Saturday, July 02, 2016

On Scarlet Imprint and Disagreements between People

I really have to ask, what the hell is wrong with people?

I disagreed with some things one author at Scarlet Imprint said in one piece that was presented in one place without, when I read it, any other context.

Yesterday I get informed that people are taking that one thing and turning it into some kind of fucking crusade against the entire corpus of their work. People are bashing all the authors, all the books, everything they've done.

Look, grow the fuck up people. Nicholaj Frisvold did some amazing work, and he's getting panned? Seriously? What's next, Gordon White? Jake Stratton-Kent? Scarlet Imprint has been a vehicle for many of this generation's best writers to present information to the community that has changed our lives, and how we understand and work with magic itself. They are a huge resource, and the occult community owes Scarlet Imprint a huge debt for the positive impact they have made on our understanding of magic.

Yet some people have lost their entire sense of proportion.

There was a time when you could call someone on bullshit and not have the entire world come crashing down on people's head. You could have civil discourse. You could criticize one work without criticizing the people who wrote it, and having that get turned into the demonization of everyone they ever worked with.

But those days are apparently gone.

I don't like *the way* Peter Grey made his points in the Forging of the Body of the Witch presentation. I don't agree with some conclusions he reached in Lucifer Princeps, and I don't agree with some things he said in Red Goddess, either, I experience Babalon a lot differently.

That doesn't mean the man is shit, his work is shit, his partner is shit, the entirety of everything he's done is shit. Christ, we're writers, we make things to read, and like any craftsperson, some people will like our work, others won't.

But if you don't like something, don't like the thing. Don't try to ruin it for everyone else. In the original critique of the single piece I made, I closed the piece with respect to the people who get something out of that approach on purpose. People get to do what they want to with their bodies, their spiritual path, and their lives. That was entirely my problem with *some* of the things he was saying.

And when you read it with the "sister pieces" of his presentation written and presented by Alkistis Dimech, you realize that they aren't intentionally saying things to oppress women, their intent is the same as every other writing magician I know, to free people from the traps of their own minds so they can reclaim their personal power.

The worst thing I can say about Peter Grey is that in one piece that I've read, I found his choice of words and the implications of those words disturbing because he sounds like too many of the voices people hear growing up that tell them they aren't good enough, and they aren't good enough because of their bodies.

It's ok for me not to like what he wrote there, and it's ok for me to like other things he does, and it's important to be able to have civil discourse about things that you disagree with.

I offered Scarlet Imprint a chance to talk to me about all this stuff, and they said they had no interest in it. Then they accused me of deliberately misinterpreting things because I have previously expressed disagreements with Peter Grey. I think that's ridiculous, but I understand, when you see the shit people are doing on social media over this. They're angry and upset, and it's apparently all my fault, but whatever.

They suggested I needed to make a retraction and apologize, because of what other people have turned this into. I disagree. My critique of his presentation stands. There are probably holes in my critique that could be filled with a conversation, but that isn't going to happen.

But people need to back off on attacking Peter, Alkistis, and the authors of Scarlet Imprint. There is no need for a witch hunt and wild accusations. If you don't like his approach, don't use it. If you do like it, and it works for you, go for it.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Maybe we should let the witches out of the dungeons, after 600 years?

Last week I saw an interesting article on what makes a witch a witch, "Forging the Body of a Witch," by Peter Grey. Written in the language of a true bard, this essay is packed with rich language, complex sentence structures, and a turn of phrase that brings powerful images to the mind and heart. It was a fascinating read.

After getting past the prettiness of the words, though, I started thinking about what he was saying, and it really started to bother me.

First he was saying witches are basically broken:
My proposition is that witches are un-made by the social process, by the constrictions that distort the body of desire and are played out in a landscape of lost dreams. Witches are not only born and made, they are undone. They retreat, out of fear and out of necessity.
And the cures he suggests? Don't be fat. Move more, don't be still, society tells you to be still, but the witch's body moves (but later he says you have to be still, but it's different when he says it, because then you're tied up). Have you tried vitamins? Herbs? Be more sexual, sexually liberated, but really, it's women that need to hear that:
To celebrate the erotic furor that has always been condemned as witchcraft and that characterises female sexuality and female sexual response in particular. That is not fetishising the female but stating corporeal and historical matters of fact. Jouissance in the sense of Cixous, rather than Lacan, is the essence of witchcraft. Men can also learn these skills, though that is less common because for the most part, they do not need to.
Note he says he isn't fetishizing the female, but then he goes on to say that an active actual witch is someone who is thin, fit, lithe, erotic, and into BDSM for the spiritual aspects of it, really.

Any resemblance to an adolescent male's ideal sex slave who is somehow empowered by her submission and embrace of the icons of actual slavery is entirely coincidental, I'm sure.

And he goes on to talk about how witchcraft of this type was, after all, the product of the dungeon. The mythos, the cosmology, the entire foundation was based on a warping of the idea of the Sabbatic Goat, an idea that was created in the minds of sexually repressed Christian torturers, who then broke the bodies of women, with penetration and blood, and bondage, and pain, until the women adopted the fantasies of these psychotic men as their own, their broken psyches longing for the release of the flames.

And this is the mythos he suggests we embrace, including the methodologies. A return to a thing that never was, the adoption of a view of female sexuality that was foisted on them by men with red hot irons, who tortured, maimed, and finally killed those whose intelligence and psyches they had shattered.

I don't see how that witch is a model for today's women. Embracing an ideal that never was? That happens to be a sex slave, or sure looks like one?

I think today's witches can do better.

What if your power as a witch had nothing to do with how you look, how you fuck, or don't fuck, whether you believe new age theories of the vital importance of vitamins and herbal supplements, and whether or not you want to be tied up and spanked to enlightenment?

What if your power wasn't measured according to a standard of a 14-year-old male's ideal submissive bound sex toy? What if...

And this is kind of wild, I know...

What if you're actually already powerful?

Regardless of your body type, if you can achieve an orgasm when you want to, what if that was ok, and there's no need for you to subscribe to a narrative of innate brokenness that can only be redeemed and healed through pain? What if you weren't really robbed of a childhood of innocence and bliss and purity because it never existed?

What if you're actually fine, but you're just tired because life can be hard sometimes?


Hermetics teaches that we already have the power to do what we will, we just forget because we get distracted. Remembering that is the point of the Work. You don't have to lose weight, take magnesium or witchy herbs, or be a nymphomaniac spewing crotch fluids on everything in sight to prove you're a strong independent human who don't need no other human, even though you're trying to live up to (usually) his standards anyway.

You're already powerful. You can change your entire life today, by making different choices. Where you work, who you work with, your career path, whatever. You can go to another country. You can leave the family and friends you've had all your life and go on an adventure. You can join a coven, take up new forms of magic, write a book, start a blog, volunteer in a political campaign, start a stand-up comedian career, clean out your basement, or order an amazing pizza. You have the power to change your entire world, every day, and the experiences you have in that day.

And you can use spells and rituals and curses and hexes and blessings and sabbats and equinoxes and solstices and community and politics and whatever you feel like to aid in that, by sitting still, or moving, as you see fit, when you see fit, as you see fit, regardless of whether anyone else sees your work as fit.

You can do other things with that mind of yours walking around in that body of yours, you powerful witch you, and it's the doing of other things that makes a difference.

So yea, if Peter's article speaks to you where you're at, and you found something valuable in it that you want to pursue because it's actually what you want, then great. You have the power to become a lean mean vitamin chewing herb taking BDSM scene queen machine, if you want that, and more power to you if you find what you're looking for in that path.

But your power isn't about your sex. It's about what you do with yourself.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Bune Spirit Pot, and Some Bune Spirit Pot Fun

A few months ago, a client asked me to make him a Spirit Pot for an entity from the Lemegeton's Goetia. I bought the ingredients, and before I put them together, he canceled.

This morning, I was doing some Work with Bune, and I got the urge to take those ingredients and swap them out for a Bune pot to send out into the world. An inspiration, if you will.

Putting thought to word to deed, I did.

So here's a Bune Spirit Pot. It started out as a small box from Amazon, ivory colored and trimmed in brass. It received a generous amount of hyssop and high john root, some dried raisins, some amethyst, and a piece of coral I found on the beach in Florida. I was also compelled to include a raw copper ingot I had laying around, something I made a while ago before I started ordering my copper disks from online stores. Of course, it has the engraved seal of Bune (the one that works best in my experience) on a copper disk inside.

Duly consecrated, the spirit invoked and quite happy in the home I've made it, I am happy to offer it to anyone who wants it. I only have one, but I could make a couple more if there's an interest, but it takes me forever to get around to it.

These are going for $275, and I've got one made, and the stuff to make two more, but that's it. Three total available, I'm trying really hard not to do deficit selling these days:

Now for some Bune Spirit Pot fun...

I sold one of these Bune pots to a client on request, and after he'd received it, I got the following messages from him on Facebook:

I was getting ready for a ritual myself, and had to wait until later to talk more to him about it, but eventually we got to talk, and he told me about what happened after he did the rite. He had performed the evocation I sent him for the spirit pot, and had included a couple of other things in it that I don't remember now and am not familiar with anyway. 

But he had also bought the solar seal from the Key of Solomon that allows you to see spirits, and he held that in his left hand, and the Bune talisman in his right when he did the ritual. Didn't see much in the moment, shut things down and had himself some cheese bread, as one does.

About a half an hour afterwards the presence of the spirit was made apparent to him...

So yea, I've been sitting on that "testimony" for a while now, and it was difficult. There's a lot more that I'm not posting because he was really excited, and a little scared, and eventually we talked on skype about it. 

I hadn't realized he'd never conjured any spirit before when I sold this to him, but as with all this conjure stuff, it turned out fine eventually. We still keep in touch, and he hasn't had any more physical manifestations, even though he's tried. He's working on understanding the spirit, building a relationship, and learning how to go about requesting assistance in an effective way. 

Getting the language down, and learning to ask for the right amount of change at a time is key, I think. Incremental changes are easier to get than massive life changing ones, for reasons that are pretty obvious when you think about them.

Anyway, three Spirit Pots, $275 each:

Monday, June 20, 2016

Magus Dads

Hey all you dads, hope your Father's Day was awesome. I got to speak to most of my kiddos, and to my own Dad, and that was pretty great. We had "good speaks" as Harper likes to say. Connected, joyful, in-jokes, self-deprecation, the occasional ayyyyyyy, and terrible puns. It was awesome. I can die tomorrow and trust I did my part to make the world better JUST by having the kiddos I have.

But today I'm thinking about another thing.

Dads have a power we don't like to own, because it's scary as shit:

Every dad is a Magus... to their kids.

Every word we speak is a seed, and it falls on the most fertile of soils, and it stays with them for the rest of their lives. I hear my dad when I work on a car, or go fishing, or every time I screw up in life's projects because I forgot to ask, "What do I do before I do this?" But I also hear him telling me how proud he is when I do well, even if he doesn't even know what I'm up to. I got lucky like that.

I've talked to people a lot over the years about how they view the idea of "God" as a divinity, and as I've gotten to know them, I've learned that every one of them have an understanding of "God" that aligns 99.999% with their understanding of their fathers, in real life.

We shape reality with everything we do, as dads. We make the next wave of feminism with our choices with our daughters. We shape the politics of our nation by example. We lay out the framework of the next generation's experience of the Patriarchal Archetype of Divinity, just by playing shitty guitar to them when they're falling asleep, fighting the system for them when they're being wronged, believing them, listening, and loving them because they are awesome.

So dads, and father figures of any type, don't forget to be cool.

It matters.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Interview with John R. King IV, a.k.a. Imperial Arts

Below you'll find a link to an interview I did this weekend with John R. King, IV, also known on the internet as "Imperial Arts."

John and I go back about 20 years, and have had our share of shenanigans. When we met he was mostly a chaos magician, and then 20 years later when we ran into one another again, he was still sort of a chaos magician at heart, but he'd applied it to his life and his studies, as if the tenets of Chaos Magick were for real.

And it worked out really well for him.

While I disagree with a lot of his interpretations of systems, and practices, I really enjoyed talking to someone with his depth of devotion and practice. I think his real-life views on the spirit-conjure path we travel will challenge many people's opinions, and also demonstrate a thing about the people who Work with grimoires has been proven true across the course of interviews with people I've done lately:

In the end, whether we consider what we are doing to be "going by the book" or not, we all create our own system based on our experiences, and its effectiveness, regardless of the opinions of detractors, is only going to be determined by one person:

The Magician doing the Magick.

Also, whoever said I should get some music intro involved, it wasn't a lot of fun.

So without further ado, here's the interview: