occult culture

Randomness

The Power of being Open in Magic This is refined article of one of my previous posts, published on Right Where You are sitting Now. I expanded the concepts a bit further in it to explain how being open can actually limit the field of possibilities that are accessible.

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Who is speaking? Who is writing? Who is reading? I've been reading a book based on Gurdijeff's techniques around language and it seems he played quite a bit with concepts of self as they are expressed and perceived via language. The book is called The Magic Language of the Fourth Way by Pierre Bonnasse. I'm also reading the Apohenion by Peter Carroll, and Meta-Magick By Phil Farber, as well as Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

I find such a variety of reading to be very potent in how one considers his/her magical practice. We look at a variety disciplines to learn about the different perspectives for how reality manifests. We look at different magical traditions, but also other disciplines so we can understand how those disciplines inform how others consider the world. A Multi-disciplinarian approach ensures that we don't limit ourselves or get stuck in the past. It demands we look around and see what others are doing, so that we consider our practices in light of that.

When I started practicing magic at 16 (Do you know I've been practicing for half my lifetime now?) I wanted to learn everything I could about magic. Now at 32, I want to learn everything I can about everything. A generalist's approach. My friend Bill says that specialization is for insects...and I agree. Knowing a lot about one area of study can make you ill-informed and shallow about so much else. And whilst the same argument could be made that focusing on a generalist approach makes for a shallow understanding across a broad stretch of disciplines, I've found that as I learn about the different disciplines and ways of structuring life, there's a lot of cross over and connection. What's different is the discourse, the jargon, the language we use to communicate with each other.

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I'm now a teacher at the Growing Edge Institute, which is a sister site of Maybe Logic Academy. My first course will start on November 24th and it will be on Pop Culture Magic: an Exploration of 21st Century Mythology. The description for the class is below:

From the mid twentieth century to the present, pop culture has presented us a new mythology for our time and culture. While the beliefs and practices of older cultures are still viable, this class will show you how to integrate the mythology of pop culture into your occult practice. Lessons will include the following:

•    How to create a relationship with a pop culture or corporate entity and work with it for a variety of purposes, including letting it teach you a skill, navigate the dangers of the modern workplace, and modernize magical practices. •    How to incorporate pop culture into practical applications of magic, including how to use video games to do practical magic, how comicbook design can be used in magical practice, Pop Astral magic, etc. •    How pop culture is defined in pop culture magic, and how to create your own personal system of magic with pop culture. •    How to create effective collages for evoking people and situations into your life. •    How clothing, video games, and pop culture can be used to hone your invocation skills and change your identity

The ultimate goal of this course is to present you with a pop culture toolbox that you can use to integrate contemporary culture into your magical practices.

Esozone

This year's Esozone has actually come together pretty good, which I'll admit I was a bit skeptical about. It still has a lot of the same energy as last year, but this year's incarnation is also its own being and it is an intriguing being. About my only complaint about esozone was that the scheduling could have been handled better, with topics spread out a bit more instead of grouped together, but for a second year, overall everyone really pulled it off. Let me break it down day by day. Friday

Friday's opening address was done By Wes Unruh, who did an excellent job of introducing esozone. I also got to meet Ben Mack in person, and we ended up getting into some intriguing discussions about marketing. Also Met Michael Skrtic, when Bill Whitcomb brought him by. I knew we'd get along well, when he said, "I want to talk to you about Space/Time Magic. You're the only other person I've encountered who's worked on those kinds of techniques" I also ran into Nick Pell, Edward Wilson, Nemo, Kara, Brian and many other people I hadn't seen in a while. The night itself was spent listening to the Pranks talk by St. Mae and St. Fox, the Forestructuring of 2012 by Clyde Lewis, and Trevor Blake's excellent lecture on Buckminster Fuller (Can I just say I love the sound of Trevor's voice...very melodic).

Saturday

I walked in on the esotech panel, which was pretty intriguing. They seemed to be focused on radionics technology. I listened for a bit while setting up my vending booth. After that ended I managed to get some books signed by Antero Alli, Edward Wilson and Wes Unruh, and Ben Mack, which pleased me greatly, on general principle. At 1pm, Antero Alli had his eight circuit lecture, which I unfortunately had to miss because I was also doing my workshop on Neuroscience, Identity, and Magic. Amazingly enough I actually managed to acquire an audience, and a decent one at that. My lecture was almsot two hours long and ranged from neuroscience, to lingusitics, to memory to memes and much more. For those who are interested, I'll be presenting an abbreviated version of it on Monday night on my radio show. After I finished my lecture, I got to listen to Rex Church's discussion about the Ragnarok Engine, which looks rather intriguing. I also saw Oryelle's conjunctio performance and ened up swapping books for one of his framed works and his book on time magic.

After all that, Lupa arrived and after we socialized for a bit, she did her workshop, which I attended for part of the time. Really fascinating discussion of 21st century animism. Afterwards, I listened to Dennis McKenna and chatted with various people. I've met so many people at this event that I hope to follow up with.

Sunday

Today was the day that wasn't as smooth as Friday and Saturday. The six hour lecture by Paul Lafolley, as well as a one hour workshop expanding into a a four hour workshop (I think he was trying to compete with Paul), made the day's offerings less dynamic than I hoped. I'd really wanted to hear Wes Unruh's workshop on cut-up, Edward Wilson's meme workshop, and Ben Mack's workshop on making an elephant appear in the room. This unfortunately didn't happen. I did get into a nice chat with Antero Alli and hope to speak with him a bit more tomorrow night.

Overall: Esozone was really good. It encouraged a much needed spirit of community in the occult community. I look forward to it again next year.

I did get some really good loot. Some art and a book on time magic by Oryelle, A book by Antero Alli on paratheatrical work,, a few cds I intend to listen to and one I'm listening to now from Hekate, and a couple of interesting magazines on fringe science. I also met a lot of really cool people and re-connected with others. Awesome time overall.

Article, Review of Magic Power Language Symbol and some thoughts on the occult culture

Taking the Path of Least Resistance in Magic has been posted by the good folks of the Right Where You are Sitting Now Podcast. I'll be writing more articles for them in the near future and look forward to continuing to work with them. I think they're a really good crew of people. Book Review Magic Power Language Symbol by Patrick Dunn

Overall, I was fairly impressed by this book. I think Dunn does an excellent job of explaining a lot of the theories behind language and magic, as well as showing how theories can be made into practice. He explores concepts of gematria, glossalia, metaphor, semiotics and much more and in the process makes all the concepts approachable and easy to understand. In fact, I think that's the strength of this book. It's written so that anyone can pick up the book, read about the concepts, and put them into practice, though at least in the case of gematria, readers will probably need to have a decent familiarity with Quabala.

I also liked his explanation of the semiotic web and the Defixio. In both cases he not only explains the theory, but also provides personal anecdotes and suggestions for how the reader can incorporate those practices into his/her work. I think his latest book is a good introduction to linguistics and magic, and he provides the reader some other works to explore once they finish his work.

I did have two minor issues which made this book a four out of five for me. The fourth appendix of the book has a bunch of practical exercises for the book. It seems odd that the exercises are placed at the end of the book, instead of incorporated into the book. I'm not sure if that a decision of the publisher or the author. The other issue is that while he does cover a lot of the connection between linguistics and magic, he doesn't cover much of the contemporary work occurring with linguistics or magic. He dedicates only a small section to the contemporary work. That said, this a good primer for linguistics and magic and how the two disciplines can be brought together. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in branching outward from more conventional approaches to magic.

Some Thoughts on Occult Culture

I was at Conflux this weekend. I had a good time, but while there I did a lot of thinking about occult culture and my own place in it. I've written in this blog, previously about my disillusionment with the occult culture, and yet I can't really say I'm disillusioned with occult culture overall. I think what it really comes down to is that I don't really feel I fit in with certain aspects of the occult culture...the aspects focused more on spectacle and image and performance. That's actually one reason I might not do Esozone again. While I'm looking forward to presenting my workshop there as well as meeting up with some people, I look at the program and I honestly wonder how much of what I'm teaching really fits with the overall theme. It's not that my work isn't focused on the other tomorrow...rather it's that I don't really relate well to the culture that has sprung up around esozone. I recognize it's occult culture of some sorts...I'm just not sure it's my occult culture.

But I've also been recognizing that there is an occult culture out there that I identify with and lately I've been starting to reach out to that occult culture. Not surprisingly who I'm reaching out to are people who have similar feelings of disenchantment with the direction occultism seems to be going in. They want something different, something more substantial, while also something that isn't so rooted in the past that it can't evolve. Lupa's suggested I try and find people I can work with who could develop some system or tradition...I don't know though...I'm mixed about that and yet I'm not...because I have a vision in mind...it just has to be with the right kind of person involved and I'm very picky with people, for a lot of reasons, which essentially boil down to being burned too many times by people I expected otherwise of. To work with someone in person would involve a lot of trust on my part (as well as theirs). Do I think it could happen? Yes...I know it can, because I actually am working with two different people closely, but it still comes down to finding the right fit, and if something actually develops in my immediate environment it will be with a small group of people initially.

And then too, I've increasingly been getting involved with other subcultures and the more time I spend in them, the more convinced I am that something really has to change with occult culture overall. It's not that these other cultures are better perse...it's just that there's something happening in them that I don't see as much in occult culture...what I see in other subcultures is less insularity, more communication and networking, more looking our for each other and supporting each other. The other day, a person who wanted to come to esozone and needed a place to crash and posted about it on an occult forum got no responses. I finally messaged her, because I really didn't want to see someone not taken care of...I wanted I suppose to reach out to this person looking for community and provide something of that to her. I suppose what I'm looking for is something of a tribe of sorts, or a system wherein we look out for each other. Lupa and I, have opened our doors a fair amount to occultists coming through Portland. I expect this will continue...I believe in hospitality, plus it's always good to get a chance to talk shop.

I have a vision of an occult culture and I think it's possible to make it real. The non-fiction line of Immanion Press is part of that vision made manifest...and it's time for more of that vision to be realized.