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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Ineffable Experiences and Effable Gender

After what let’s call a "heated debate" on the HHoL, I find I have something to say about the perennial problem of gender, and especially the gender binary, in occultism and mysticism. I’m not going to bury the lede here: they’re just not things. Genders, I mean. They can be important to people’s experiences, but they cannot be ascribed to things outside of our social context.

That’s basically the thesis. Oh joy.

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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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Genre Theory for Magicians: Genre and Magic

Theory for Magicians: Genre and Magical Practices 2

So last time, I discussed the general theory of genre from a literary perspective, with some additions from video game theory. The idea here, in the follow-up, is to explore how we can use genre theory to think about magical traditions.

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Awen and Hermeticism

In this post I would like to lay out and juxtapose some terms from hermeticism and from contemporary Druidry. You can think of this as one big case study example of how companion planting can work. So there are two terms I want to lay out, and I apologize in advance, because they’re the most complex topics in the two traditions I’m writing about here. They are Awen and Nous.

The previous posts are here: one, two, and three, and four.

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Para-Hermeticism: Goofy Name, Common Experience

I’ve been wrestling with an idea for a while that’s turned into a tough nut to crack. Yes, that’s a mixed metaphor. Mix your metaphors. Spurred on by my series of posts reacting to Rufus Opus’s book Seven Spheres, I’ve found I had to come up with some kind of bodge sooner rather than later.

The previous posts are here: one, two, and three. The idea here is not to continue to talk about Opus’s system, or even companion planting per se. This idea is related to the latter though. What I want to do is to first discuss the apparent omnipresence of hermeticism, introducing a term I cobbled together as a joke to begin with, “para-hermetic.” In the following post (yes, there’s another one) I will sort of demonstrate companion planting in action by juxtaposing ideas from hermeticism and Druidry.

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The Hermetic Garden Plot: Hermeticism and Ecosystem Companionability

I wasn’t planning on writing what’s effectively a third post inspired by my reading of Seven Spheres, but here we are. In this post, I want to develop the idea of “companion planting” further. But here we go anyway! Celebrating the formal beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, let’s imagine the world as a Hermetic Garden Plot!

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Think Out as Well as Up: Ecosystems in Hermeticism

This is a continuation of last week’s essay on Seven Spheres and the Great Chain of Being. I do advise you to read that one first, and this simply picks up where it left off.

Before I go headfirst into my proposed model of magical activity, I want to be clear that all the stuff I am arguing in favor of can be found in Hermeticism. I am in no way arguing that Hermeticism itself is somehow lacking, in this pair of posts. Instead, I am arguing against the way that contemporary religious modeling and magical practice emphasizes one thing more than another. The GCB is not in itself bad, and Hermeticism is not inherently reliant on the GCB either.

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