A large part of magic as a practice is to create the conditions that increase synchronicity. This is what every sigil scribbled, every ritual enacted, and every prayer whispered is aiming at, to create conditions that the mage may manipulate to their personal advantage. There are many methods and techniques for accomplishing this, but only two directions by which this happens; internally directed or externally constructed. Only half of being a sage worker of magic is knowing how to create meaningful coincidences, the other half is being open to messages coming from outside. Omens, oracles, serendipity, and all other synchronous messages. When Crow wants your attention, crow will appear everywhere, pay attention. When your magic is very potent these inner and outer machinations begin to feed each other and truly amazing things happen.
I have recently been blessed by both inwardly directed and outwardly noticed synchronicity. Whenever these types of events happen in my life I am always in awe at the strange and wondrous ways reality manifests around me. It is these liminal spaces that really open me up to a magical comprehension of what makes the structure of Universe possible. My conclusion based upon observation and experience is animistic and mystic. What I mean by this is that everything is “alive” in a spiritual sense, thus animistic, and ultimately interconnected into a whole, therefore mystic. This is what lies behind the veil, this is why magic is possible, and why universe communicates through potent symbols.
One of the many reasons I began working with the current known as Chaos Magic is that it appeared to be an attempt to move beyond dogma and culturally imposed ontological reality tunnels. In other words it was not hostage to any religious tradition, or the taboos derived from the cultures those traditions inspired. There was no confusing the map for the territory or mistaking models for that which they modelled. This was a magical path for skeptical pragmatists. I also viewed Witchcraft the same way.
The Way of No Way
I am always amazed at how many people claiming to be Magic-Kin fall for Abrahamic dogma. They believe themselves to be fallen from grace and in need of redemption. To my mind one the great heresies embraced by Witchcraft is the idea that one does not need redemption or salvation. That is the path of one who wants to be a slave. Witch-Kin are born and will die free. Free from the pettiness and prejudices that grip the minds of so called civilized people.
Beholden to no god in particular other than the Mother and Father of Witchcraft, unburdened from dogma, and free from restrictive moral codes; this path was truly one without destination. There was no one goal that must be attained, there is not even a requirement to adhere to a singular set of rituals. This magic is a toolbox for survival. Survival in a hard edged Universe largely indifferent to the survival of the individual.
The other delusion I am amazed to find Witch-Kin expressing is the ongoing search for enlightenment. I am a mystic and have no quarrel with straightforward mysticism; that is the belief that Universe is one and all beings in Universe are connected by being part of Universe. Kind of a spiritual rendition of Gödels Incompleteness Thereom and the Holographic Universe model. What I am baffled by is the idea of “special attainment”. I prefer to believe enlightenment is the realization that there is no special attainment, simply an awakening from dogma. Or as Lao Tzu also said the Way that can be described is not THE WAY.
Scratching Beneath the Surface
The realization that there is no special attainment should not be confused with the idea that what you see is what you get. Scratch the surface of a wooden table and regardless of how smoothly polished its surface; the rough fibers of its birth will reveal themselves. One cannot see molecules without aid or the entirety of the electromagnetic spectrum, but without them all ceases to be. So comes the great revelation that invisible forces which can be made visible under proper circumstances keep Universe running without need of input from humanity. This is only possible by reducing one’s attention to a singular aspect of Universe and forcing it through devices that have been created to allow one a fleeting glimpse of the overwhelming complexity of the totality.
I have a few things to convey and then retreat back into the shadows.
The events of the last year have completely changed who I am. I have been stripped to my bare minimum, however, the process lead me back to my core strengths. Iniatic fundamentals, profound and deep rewiring going on. The name change for example, Chaos Tacos more accurately describes my path, my life, my aesthetic. (Also there was a restaurant called Tacos & Tequila.)
This change in perception will be the subject of the book I am working on. More about that later, for now just wanted to poke my head out of the lab and say, “hello.”
Sabbats, Sabbaticals, & Black Sabbath
So, as a benefit of my rededication to the path of no way, I have become a monk of Chaos. My days are very bhakti driven. Meditation, ritualized movement and stretching practice, gardening (in a very Gregor Mendel way), are all a part of my routine, but true to Mother Chaos disruption is needed. Body play, psychedelics, and guitar driven hard rock all come into play. There is a temple being built, details will emerge.
Blessed by Birds
In addition to writing, I have been working at a nursery, participating in an intentional community, and gardening. It’s all about the dirt. Today while watering my mandevilla, I discovered this:
Doesn’t look like much, until you change your perspective and then you see this:
Two little lives forming, right inside those shells. Magic is everywhere, all the time. Just a matter of perception.
Mother Chaos kisses your brow, hallelujah.
Currently I live in my car. The story of how I got here is long and winding. I will discuss part of it, but mainly I want to talk about what I have discovered along the way. Whereas this has not been entirely a journey of my choosing it has been entirely a journey of my construction. So with out further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present the Alchemical Rebirth of the Mutant Mage.
Parking Lot Saints
When my ex and I decided to set the ship of our relationship aflame and run it aground, I stumbled ashore a worse wreck than our Pirate Utopia had been. Since I had been working for my In-Laws, I lost my job along with my marriage and my home of 8 years. At the time in Austin there existed a job share company with a pink logo and I joined their ranks. I was good at it, earning $3000 to $4000 a month. I only accomplished this from working 40-60 hours a week and sleeping in my car in parking lots. This how I discovered the strange and magical ecology that exists in the parking lots of a certain large chain retailer.
I have met many interesting characters here on the margins of society, Travel Trailer Nomads, Homeless Vets, Schoolies (people who live in school buses converted to RVs), and Car, Truck and Van Folks. Some are couples, some are loners, while others are Tribes both formal and informal, one thing they all have in common, they don’t fit in anywhere else. These are the Vagabonds and Nomads of the twenty first century and they are fiercely loyal to one another. I would trust a parking lot nomad to help me over the average suburbanite any day of the week. I guess when one gets used to being misjudged by society, being judgmental of others seems a bit pointless. These are the survivors, people living off of scraps and resources others are too lazy to utilize. These hardy individuals solar cook meat in their windshields and recycle the items you throw in the trash. When society collapses, they will be the ones that know how to survive. These are our Naths and Aghori. Every one is a saint whether you see it or not. Parking lots are our cremation grounds. Every thing comes to die here.
It is there upon the boiling black asphalt that I became reacquainted with my soul and discovered the essence of Urban Witchery. The other denizens of this twilight world are roaches, rats, stray cats, and grackles, the reviled “others” of urban fauna. They have become my totems, invasive, rejected, and thriving despite it all. Like the Saints I have met here and the Invasive Totems, I have learned to live off of mainstream society’s cast offs. I have found clothes, cookware, and receive out of date food items from the food banks. My situation may be temporary, but the stamp upon my soul is permanent. I will never live the same again. First I know how to survive in urban as well as wild environments now with nothing but my wits to guide me. Secondly I will never be sedentary again, the world is too volatile to not be prepared to take to the Road. Third I know of magics that only long lonely nights in desolate places teach. Even as I plan my return to the land of the Comfortably Numb, it will be more of an insurrection. My Feral Heart will never be completely content with the pacified offerings of Babalon. There is a wildness there that I must never quiet again, it is essential to my vitality. I have a project at hand that will be a bit like tending a garden, with the goal of letting the garden overtake the fence and grow into a wild Forest of Delights. Now that I have found the secret to creating gold in the barren lands, I will seek ways to liberate the treasures of the abundant spaces.
Sigils, Secrets, and Silence
All people tend to underestimate the power they possess. As a witch one should know better, when a magician creates a sigil to live free of clock and dollar, one may just end up unemployed and homeless. This could be the greatest blessing one may have ever experienced, if one is open to the lessons to be learned. For me it was hard at first, then some where along the way I realized I was being given an opportunity to realign my life. To start again from the bottom up, sure I have obligations and I must answer those, but it will be on my terms and at my expense. The knowledge gained is worth every inconvenience I have suffered. My sigils are mighty and I must be very specific; sometimes magic gives that which one ask for quite exactly.
I have seen wonders beyond my imagining, like the night I observed “something” swimming in a thunderstorm. Many are the revelations I want to share, but I cannot for they are experiential, One had to be there. Other things I cannot reveal for they are secrets that were imparted to me alone, Secrets form Universe. So often I see others diluting their personal power by revealing the secrets that were meant for them alone. That is the nature of a secret; it only has power as long as it is kept secret. Revealing these secrets makes them impotent, or dismissed as UPG, which funny enough is an apt description for existence on a personal level. Secrets are the stock and trade of magic. The reason people went to the Village Witch was because they knew things that were hidden or occult to everyone else. In order to maintain occult knowledge, one must keep secrets, this knowledge is simply not for everyone. The magic that can be taught and shared is simply technique for accessing the secrets. Initiation is as much about discovering if one has the capacity to keep secrets as much as if one has the propensity for accessing the realms of the numinous. Secrets are Occult.
Not only do secrets require silence, but being alone, one starts to cultivate a taste for silence. At first I ran my battery down listening to CD’s and podcasts, but eventually I began to tune into the sounds around me. Every city is silent between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., with a few exceptions. A spooky kind of silence where one can here the Earth breathing, I first noticed this years ago working the graveyard shift. In those long exhales are secrets millennia old in their scope. In this silence I learned to cultivate my own silence, to become comfortable with my own thoughts. This how I learned to trust my own voice. This why I will be comfortable with my own counsel and rest easy that when I sit silently with a thought and decide to speak it will be with authority and wisdom. Sigils created secretly and kept silent bear more fruit. Let that simmer in your cauldron.
Mystery Cats and the Midnight Nurse
Late at night, usually 2 or 3 in the morning, the other residents of the big black top arrive. There are three main varieties, the explainable, the questionable, and the Mysterions. They all come eventually and all because of the energy of the place.
I will tell you about the creatures of the night. It will be of little surprise that rats scavenge large parking lots at night, but they compete with cats and this is where the surprise comes. There are more than housecats out there, along the rivers and coastal areas other cats come, larger, wilder, more pantherine cats. The rats and the average housecats live off of discarded sandwhiches, fried chicken and whatever else gets left in the lot. Owls being the clever animals that they are perch atop the light poles and feed upon the rats. So far I have only seen small screech owls doing this. Figure the lights are too bright for the larger species of owls. The cats remain safe.
The very first time I saw a larger cat, I felt my eyes were playing tricks on me. There was a cat that looked like a house cat but stood about 15 inches at the shoulder amd had rounded ears like a ferret or otter. So I did research and based on my original sighting thought I had found a jaguarandi. Then I saw it again and realized I was wrong. The tail wasn’t long enough and it’s legs too long. This specimen was nocturnal, jaguarundi are supposed to be diurnal (they’re also not supposed to live in Florida, but do). So I had a mystery cat. I followed it one night and it dissappeared into the wild plants along the Blanco River. Over time I have come to identify two other individuals. Just as soon as I had excepted the idea that this was an anomaly only observable in San Marcos and then I saw one in Port Lavaca, TX. In the Walmart parking lot.
So in addition to the very real and ordinary rats, house cats, and occasional owl, we have large dark Mystery Cats. However the most interesting denizens are the mythic and spectral beings of the Great Asphalt Lot. Death is always lurking in the Lot as are Disease and Misfortune. Yes there are ghosts here as everywhere, usually very hungry desperate ghosts. There is one other type of resident that defies explanation. I will simply share the tale with you.
I have some very interesting tales and stories from the other humans of the Lot, but I am particularly intrigued by the myths, legends, and tales of mysterious happenings. Especially when I hear the story a few times, with variations and in different places. The following I have heard in Austin, New Braunfels and Port Lavaca, Texas. My favorite version is from Anne B. of New Braunfels.
“So one night we were all drinking in Paul’s van. Hanging out, talking, that sort of thing, eating one of them roto chickens from inside, when Charlie roamed off. We all figgered he had to take a dump cause he roamed of in the high weeds. Well a while later he come up outta them weeds, that ole sonuva bitch scared me, but he didn’t look right. He was pale and seemed shocked. Someone asks him if he’s okay. All he can do is mutter on about the lady in white that lead him away. We all told him ain’t no lady lead him off, he just walked away alone. Later he tells me the lady looked like and old timey nurse, showed him where he was sick. Charlie was always complaining about his stomach. So the next day he collapses inside (the Walmart) and the ambulance came and took him to the Hospital. You know they found Cancer in him. Right at the spot he said She told him he was sick.”
The parts of this story I have heard repeated in other locations are the lady is always dressed like a nurse from the 1950’s, she leads people away the group, and she shows the person where they are sick. The diagnosis is always the same; Cancer. This has so much in common with Marian apparitions and I plan to explore that more in my upcoming book. Until then enjoy this introduction to the one I have come to call, the Midnight Nurse.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT
I belong to a religous cult, we brain wash you into thinking for yourself.
Guides vs. Gurus
The world is filled with charlatans. This is nowhere more true than among the ranks of those who claim to be cut of a different cloth than the monoculture. Ask them where they buy their cloth, because unless they make their own, its all coming from the same mills in China. The world is populated with false claims of originality and your original ideas will be crushed by someone claiming to have the authority to do such actions. Many claim to seek freedom, but pursue instead authority. The true teacher never seeks to control the process of discovery but rather to encourage it. The true teacher shares their discoveries, but protects them if need be. Your Grandparent showing you a bird’s nest is an apt metaphor. A gentle guide on the path of knowledge.
It is important to have guides or else we never grow. More important than having guides is becoming a guide. As I age I am becoming convinced that this is why we exist at all. Not to become a master in whatever specialized niche that some sales guru has convinced one is the latest sales generator or to be the world’s leading authority of obscure occult practices of pre-atlantean blah-blah, but to be divine. How does one become divine? By being humane.
Seems too simple to be real doesn’t it? The truth though is that by being human, acknowledging our simple connections, and being kind and genorous in our nature we transcend our selves and become divine. Why is this important, because the alternative is to keep others from their divinity.
A guru’s job is to convince others that they possess secrets that can only be had at a cost. Gurus monopolize knowledge for self promotion. Now understand, I am not defining Hindu teachers or the traditional gurus, I am using modern American vernacular. An example is the computer guru who lords their knowledge over others. This type of person is not interested in elevating anyone, this person is afraid of lifting others up. This is the professor who teaches strictly from the book and obstructs others from a place of fear. Competition is healthy.
Finding Your Path
What is the right path for one to follow? The answer to that question is simple but let me rearrange the question. If one were lost, what is the best path home? The answer is the path that gets you home. Now this is assuming you are lost in the first place. What if one is not lost? What if is one is where they are supposed to be? Unfortunately no one knows that until they leave. This is my one warning; magic will destroy you. It will open up wonderful vistas and show you worlds beyond your imagination, but first it will destry you. My recommendation is to study alchemy first, whether you become an alchemist or not, understanding the process will help you navigate your breakdown and rebirth. Next I would recommend Tarot. Once you begin to understand the story of your souls evolution then you are ready to speak to your ancestors and create sigils, potions, talismans and otherwise bend reality to your will.
First you must decide why you want take this path. Many have failed on this path. Many have lost their mind on this path. So why would one choose this path? One reason many cite is that they were called, the piper’s call is indeed enticing. These are the ones who have always known they were different from the others. Then there are those who seek power outside of the normal means. Watch these types they have morals and such. Not that one must be immoral to walk this path, more that one should be amoral. Above judgment and judging. To judge is to assume that one knows. Knows what is best for others, for the planet, society, the Gods, etc., there is a quite a bit of presumption in that frame of mind. Best to just avoid it.
Most things do best with the least amount of tampering, however being human is to be a tamperer. We among all creatures love to tamper. We tamper with one another, we tamper with the environment, we tamper with the building blocks of reality. Is this bad or wrong? Not necessarily as long as we accept responsibility for such shenanigans. Just as most things prefer not to be tampered with so they are likewise armed to protect themselves from tampering. Teeth, claws, nuclear fission explosions are all anti-tampering defense mechanisms. In order to succeed as humans we must tamper. All of successful civilization is the result of cautious tampering. To find ones path, one must tamper. Go forth and tamper.
Benefits of Mutation
Just as most things resist tampering this leads to entropy. To counter entropy, Universe in all its wisdom has devised what we humans call negentropy or mutation. Some mutations don’t work out, whereas others are the building blocks of evolution. Funny thing about humans and mutation, we are the only creature that seem to be so obesessed about from where we came. Whether it’s Australopithecus or Goetic Grimoires we cannot seem to get enough of our past and are completely frightened of our future.
This is the central theme of the entire X-Men story arc. We are afraid of that into which we are evolving. And why wouldn’t we be afraid, every drastic change redefines what it means to be human. Unfortunately this inevitable and will happen whether we willfully participate in the process or not. I for one favor willful evolution. Mutation at will is the core of all my magic. That is why I call myself the Mutant Mage. The blending of Magic, Science, Psychology, and Evolution; that is the crux of Mutant Magery. I have been struggling to remind my self of that. Here I am again at the beginning, only this time I invite you to join me. The past is settled only the future is ours to make. Look what I have found, an unshaped world full of possibility waiting for us, the Mutant Mages to shape it.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT
Thirty years ago I got my first tattoo. In those days getting a tattoo was an act of transgression, a permanent mark that told the world you were no longer conforming to the rules of average society. Only bikers, ex-cons, sailors, and outlaws had tattoos. My mother cried. It was the second body mod to become part of my praxis. It was my declaration to the world that I had crossed over a threshold from which I did not intend to return. It was a Jack o Lantern.
The crossroads have always figured heavily in my cosmology, I prefer the fork to the fourfold cross, but more on that later. Whether reflective of the stang or the trident there’s always one path less traveled, that’s my path. Usually. It was a crossroads decision that lead to my tattoo and body modifications. In addition to being transgressive acts of claiming autonomy over my own body, they were sacred acts of Jungian individuation. If as the scriptures claim the body is temple of the soul, should not the temple be reflective of the soul therein contained? I was permanently marked, a symbol of a pact I had made with myself.
I used to believe that I identified with Crossroads Gods and Guardians of the Gates, but time and fortune have taught me these are lonely positions. With the exception of St. Peter most of the spirits associated with the Crossroads have taken on other attributes or simply use the power of this place for their own purposes. One of the first Gods I ever worked with or invoked was Hermes. Initially this was because of my astrological chart, but also Hermes’ innate state of flux.
In my mind Hermes was the Crossroads, not just the physical location, but the quintessential nature. Traveler between realms, border crosser, lord of transaction; whether by guile (thievery) or negotiation (commerce), and according to some traditions father of magic. The embodiment of flux; this was my spiritual ideal and subsequent model for the Mutant Mage. It would be many years before I realized that Hermes and I had other deeper more esoteric aspects in common. As I dove deep into Chaos Magic in the 1990’s Hermes became simply Lord Flux in my pantheon and there he stayed for nearly 15 years. Yes, in my life I rendered flux static.
During my excursion into Chaos Magic; I became fascinated with tantra. Not just the use of sex as a path to enlightenment, but the whole idea of confronting boundaries, both societal and personal. Here among the Naths and Aghoris I found a philosophy of transgressive acts perpetuated to reach union with the Divine that seemed mirror my own beliefs about Witchcraft. Nothing seemed to symbolize this better than the Crossbones.
The Crossbones, a warning, harbinger of danger, and indicator of possible death. I already knew by my occasional forays down the Poison Path the difference between medicine and poison wasizes s the size of the dose. And this type of caution must be exercised everywhere one confronts the Crossbones. Much like fire eating (do not eat fire) requires a special kind of stupid as my teacher described it, so too must one possess a certain deliberation to proceed past the Crossbones. Madness and Death do indeed come to those who push past without fear or preparation. This fork in the road leads off the map; here there be monsters. Unlike the Daimons of Goetia; these monsters have no names and no concern for you. How could a fool like me resist?
It is my extreme fortune that like Brer Rabbit; I can fall backwards into the briar patch and emerge with only a few scratches and bruises. Not only should I have died on several occasions, I am pretty sure I did die; twice. By the grace of the almighty alone am I still here. So I sought the Crossbones and pushed my boundaries and those of others as well. This became my habit, like the toad I underwent rebirth aftet rebirth, shedding my skin with each new incarnation until one day I noticed something most peculiar.
I had become marked by the Crossbones. Like the pirates, bikers, and witches I admired, I had become not just a servitor of the Old Black, but something feared and shunned. Being able to see the highest Divine and the Fire Below, I found the narrowest path of all, the one that lead to the Cross.
As I rediscovered Hermes Cthonos and Sol Invictus this narrowest of all roads not only opened before me but called me forward. Just like the Saint of Necromancers and the Son of Man, I realized the Cross was the only way forward; my only other choice was Death and even she was not ready for me.
The Cross just like the Crossroads is a place of decisions and just like the Crossbones it is a warning. The most famous cross of course is the Cross of Golgotha upon which the Nazarene hung. The truth, like most things, is much messier. The Cross predates the Nazarene and was associated with both Bacchus and Tammuz. Both were also gods of wine and bread interestingly enough, and were known to die and rise again. Here is a mystery worthy of contemplation. The Cross has many meaninings, but it is it’s connection to Tammuz and Bacchus with which I am most concerned. Members of the Cults that surrounded these two recieved the mark of the Cross upon their foreheads. This was done with palm ash from the temple fires (sound familiar?) It was used to denote those iniated into the Babylonian Mysteries. This is the true Cross, the Cross of initiation.
There I was embodying the Crossroads, marked by the Crossbones, when I came on my knees to the Cross of initiation to discover my personal praxis. Down a serpentine path marked with trials and tribulations I moved forward with eyes wide open with a mixture of awe and surety of all the monters and beauty I possessed inside all bound with a hint of madness. This is what I discovered. The Cross is also a sword that seperates us from our delusions.
The Cross requires sacrifice, and much as a knife or a sword must be fed, so too does the Cross demand blood, the fluid of passion. Here’s the deal one must either surrender one’s passion or give it over to the service of others. It is only through this willing, open eyed sacrifice that true initiation can begin. Once one gives sacrifice of oneself on the Cross, a path has been chosen at the Crossroads and the mark of the Crossbones will warn others for as the sciptures say this person has died to this world. This is one who is truly free; one who has passed through the mysteries of Crossroads, Crossbones, and the Cross. Do not cross this one.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT
“To everything there is a season and purpose under heaven”
St.Francis of the Winos
The first time I met St. Francis, I was procuring obtanium along the railroad tracks. Giant rusty spikes used for all sorts of folk magic, flow performers, and pyrotechnics. I know people who do all of those things and I happen to like train tracks. In the parts of the world I have lived the tracks occupy a liminal, mythic space. They are a boundary and space, like the old fairy roads. I walk them whenever I can.
In Houston there was a railyard just outside of the Central Business District near a freeway overpass and over Buffalo Bayou, if you knew where to look you could find a Hobo Jungle. That’s where I first met St. Francis. Back in those days I would go to the jungle to buy odd items the people living there had found. They knew me as Buddha Bill and they knew I loved bones. The bigger the better. Funny enough I got a Lisa Simpson mask there once.
So one evening as I was collecting spikes, and going to buy bones, I heard a wonderful baritone singing “How Great Thou Art”. It was my grandfather’s favorite hymn, he was the one who taught me to love all things train related. A chill ran up my spine and goose bumps covered my flesh, so great was the passion of this singer. I was surprised to find a spry lean man barely five foot two.
His name was Reggie and he was from a town just outside of Detroit, Michigan. He was a Franciscan monk. Twice a month, out of his own pocket he made sandwiches and bought wine. He found more people from the camp would listen to his sermon and let him bless them if he had food and communion. He had been raised Catholic and St.Francis was his hero as Merlin was mine. These people of the jungle were the birds of his flock. This was how I learned St. Francis was still alive and like all saints wears many masks. He is the reason I still honor St. Francis to this day.
Don Pedro and the Carnie
My first experience with psychedelics was the direct result of a summer at my conservative father’s house. Yes you read that right, well it is actually my even more conservative stepmother to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. In 1983, I had barely turned 15 and I was bored beyond belief, so my stepmother suggests I read some of her books from college. The first tome she placed in my hands was a queer little book called The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda. I had been raised with German folktales learned at my Grandmother’s knee and at the urging of my high school Wiccan friends read Buckland’s big blue book, but nothing had prepared me for this. This was before I had found out about TOPY or read anything by Mc Kenna, Wasson, Burroughs,or Leary. I was out of my depths, off the map. I subsequently tore through A Seperate Reality, Journey to Ixtlan, the Power of Silence; this was all she had in her library.
I spent as much the rest of that summer sleeping outside as I could. I learned what both peyote and datura looked like and began searching in vain for them. I paid special attention to crows and vultures. Little did I know but my iniation had begun. Summer ended and I had to return home to Houston. I joined a coven of teen age wiccans, mostly we hung out in cemeteries at dusk and smoked cloves. Something was missing, the vitality of Summer was gone. School started and Autumn equinox loomed.
As it so happened that year, the Comal County fair opened on Autumn Equinox 9/23/1983. Two of my uncles were living with and working for my father at the time; a third uncle had brought my brother and me for our regular visitation. That Friday it rained buckets, but that did not deter the good German Citizenry of New Braunfels,TX, from turning out on Saturday for beer and wurst. This was a warm up for Oktoberfest. A true Harvest festival in the grand old style. The pigs were weighed, calves, lambs, vegetables,pies, quilts, and jams judged. The Bier Garten was packed and my siblings and I were encouraged to disappear into the fairgrounds, as long we showed up once an hour, we were released again.
Somewhere between the freakshow (mostly b/w photos of days long gone by) and the haunted house, I smelled Mother Ganja on the wind. (I am a second generation hippy, among other things.) I was tired of being harassed and hoping to find some bikers or hippies to hang with, Gothic Cowpunk had not quite caught on in rural Texas in those days. Next to the haunted house I stopped to beat the mud off my boots when I heard a raspy voice behind me, “Hey kid.” I turned around and met the Devil for the first time. There he was disguised as a carnie with a penchant for biker wear.
“Yes”, says I.
“Want to get high?” He queries
“Do I ever.” I respond. So he leads to the carnie camp which were travel trailers arranged in a square with a fire in the middle. They were drinking and smoking and eating bar b que between shifts. I was introduced and invited to join the smoke circle. After 3o minutes the Devil shows up again and ask me if I want to get real fucked up. I am hesitant as he reaches into a bag made out of faded denim and pulls out a peyote cactus about an inch and a half across and two inches long with it’s tapering root. I recognized it from the previous summer’s research. He tells me that normally he would charge $30 for this size, but he likes me so he’ll let me have it for $15. I had $17 and some change so the deal went down. Instead slicing off little pieces as he suggested, I quartered it and ate two immediately. They tasted like dirt. It was time for me to check in.
I arrived at the Bier Garten just in time to be naseous. My family was incredibly drunk and having a joyous time; I vomited. Right into a trash can. They all laughed and asked how many had I had. Then they offered me beer and sausage which made me purge some more. More laughter.
I went out and roamed the carnival. So a Harvest festival turned County Fair in an area settled by Germans with a freakshow is what imprinted on my brain the first time I did psychedelics. If you know me, I think this is very illuminating. If not keep reading this blog, it will become apparent.
I went back home after that weekend, dropped out of the Wiccan Circle and a month later at All Hallows Eve entered a graveyard and iniated myself into Witchcraft. I have never looked back.
That night that Halloween night 33 years ago is when I met Oma. I am not going to say much about her as she is my spirit guide. I know now where she is buried in that German cemetery and why she urged me constantly to listen to my own German Grandmother’s stories, which I sorely neglected to do enough.
She appeared shortly after my declaration and asked why I had done such a thing and did I realize what I was giving up? As she speaks German and I very little our conversations have been very humorous and frustrating over the years. I have actually learned a lot of German from her over time and I am taking semi-formal lessons now.
The gist of her argument was that if one wants knowledge they should be a librarian or an occultist. If they seek power go into politics or be a sorcerer. A healer? Become an herbalist or physician. Witchcraft was for hermits who could live without blind faith. One could live in the middle of a city, but their eccentricity would mark them so that they ended up living a hermits life even if they married and had children. I am only beginning to understand this. A witch only has faith in that which they know, this makes for a hard life at times.
She taught me that being a witch is not as glorious as portrayed in books. I told her that I did not know of any books where it is portrayed as glorious. Exactly she said.
Every now and again someone around me discovers Pickled Okra. This is something I take for granted as it has always been a part of my life, in fact it is perfect analogy for my praxis, more on that in a minute. This query by social aquaintenances inevitably sends me through a nostalgia spiral. Lateley this spiral has been amplified by several factors. One I am in the middle of acquiring a more permanent housing situation, which may include a move to New Braunfels, TX where in many ways my journey began. I have also found myself hanging around Walmart parking lots, talking to RV’ers because I am very close to being able to achieve my goal of living in an RV. This has put me back in contact with Nomads, homeless, and carnival folk. St. Francis and St. Jude keep showing up over and over again. Then a few days ago at a potluck with my people from that thing in the desert someone said the magic words, “I just tried Pickled Okra for the first time. How did I not know about this?”
There also seems to be a Witchcraft craze going on right now. I am not sure what spurred it or why, but these things happen and they seem to happen in waves. The older I get the more I understand the first question Oma put to me, “Child, what are you that you desire to be a Witch?” (Kind, was bist du, dass du eine Hexe sein willst?), not Why do you want to be a witch or even Why do you wish to study Witchcraft, but What are you? I have come to believe one must have an outlaw soul to be a witch. Many who believe they want this path are better suited to be yoga instructors or substance abuse counselors. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Takes a while to find oneself. I am happy wicca exists to provide many with the oppurtunity to worship witches without having to get their hands dirty. I want say much more, Silence prevents me. The knowledge is easily gained, even Consumer Zombies are willful enough, a few posses the daring, but very few can simmer in silence gathering the sardonic wisdom like jewels to be used only when appropriate. At this point accusations of elitism arise, to which I ask one simple question. Have you tried pickled okra?
See that question is about an experience. How would I describe pickled okra to someone who has never tried it? Simple, I give them a piece.There is no description of the experience that will adequately substitute for the experience. It really is that simple. Now for an analogy that relies on Pickled Okra that may make sense. I said my praxis is like Pickled Okra and indeed it is.
My praxis like the aforementioned delicacy could only be born in Texas. First one starts with a Germanic practice; pickling or in reference to my practice Teutonic folkways and hexenkraft. Add something southern that actually originated in Africa; okra or hoodoo materia as I do. Lastly something local or indigenous like jalapeños, or in the instance of my praxis some saints borrowed from Mexican catholicism not necessarily recognized by Rome. There you have it Pickled Okra, which like America is a crossroad in time as much as space where multiple cultures and techniques come together to create something new. A place where everything new is old again.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT
The sun is setting and the sky has taken on the hue of a perfectly ripe cantaloupe. A cold north wind blows the sky clean. To my right murmurations of starlings play in the dwindling light and Bowie croons on the car speakers. I have stopped here in a bank parking lot on the edge of a small Central Texas town to eat my dinner, a fried alligator po- boy. Soon the voice will come, I can feel the potency in the air. Meanwhile I sit in my private epiphany waiting for the Omen to come, as it always does in times such as these. I think back on how I learned to identify these moments, to feel the fluctuations in the force that let me know that spirit was moving towards me. The times when I must be silent and listen.
Bus Stop Epiphanies
I moved to Austin, Texas on April Fool’s day 1993, because the cards and the angels of Chaos told me too. I had previously died on whiskey and rootbeer and been resurrected by the Virgen de Guadalupe and San Martin de Porres in a garage apartment bath tub. My first marriage was over. My family was utterly confused by me and my desire for body modification. The dark yogas I practiced as a result of reading Peter Carroll, Phil Hine, and Georges Bataille were taking a toll upon my soul. Not even enchiladas eaten in the shadow of the Alamo could save me. After my death and subsequent resurrection it was clear that my path lead away from San Antonio to Austin. From Breckenridge to the Congress Avenue Bridge I followed the Mexican free-tailed bats.
When I first moved to Austin, I lived with my high school friend Mr Winters. He introduced me to Johnny Vagabond although he wasn’t using that name yet, no he was still Mr. Nations. Johnny became my mentor of all things green. Whereas Granny Jones had taught me how to grow, Johnny taught me what to grow. It was the time of Crash Collusion, Johnny’s zine about UFO’s, entheogens, conspiracies, TAZ, shifting paradigms, cryptozoology, and the OTO. It is said when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive. I was ready and Johnny gave me a job working on the graveyard shift at Kinkos. I rode the bus to work.
I had already taken the affectation of wearing black all the time, but to this I had added a cheap halloween witch hat and a backpack covered with rubber skeletons and brass bells. An urban wizard is what I fancied myself. Divine fool was probably closer to the truth.
One fine summer evening as I headed out to work I met St. Serendipitous. I was exploring strange music at the recommendation of MACUMBA zine out of Dallas, TX, so either I was listening to Exotica by Martin Denny or Tabula Rasa by Einsturzende Neubauten. My first bus stop was next to Toy Joy, Austin’s version of Seattle’s Archie Mc Phee. There upon the box that housed all the electrics for the signals someone had wheatpasted a three headed being with Robert Anton Wilson, Dr. Timothy Leary, and Terrence Mc Kenna on the body of the dancing Shiva. In the background was the Sri Yantra with the Illuminati all seeing eye super imposed. Beneath this was a tattoo style banner that read The Three Stooges. I felt as if a door had opened. When I got to my transfer point, I found a book on the bus bench; The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Phillip K Dick. Something about the light of the sunset, the cover art on the book, the music I was listening to, and the bats leaving their roosts just as we crossed the Congress Avenue Bridge, told me to pay attention; this was important. When I arrived at work Johnny asked me I ever read any Phillip K Dick. After I told him the strange tale of coincidence, he says matter of factly, “You’ve had an epiphany and that book is an omen.” Right he was and I have paid attention to shifts in energy every since.
The Black Star
I have been listening Bowie incessantly and reading Gordon White’s Star Ships, which I highly recommend. Something about the origins of the Western Tradition considered from literally an entirely different angle and Bowie’s personal requiem dove tail nicely with my considerations over another failed marriage and the desire to travel. Star lore; I always come back to the stars. Whether I am recieving messages from the twelve as mentioned before, reading about our mythemes shifting to UFO’s, looking for Black Knight or the Space Station, or discovering new ideas from the field of archeoastronomy, I am still looking out into the Cosmic Ocean pondering the meaning of it all.
Here I am between the Epiphany and the anniversary of Bowie’s death talking about energies manifesting in my own life as Universe floods my awareness with little coincidences and synchronicities. Once again I am being drawn in by the deire to modify my body as a reflection of my inner processes. I still don’t know what a Black star is.
I have come to realize how much I complicate my life. I create blockages before attempting to seek solutions. Take learning a new task as an example, before even considering how to make it happen, I have a ready litany of why it can’t happen. Lately when that happens, I call that impulse Rocket Surgery. Something that on the surface seems quite complicated but upon reflection is actually nonsense. So 2017 is the Year of Rocket Surgery. A year for defeating bogey men, false assumptions, and actual nonsense.
Back to the example of learning something new; instead of seeking reasons why I can’t, I look to creating strategies for how I can. Thank you, Jason Miller. Lets start with learning. Make yourself some flash cards, 3″ x 5″ index cards with a topic on one side and information on the other. You can learn tarot this way, herbs, aspects of ritual etc. Small, and compact, they travel anywhere. Make some when you have time, review while riding the bus, waiting at the doctor, or the pharmacy, etc. Read blog articles and listen to podcasts on the topic. Both can easily be digested during an average commute. All easy, doable, and conviently portable.
You can even cultivate more ritual into your life using this idea.Listen to music you find inspirational. Make mantras, for instance any time I use a bridge I say to myself, “Crossing water, crossing water, all hail the River Goddesses daughter.” If I’m walking I leave a penny or something on the bridge. You could practice “first fruits” when the weather is better. At lunchtime, before you eat take bits of your lunch and make small offering to your Matron, your Patron, or the Spirits of the land. Leave under a tree.
A large part of magic as a practice is to create the conditions that increase synchronicity. This is what every sigil scribbled, every ritual enacted, and every prayer whispered is aiming at, to create conditions that the mage may manipulate to their personal advantage. There are many methods and techniques for accomplishing this, but only two directions by which this happens; internally directed or externally constructed. Only half of being a sage worker of magic is knowing how create meaningful coincidences, the other half is being open to messages coming from outside. Omens, oracles, serendipity, and all other synchronous messages. When Crow wants your attention, crow will appear everywhere, pay attention. When your magic is very potent these inner and outer machinations begin to feed each other and truly amazing things happen.
I have recently been blessed both by inwardly directed and outwardly noticed synchronicity. Whenever these types of events happen in my life I am always in awe at the strange and wondrous ways reality manifests around me. It is these liminal spaces that really open me up to a magical comprehension of what makes the structure of Universe possible. My conclusion based upon observation and experience is animistic and mystic. What I mean by this is that everything is “alive” in a spiritual sense, thus animistic, and ultimately interconnected into a whole, therefore mystic. This is what lies behind the veil, this is why magic is possible, and why universe communicates through potent symbols. This is why I pull into parking lots to watch murmurations of starlings and become mesmerised by their beauty. Here in the fading January light in my car the Omen comes and I realize that despite the tension of the coming days; a Great Awakening is also happening. I am a Black Star.
PEACE LOVE LIGHT
What can I say about this year that has not already been said? Quite a bit actually. In part one of my review of the year, I discussed briefly my personal alchemical transformation, in this part I want delve more into the poetry and mythology. I will also discuss where this journey has lead and is leading.
I first had a vision of the Sacred Heart when I was about 8 or 9. I had seen the image before, but the vision came when I was sick with a high fever. A cloaked woman came to me and told me I would be okay and one day my words would help others to heal. She held up a flaming heart in her hands, and it grew until I couldn’t see anything else. Then I became one with it; my fever had broken.
This is the first vision of the Sacred Heart I remember and even though I was not raised a Catholic; I was raised in an environment permeated by Catholicism, both orthodox and folk style. In East Texas it has a decidedly French aesthetic, but Central, South, and West Texas belong to Mexican and Spanish Catholicism. So the imagery of Catholicism has surrounded me my whole life and although some of my relatives are Catholic, I was not raised in the church. I learned back alley Folk Catholicism, mostly from Hispanic Neighbors, definitely more Santeria/Curandera than Orthodox. Despite all that I was not aware of the meaning of the Sacred Heart as a symbol of mystical union with the divine until religous studies as an adult. I had always interpreted it as a symbol of the poetic capacity. This where I was at when I adopted it as the symbol for 2016.
The Poets Heart
To make art, to write poetry, to be a sacred artist, to craft magic, these are acts that require one to be in communion with one’s soul. This is a mystical connection that is brought about by union with the divine. The heart of a poet is the heart of a warrior. As Alejandro Jodoworsky says, “I am an artist, you understand? For me, a picture is like poetry. When you make art, this is not coming from an intellectual place. It’s coming from the deep side of unconscious, your soul.”
The year, 2016, tested everyone. Many celebrities and artists crossed over, among them several influential musician/poets. In the circles I travel the two most important were probably David Bowie and Leonard Cohen. They were living embodiments of the spirit of the Sacred Heart as a metaphor for union with the divine. Bowie was the Star Man who invited us to be more than the little boxes into which our daily lives tried to squeeze us. Cohen was a man of the earth who reminded us that anywhere we stood was Holy Ground. That is the ultimate secret of the Sacred Heart in my mind; once you have made mystical union with the divine every and everything is Holy even the profane. The example set by the lives of Cohen and Bowie is one of( taking on life by your own terms even when dangerous. To be open hearted and compassionate during difficult times means one must be comfortable with being vulnerable. Vulnerability requires a strength that only a union with the divine can sustaìn and nurture. To cleave oneself open for all the world to see. This is magic and art on the edge.
Exposure. Risk. Identity. We have come a long way in our collective battle to be free from prejudice and hatred, only to have the Presidential election in the US and Brexit remind us that we still have a way to go. After my alchemical transformation through the Sacred Heart I have come to believe that these threats are just Phantom Menaces, more fear of the Big Bad Wolf than lupine maximus himself. As Young the Giant says in “Somethingto Believe In”
“I’ll give you something to believe in
Burn up a basement full of demons
Realize you’re a slave to your mind, break free
Now give me something to believe in”
Here I am stripped down naked before the Lord and I find that which really motivates me is not fear, but LOVE. Love Divine. Love of body modification, love of monsters, love of the black, and these are the things that will carry me forward.
I have spent the last few years reaquainting myself with occult philosphy, folk magic techniques, and doers and shakers of all types. I have discovered a few things, strengthened some very old vows and uncovered my essential core. As the new year approaches, I have decided to stop bleeding out. To heal old festering wounds. Take responsibility for myself and my actions both on exoteric and esoteric levels. To become my own Dr. Frankenstein.
So 2017 will be the year of Rocket Surgery. I will go into this more thoroughly later, but for now suffice it to say that this will entail using my most time tested techniques, combined with new technology to reach heights of magical reality previously unattainable. Not because I have achieved godlike abilities, but because I am cultivating monk like humility. I have become filled with a renewed sense of wonder much like a child but tempered with the wisdom of nearly 50 years of life. I will be introducing a divination system based on the Five Crowns deck and travelling about to discover new spirits of place. All the while this blog will be my magical travelogue chronicling my adventures. Rocket Surgery, healing through technology, travel, and absurdity.
Plant your feet in the mycorrhozia, spread your astral wings, engage the Sacred Heart and blast off into the Outer Realms, Mutant Mage.