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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Awakening the Eld in Tarot

“Awakening the Eld” is a phrase from a narrative that Aleister Crowley uses to explain the ways that the court cards in tarot are associated with the Tetragrammaton and how that name models divine power. If you didn’t understand any of the words in that sentence, don’t worry! That’s typical. It’s a very useful model of how to think of the court cards, but it takes some unpacking. So here am I, to unpack! Join me as I describe what the hell the “Eld” is, why we want it to wake up, and how that’s useful when you’re staring a client in the face.

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Literature for Magicians: Descent into Hell

2021 saw me start to get into Charles Williams, a poet and prose writer who was friends with Yeats, worked in publishing, and was fascinated by magic and mysticism. Descent into Hell is his best-known novel, and well worth reading if you’re into magic and mysticism of any kind as well.

I briefly mentioned this book in my 2021 in Books post, but as I said there, I always intended to write more about it. It’s a really excellent book, and another great example of how fantasy can be weird as shit if it just, you know, exists before the generic markers hardened.

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Some sporadic thoughts about A Wrinkle in Time

So did you see A Wrinkle in Time? You should do that, if you haven’t. I’m not going to tell the joke about you going and doing that, because it would take a while, but if you haven’t, consider it something to do. I wanted to write something about the film and the book, since I basically grew up on the latter. In a couple of odd ways, the film is actually better.

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The cover of Cultosaurus Erectus by Blue Oyster Cult

Blue Tarot Cult 1

I thought I’d go for one of the obvious choices in my own musical history and read some Blue Oyster Cult! I chose Cultosaurus Erectus, given that it’s considered the band’s greatest album by certain malcontents — that is to say, once upon a time, the fan club’s president wrote a piece that was basically “fight me, this underrated album is actually the best.” I can appreciate that. But the first track on this album is also the whole reason I got into the band at all. And the whole album is crazy.

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Reading as Triangulation

You ever wonder how reading actually works? I don’t mean the most fundamental kind of reading — you know, looking a word and knowing what it means. However, there’s actually not much difference between the two kinds of reading. What I do mean is the kind of reading where you finish a poem and you know what it meant — not what it said, but what it meant. I find my students often don’t know the difference. So I’m pretty good at explaining it. I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. At a simple level, the way you read a poem is the way you read a tarot card or a painting or a situation. It’s all about triangulation.

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A Passion Play pt. 1

Let’s take a break from this Daggerfall mess. Here’s a Halloween special! It’s a day early for ye olde posting schedule, so don’t expect to see anything Wednesday. Halloween is the time, in the northern hemisphere at least, where we feel the presence of the dead close to us. So what better than an album about death and rebirth? Nothing, that’s what! Let’s talk about Jethro Tull’s A Passion Play.

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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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