoyment and use of what turns out to be a cosmic day of rest.

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Development, Tree Branches, and Justness

Let me tell you about the trees in my backyard. And then, I’ll tell you something about how to think of life, and why all these horticultural and biological metaphors I use matter.

I’ve written a lot — like a lot a lot — in the past year about a few things. Tarot is one. But another is the "ecosystem model" of magic and spirituality. I’m not sure yet if I’ve really said what I think the point is. I’ve talked about why using a gardening metaphor can helpfully complicate Hermeticism. I’ve written on how a strictly linear model of the universe ignores the world we actually live in. And so on, so forth.

But it’s worth asking, right? If I’m not insisting that this model is somehow more fundamentally correct than others, what’s the point? And I’m not insisting on that.

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The World is a Forest, Not a High Rise

This essay is on ontology, and anyone who’s spent five minutes talking with me knows that I don’t really care for that much. I find it, at best, irrelevant, and at worst actively pernicious, backing people into corners that they must then act from. Trying to figure out where something comes from, if it’s a constant, is much less useful than figuring out how to interact with it and how we tend to think of it.

However, this post is, as I said, just that. It’s not that I don’t have ideas about the spiritual ontology of the world, I just don’t prioritize them so much. This is more common than you might think: anthropologists have recorded some indigenous groups saying that they do technically have a creator god somewhere, but they’re not usually prayed to — to the point that many won’t know the god’s name. Now, please, keep in mind that’s some studies of some groups, not a blanket statement about all indigneous peoples. I’m just pointing it out to demonstrate that while I may be a crazy person, I’m not that crazy.

Basically, the problem for me with many contemporary religious, magical, and Hermetic conceptions of the source of all things, the capital g God. The Big Boss, is that, well, it’s a god, a Big Boss. This isn’t exactly rare. In fact, it’s fairly common. So when I say to you that I don’t find it satisfying, I’m not exactly criticizing anyone who does. This essay probably won’t change anybody’s mind. But all magicians should practice thinking with multiple world views when they get the chance, right?

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So I’m a queer druid I guess

I make no secret on my social media that I’m nonbinary, which I suppose qualifies me as a queer person. I’m not trying to nope out of that, I just have difficulty embracing it because it doesn’t seem like I’m queer enough to qualify. I could probably write a whole essay about that, but let’s do something more entertaining instead. I’d like to write about how a ritual is what made me realize that I’m nonbinary.

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What I Learned From a Year of Magical Silence

I guess it’s what it sounds like on the tin: a year ago, on May 24th or 25th (my journal is inexact), I vowed, very quietly, to avoid talking about my magical practice for one year.

This did not seem, at the time, to be particularly onerous. I had exactly three people I could really talk to about it. One listens politely, one, at the time, was less interested than now, and one is my partner, who is sort of contractually obligated to listen to me run at the mouth, at least a little. But then, three months into this year of magical silence, I joined the predecessor of the HHoL. It is much worse to keep silence when you’re in a big community of people who share the interest and the practice. Shit.

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Ten of Swords and Three of Swords, accompanied by stones and rune discs.

Daily Draw Cards

Here’s a nice, simple sort of post for a Monday afternoon. Have you ever heard the advice to draw a tarot card every day? You probably have if you’ve read any books on tarot or checked out any other blogs. It’s a common piece of advice. I do it, and I note down the card in my day planner. I have a record — with gaps — going back three or four years, now.

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Taken from my childhood home's yard in 2014. You can't actually see the cemetery from here, but it's between the viewer and the ridge with the red trees, basically behind the house (not mine).

Heathen Wizard Enjoys Gospel Music

It’s a bright, sunny day in early May. Highway 460 is revealing delights I, who grew up along it, have never imagined. Soon-to-be pumpkin patches vie with tiny post offices for our attention. My wife and I are driving nearly two hours, from my empty childhood home, to visit my mother in the hospital. We’ve had a  hard few days. I was in the hospital for some routine tests, which came at the end of days of fasting. Yesterday I thought my mother was dying, and we drove over three hours to see her, then two, at midnight, through deer-crossed night roads, to sleep. And we are discussing how lovely and remarkable old gospel music is. This is odd, because I am a vaguely heathen chaos magician and my wife is a Buddhist-flavored atheist.

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Magic Writing

I’ve been struggling for years to get back into writing creative stuff — by that I mean poetry, fiction, so on. A friend once said I was one of the most prolific writers he knew, even though he is the most prolific writer I know. I tell you that to tell you this: since I finished my MFA I have completed maybe three short stories, and no poems. Or rather, every so often I will write a poem in the margin of a book or in a journal, but I never consider making it public in some way. This blog post serves as a companion, a non-fiction piece accompanying this poem. You should read it, but you can read this post first if you’d prefer. Or the poem. There’s no set order or anything, is what I’m saying.

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Memories Apurpose

Being convinced I play in Memphis.
Therapy -> equations in a computer.
Wife, friend, become a computer.
I knew how he felt about my birthday.
College campus as my own mind.
Gabriel Pomerand -> equations in the answers written here,
this journal this morning – Dad proud of mourning.
A game played in Florence, not Lexington.
The fear of a friend for shooting the two inch hole between rooms.

Wife still in bed as in a blind catechism, unheard unfelt.
Art, equations in Memphis.
Absolute certainty on these roads.
I came back to the fictional.
“Now, that song!”
Moon in Vietnam.
Attempt to write here, this journal this pen, a plastic bag.
The old 50s “atomic” sign.

I ended up memories apurpose.

There is a companion post to this poem here.