This is actually a reprint from my old blog which can be found at Sasquatch Jones. I am sharing here to participate in the Strategic Sorcery Blog Hop about magic of place. I no longer live here, but the lessons learned will stay with me a lifetime and have established a template for further work with the spirits of place. Enjoy.
I ask again, the answer is the same.
I have lived on this land for eight years now, but it only began to speak to me about two and a half years ago. This place, is only my interpretation of the vibratory sensation that pulses through me from the ground. The first time it spoke to me I was naïve enough to believe that I understood. Days later I went to talk to the land again, but at first I thought I misunderstood.
This time the tone was different, yet still familiar. At last I thought I understood, I was in a different place so that would account for the difference. I could have not been more wrong. The next weekend I returned to my original spot and began again to speak with this place, again it was different but somehow the same . Over a period of months I came to realize some very special things about this place.
First lesson I learned was about temporal relationships. This came to light after conversations at different times of day. Time is as intrinsic as space to this place, time and space are not separate. This place was as much a time specific event as it was a space specific event. This wisdom has lead to major shifts in all of my relationships. Just as this place and all that inhabit it, including me, are corporeal and spiritual in nature, so too is all of Creation.
I began to discern two distinct vibratory sensations; like a sound that you hear with your bones. The low background drone that is always there I have come to call the spirit of the land. The tonal variations and differing energy frequencies I have begun to think of as the spirit of place. This place is both two distinct aspects, each unique in itself, yet completely inseparable. This undifferentiated duality encompassing the whole relates directly to the shamanic and Taoist worldview, there is no true “other”. We are all here together. This profound truth continues to reshape my vision of Universe.
“Yes, the long memory is the most radical idea in this country. It is the loss of that long memory which deprives our people of that connective flow of thoughts and events that clarifies our vision, not of where we’re going, but where we want to go.” Bruce “Utah” Phillips 1935 – 2008
There are things that have been long forgotten, and they live on, in the land . The land does not forget, it remembers all that is, and how that shapes all that is becoming. The land has a long memory. Learning to speak to the land and more importantly to listen to the land will give one access to that long memory. This knowledge will open more doors than all the libraries in the world. I personally believe this due to the physical nature of this practice. You must actually go out into the world and interact with it to gain entry to this vault of knowledge.
There are places that sing with power and crowds flock to them. This is all well and good, but I know secret places, places that only those who know This Place can enter. There are many such places, but to find them one must develop a relationship with the land they belong to. When This Place first opened up and let me enter the imaginal realms, I was immediately cognizant of the similarities and differences between this realm and descriptions I had read of Fey realms.
Geography affects relation to spirit as much as time, whereas the Realm of Fey is universal it’s manifestation is definitely local. My wife has told me several times about the Sasquatch that live here. I will not go into a lengthy discussion about the physicality of these guardian spirits, I will simply say they are real in the same sense that all Faerie are. The first one I met resembled a bear in build, but its face was clearly Sasquatch, and it had horns like a goat. There are others here, hobs and gobs, but not quite like the ones you find in European lore. More earthy, and bony, like armadillos.Buffalo, and Bear, long gone are remembered and live on. Many of the people who once lived here, are still represented by their spirit, the land, like the body, never forgets.
There are others here too, angels, for lack of a better term. The form that appears to me most often, and seems to be THE Guardian Angel of this place, resembles a black-jaguar headed man, with enormous wings of rainbow colored flame. His presence is fiery and fierce like midsummer sun. He likes meat, and rainwater. This is a wild spirit, we never meet indoors. He belongs to the land. Others come and go, like Shadow Rabbit, and the Sun Sprites. None of this will make sense unless you have been to This Place, but the place you find will be different because it is not This Place.
The majority of my work over the last few years has been with the spirits of This Place and the land itself. When I said that I had spent a year and a day in the Earth, in many ways that was quite literal. My work could not happen and would be incomplete without this relationship. Everything is connected from the most mundane to the most fantastic. Here there are realms within realms all overlap and informing one another Holoarchically. This Place exists in many times and spaces and they are all This Place. This Place has a very long memory.
I have been lazy in the most productive way. My garden has lain fallow for two years now, I only garden in containers. My yard is a garden in the most magical of ways, wild edible, useful and magical plants have sprung up all over my yard. I have entered into a relationship with the land. I have studied its micro-biomes and it has given me instruction on how to be a better steward. A forest garden is my next major project with this land. I will mimic the natural processes at work at This Place and restore the land and garden it at the same time.
This land was once cleared for cattle grazing, for the last 30 years there has been a community here and people have reintroduced trees to the environment. This lead me to idea of working with land to create an environment that was managed and yet followed the natural variations and rhythms of This Place.The initial step involves letting the high side of the property return to woodland. The squirrels have been remarkably helpful, I now have a small forest of oaks, mesquite, and pecan, covering the front of the property. This transitions into grassland as the land slope towards an arroyo seco. It is important to keep this open because of flash floods.
More long range projects include improving the drainage in arroyo to minimize erosion. Farther down the line, a retention pond is in the works. The retention pond would be unnecessary if my neighbors had not filled the arroyo’s course through their property. It has created a far worse flooding problem. No worries, studying the lay of the land form my roof in winter I have discerned the natural water course and how to counteract my neighbors stupidity. Added bonus, more biodiversity, more complexity to This Place. We evolve together This Place. Much as the Basque is identified by his etxe, so to does This Place inform who I am. This Place and I work towards the same goals, and we both benefit from the relationship. This did not happen because I asked the land to bend to my will, no this happened because I asked the land what it willed and how I could help.
I do not subscribe to the Neo-platonic ideal of essences, however I do believe certain natural objects contain a more concentrated form of power than others. These objects of power, hint at an eternal aspect, but truly only speak to a longevity of form that is ultimately betrayed by ephemerality. Despite their hardiness and consistency of form, these objects like all others eventually break down and give way. Only the atoms and electro-magnetic energy they encompass are eternal. All other aspects are but vectors in the time-space continuum, more on that some other day.
As a child I collected rocks and stones. Not crystals or mineral specimen, but seemingly ordinary stones. They were not ordinary though, due to my good fortune, my family owned property in the Texas Hill Country. The predominant geologic feature of this region is limestone. This meant that as a child I collected many rocks that either contained fossils or holes. Yes my childhood rock collection was made of hagstones and fossils. Either keys for viewing the realms of fey, or bits of a past so distant as to hint at eternity itself. My two favorites were “Donut Rock” and “Big Heart”, everyone of my rocks had a name. Donut rock was roughly the size and shape of a donut with a hole right through the middle, he was my favorite. Yes I said “he”, like most children I was a natural animist, as I mentioned above everyone of my rocks had a name. These names were based on shape, size and personality, because yes, I talked to my rocks. They were my friends.
Big heart like the majority of my fossils was a bivalve known as a deer heart clam. I also had bits of ancient oyster beds, brachiopods, some snails, and a few sea urchins. These rock dinosaurs as I called them spoke to me of ancient oceans and fantastic landscapes that only my dreams could fully recognize. These frozen snapshots of a prehistoric world first taught me about the magic of stones. This leads me to the hagstones, long before I had ever read about hagstones or their uses among my Pre-Anglo Cyrmy (Welsh) ancestors, I knew that they were lenses to other realms. Combine the natural magic of a hagstone with the imagination of a child and ancestral magical memory, and the limits of what I viewed was boundless. These stones honed my visualization skills in a way that no other technique has. These stones were my teachers even before I realized such a thing was possible.
Today I own many stones, fossils, crystals, and minerals. I have spent many years studying their physical, geological, and esoteric properties. None of this subsequent education can compare to the initial lessons of my childhood earth angels. I am still a rock whisperer, a skill I learned before formal education. When I visit someplace new my first endeavor is to meet the natural geology of the area. I talk to the stones, the ancient stores of knowledge that know more, have seen more, and record more information than our species will ever comprehend. I feel blessed to have been instructed by these old wise ones. These earth angels at the base of all things, the literal base of all things.
In my grandmothers garden I first learned about the importance of roots. When we transplanted the seedlings in spring, I was reminded to be tender and gentle with the roots, because that’s from where the plants grew. Later the lesson was to always remember to include root vegetables in my diet to stay healthy and strong. It was the last lesson she taught me that intrigued me the most. As devout a Methodist as any that came, she was a repository of old German lore. When we picked carrots, then ones with two roots, i.e. the ones that resembled legs, were set aside and only eaten raw. These were special and could not be cooked. It was not until many years later when reading Jacob Boehme’s Signature of all Things, that I began to suss out my Grandmother’s treatment of these carrots. For her it may have just been tradition, but the origins of that tradition probably had similar connotations as the human shaped mandrake, and other people shaped roots.
At the family cabin, where we spent every hunting season and chunks of summer, there were multiple cedar stumps that had been unearthed so that the root structure was exposed. These inverted stumps were like a cross between driftwood and abstract sculpture. Their form, texture, and color fascinated me. These twisted, hard bits of wood spoke to me of the trees need to wrap around and push between rocks to find nutrient rich soil. This was a life lesson, despite the twists and turns these hardy souls continued to dig in searching for that which sustained them. I was completely in awe of these masters of reality. Thanks to these wonderful grotesqueries, I developed a lifelong love of root structures and the esoteric meaning contained within their shapes.
Now a days, I collect roots for medicine, for culinary purposes, for their esoteric associations, but mostly for their beauty. I resonate with the shape and color of roots, the smells they contain from the soil, their resins, and from molds and fungi. On my path I have learned to associate the roots with the dwelling of the plants souls. No matter how much a plant can teach me, its roots teach me more, these are residents of the underworld after all. The first residents of the underworld that I ever encountered and I still learn something new with every root I encounter. Roots are crossroads of sorts, an intersection between the world of plants, the world of minerals, and the previously mentioned underworld. To explore roots is to explore magic itself.
Bones. Every witch and sorcerer I know collects bones. Why? What is the allure? Is it simply that this is the most resilient parts of otherwise temporary beings or is there more to the story? In many traditions, skulls are used like spirit pots, as a place of residence for familiar spirits. Sometimes bones are used as points of contact for the grand spirit of the species they came from; wolf bones for wolf spirit, dog for dog, cat for cat, that sort of thing. Perhaps it is an ancient knowing that we possess, the reason behind statements like, “I feel it in my bones”or “to know something deep in down in one’s bones.” Maybe it has to do with the fact that bones, our own bones, are 60-70% mineral and this gives us a connection to the earth in the same way rock or stones do.
My personal fascination with bones, much like rocks, and roots, began quite early in my life. I was raised in a family of hunters and fishers, bones were just part of reality, leftovers after the flesh was consumed. In addition to stones and roots, I collected bones, still do. In my youth I was most fascinated with jawbones and teeth. The majority of my collection was either the molars or complete jawbones of white tail deer and feral hogs. How the teeth fit into the sockets was utterly amazing, I literally spent hours removing and reinserting teeth, especially after my “baby” teeth fell out. It was like a jigsaw puzzle from nature.
Bones and objects made of bone litter my altars and shrines. I have complete animal skeletons, skulls, whistles and trumpets, and even random teeth scattered about. I cannot eat an animal without keeping its bones for a while. I try to connect with it and thank it for nourishing me, then I “smoke” the bones and bury them. I keep bones to mix with my personal incense blends, sometimes I grind bones into fine powder to add to soups and stews. I make bone broth both for nutritional and ritual purposes. I even have a recipe for beer brewed with bones. Like stones and roots, bones have become an integral part of my path and practice.
Over the years, I have studied many different magical traditions and even dabbled in a few, eventually I have come to develop my own path and practice. Just as Blues Rock claims its lineage from both Blues, and Rock and Roll, yet is not quite either, so too is my way an amalgamation. Somewhere between Witchcraft, and Chaos Magic, I have forged the path of the Mutant Mage. Despite many techniques and much spell craft practiced, I find myself returning to certain basic materials over and over. Experimenting with Tibetan Chod rituals or communing with Hekate in Midnight Graveyard Sessions, I have come to rely on three allies more than any other. These three companions keep me connected to this world and aid me in transcending it. Semi-permanent as they are even they give way to impermanence and thus teach the way of all things. It is safe to say my path, my practice would not exist as it does without Stones, Roots, and Bones.
I have been watching Johnathan Strange & Mr Norell, and I am struck by how much it reminds me of the state of modern magic. There are many content to study without desire to actually produce results. There are others who present themselves as authorities when all they have managed is to rise within the ranks of lodges and societies that scarcely function as more than social clubs for bored suburbanites. Too often those who choose to be viewed as magicians in modern times, hide those things which would reveal them to be human. It is almost as though being well rounded is anathema to being a magician, as if revealing ones whole self-will somehow weaken their power. I have come to believe this is a fallacy which needs rectifying, magic does not exist in a vacuum.
When I started this blog, it took me some time to come up with a title. I wanted something that reflected who I was, not necessarily what my blog was about. Primarily I write about magic, but I try to write about it from the perspective of how it touches my everyday life. This is not a how to do magic type of journey, I believe that is an individual pursuit. This more about how MY magical journey enriches my life. I share experiences and folklore, the how to is up to the reader to suss out. So that is how the name of my blog came about, Tacos and Tequila are my Holy Sacraments. Tacos are pure magic in my opinion. Start with a tortilla, another variant of the ubiquitous round flat bread found in every culture, ever. Next add whatever you have, eggs, beans, rice, or all three it doesn’t matter. That is the magic, a simple tortilla wrapped around anything transforms it into something delicious and heavenly, may all my magic be so effective. The tortilla itself is nothing more than flour, water, yeast, and fat (usually lard), and yet through a wondrous alchemical transformation these simple ingredients form the portable, edible food wrapper of the gods. Tacos are poor people food, but you do not need to be poor to appreciate them, they transcend socio-economic boundaries. May all my magic be so flexible. Whereas I have to be in the mood for $100 a plate chef prepared meals, and yes the mood does strike me, tacos are always an option, without question. I aspire for my magic to be like tacos, simple, ubiquitous, versatile, and delicious.
Tequila is my Soma. A holy elixir that opens gateways, but one that must be used with caution. I am not a heavy drinker, in fact, I am entirely a social drinker and being an introverted recluse that makes me a very light drinker. Usually I drink beer in most social settings, but there are those special occasions where something more is required. On campout, long weekends, rainy days, and winter retreats, nothing beats the golden warmth of tequila. In a drop of tequila I taste the earth, the summer sun, and the highlands of Jalisco. When shared with others the conversation flows as the warmth penetrates deep into the bones, deep thoughts and precious intimacies are shared. May my magic be so inspirational. When shared with my spirit allies a bond of friendship and loyalty is forged that rewards us both. May my magic always be reciprocal. Tequila like tacos is made from simple ingredients, blue agave cacti, water, and yeast. Like the tacos a bit of alchemy transforms these ingredients into something spectacular. A word of caution, Tequila like all potions must be treated with respect, too much will hurt with a vengeance not soon forgotten. May my magic be like tequila, strong, lucid, intoxicating, and a little bit dangerous.
I try to model my magic a bit like Tacos and Tequila. In addition to the references I have made above, it my desire that my magic be made of simple ingredients, mundane one might say, that are transformed through the agency of spirit, alchemy, transcendent power, or even fermentation, into something more spectacular. Made into an essence, a power, a force that far exceeds the sum of its parts. Something that can only exist because of a combination that must be executed precisiely to yield proper results. Something that exemplifies “solve et coagula”. This is how I model my magic and why Tacos and Tequila are sacraments to me.
I love the word “inspiration”, it simultaneously means being mentally stimulated towards creative ends and inhalation. This dovetails with both the ancient greek “pneuma” and the hindu concept of “prana”. With pneuma we have a word that both means breath and spirit, or the vital, creative force of a person. Prana is a concept of spirit and creative lifeforce found in all things needed to live. This is usually illustrated in the following way; food, water, and breath all have prana. One can go weeks without food, days without water, but only minutes without breath, therefore breath has the greatest amount of prana. Very different cultures, same concept, spirit, that is the creative force that gives us life is found in the breath.
The idea that life is in the breath along with the force we consider creativity leads to some very interesting considerations for magic. Most important is the realization that both life and creativity are forces that exist externally to one’s being. Through inhalation these forces are brought to dwell within oneself. To my mind this settles the entire debate about whether spirit is external or a fabrication of the mind. This also explains why creativity is not necessarily an indwelling quality. I could at this point get into very long winded (see what I did there) explanation about the metaphysics involved with the chemical reactions in the brain that are a result of this interaction, but that is really a book in itself. Instead I will say with each breath the holy creative fire is stoked within our cranial organ and thus life is maintained as well as creativity.
This all leads to the topic of meditation. If one wants to be more effective with magic there is nothing more powerful or efficacious than meditation. Many balk at this idea because it seems to simple, if I have learned anything in my 30 plus years as a mage, it is that simplicity is the hallmark of the greatest magics known. Meditation quite simply is sitting still, quieting the mind, and breathing. That’s it. Breathing however is the process of ingesting life force, spirit, and creativity. Want more effective magic? What could aid one more than building up stores of spirit, life force, and creativity? Not to mention the added benefits of being able to focus concentration, control of one’s own mind, and knowing how to take a deep breath to clear distracting thoughts. Just like Tacos and Tequila, a little bit of alchemical transformation turns breath into something spectacular. Breath is the greatest ally a mage can have.
Astrologically speaking we are in a very interesting time, Saturn moved into a partie square with Neptune which means liars will be exposed and deceptions uncovered. It is very hard in this day and age of virtual interactions to determine who is authentic and who is creating a character. It is my sincere hope that during this astrological time the veil will drop and those who are authentic will be able to move forward. This is perhaps a far-fetched dream, but it is true to who I am. Authenticity however can determined by one single factor, simplicity that transforms into the spectacular. That wonderful alchemy that helps one find gold in the compost.
My personal gauge for determining authenticity is not lineage or membership in any association, no it is much simpler than that. I can tell when someone is authentic because they are willing to go all in. What I mean by this is when you read an herbal witches blog and she shares the wonder and joy of introducing her child to the forest. Cartomancers who share how much they love their siblings and their pets. Sorcerers who specialize in helping others to be better sorcerers themselves and yet share family vacation stories or tales of plastic toy chasing cats. Brave souls unafraid to be themselves in a public space. I’m not suggesting that to be authentic one must share every aspect of their life, but rather that one is true enough to themselves that they lack fear over being open. When one is well rooted in themselves the need to play a role or present one side of one self as the totality drops away.
Whether one specializes in cartomancy, astrology, herbalism, or scrying, that is not all one does, nor should it be. I believe that all too often that when one works to be a well rounded magician an erroneous state of mind takes hold that convinces the individual that they must excel at all schools of magic. Rather than live a fulfilling life filled with variety and adventure, these poor souls become consumed pursuing the next new thing. Pursuing dilettantism rather than developing their super power. There is nothing wrong with a herbalist studying cartomancy, in fact, one may excel at both, but not all herbalists must study cartomancy and vice versa. A great astrologer may find more inspiration in physics or the poetry of Sandra Cisneros than in divination by dice or dominoes. A herbalist might be inspired more by zymurgy than alchemy, then again perhaps both. The point being that truly informed magic comes about from engaging with the world rather than withdrawing from it. This engagement when coupled with inhaled spirit and creative force awakens one to the strange alchemy that transforms ordinary things into spectacular sacraments, much like Tacos and Tequila. The ability to find magic within the mundane is authentic and practical magic. Very practical magic indeed.
Every night this week it has been at least Ninety Five degrees Fahrenheit at Nine p.m. I grew up in Texas so I have always dealt with heat, nothing new there, but the part of Central Texas where I live now is slowly changing. Not just the desertification of the environment, but even the spirits are changing. The local spirits and the spirits of the overall culture. I have been witness to and participant in this transformation. I suspect what I am experiencing is just the beginning and that an acceleration of the process is about to happen. Fire has a way of changing all that it touches, and these flames are growing higher by the minute.
Today is July 22nd the Feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, she has just been elevated by Pope Francis. Before today this was just a memorial, most importantly to my mind is the fact that he did this with a Papal Decree titled “Apostolorum Apostola” or Apostle of the Apostles. He did not just elevate St. Mary Magdalene, he elevated the status of women everywhere.Archbishop Arthur Roche, secretary of the congregation, wrote St. Mary Magdalene’s feast day is a call for all Christians to “reflect more deeply on the dignity of women, the new evangelization and the greatness of the mystery of divine mercy.”
In the days to come it will be very important to remember that regardless of your path. Ill winds are blowing and the dignity of women, of people of color, and those who speak for Non-Human People will be tested. The greatness of the mystery of divine mercy might be hard to see as we enter a period of seeming darkness and destruction. That is how Saturn likes to present itself as it transits through Sagittarius, but we must be cautious, with Saturn, a desire to gain control is present, through our belief systems, by imposing our ideas on others. Look around there are plenty of examples of this in the world. What we are really called on to do is define structures and commit to them. In a world of instant gratification and Amazon prime and wine, we often feel confined by structure, definitions, and commitment. There is a shift happening and right now it looks as though we are left with nothing but blackened earth and hot ash.
These new structures will be born out of those of us who have eyes to see to share our visions, to help define the new structures and be committed to the process. For many long centuries the world has held up Eve as a symbol of purity and grace, of Virginal Sacristy, when in fact she spread Death where once there was life. Now that flames have come and blackened the world with anger and stupidity, those of us who have always seen through the lies about Lillitu and St Mary Magdalene have an opportunity to correct those mistakes. Being the first to witness the resurrection Mary proclaims life from the place of death; the Tomb. Where I live this can be seen in the stark symbolism of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe merging with and being eclipsed in some places by Santisima Muerte. My belief is that this is not an accident but points to greater currents at work in the world. St Mary Magdalene the Whore has been elevated to same status as the rest of the Apostles, actually she has been called no less than the Apostle of Apostles. We live in interesting times.
We have come to a cultural crossroads where every one of us has become a Monster. Every thing each individual does makes them a suspect, their diet, their politics, their gender and sexuality, and even their brand preferences. So many trivial things have been utilized by the media, politicians, and corporations to separate individuals from one another. divide and conquer is just good business these days. This makes community, true community, free from triviality, a revolutionary act.
As the Mayans predicted, our tools have turned against us. The phone spies on you. Your television knows more about you than your family does. Multiple devices keep us separated even when we are in the same room. That which we love has been perverted to cause us pain, and in the end feel alienated from the world itself. We are all creatures of the underworld now and such we are not allowed to love, only to lust after the next great thing. Learning to be content and to sit still in the moment is an act of rebellion.
Individualism is heralded as the great achievement of our time. To be successful, one must be strong and isolated; an island. Despite the push for greater individual freedom, more people find themselves depressed and unhappy. I believe we are missing an important part of life that has been with us for millennia; we are social beings. Constantly being reminded of how we fall short others by our lack of material possessions or consumer goods, pushes into competition that only serves the elite. Eschewing predetermined social norms in favor of humanity is a revolutionary act.
We have entered a time where we must seek the tabula rasa. A place where all possibilities exist simultaneously, an empty space waiting to be filled with the best we have to offer. The bone laid bare. A destination free from the hubris and dross of a system that was never designed for you and me. In this place we reconnect with our mythopoetic reality. Here we will find the Roots that our rootless society needs. We need dreamers, mystics, and poets; sorcerers, witches, and wizards; Reality Engineers, Mutant Mages, creators of culture to craft new myths to carry us forward. Forward into the great cosmic ocean. To have hope for the future is the greatest revolutionary act of them all.
There is a secret to magic that most witches and sorcerers hide from, it is all illusion. I don’t mean this in the sense of magic being imaginary, although it certainly, or to say that it it is unreal, although by it’s very nature it must be. What I am driving at is something closer to the Hindu concept of Maya. All of reality is comprised of illusion. No matter what you think something”is”, you have only begun to scratch the surface of it’s totality. As we outgrow this planet we must embrace this illusion and open our minds further. The Cosmic must become local.
Whether one believes a creator made the cosmos from dust or that life exists because of cosmic panspermia, one thing is certain we sprang forth from the void. This void is what awaits us on the other side of the veil when we call forth to spirits in the dark of night. Out there is in here. Our Cosmic Mother awaits us, as much as we long to embrace her. This realm of Sacred Fire comes with a caveat though, where we must go is off the map and there be monsters.
As many who have worked with spirits has attested in the past some spirits have teeth. I believe that every first encounter leaves one shaken and disturbed, this is natural. One cannot simply have an experience that challenges all that has been taught over a lifetime and not be disturbed. That perhaps is part of the process, an initiation so to speak. The time has come for a system wide shock to the consciousness. Many factions and forces have resisted this for quite some time, namely from fear, but evolution will not be hampered. We must return to the stars.
The time for Cosmic Witchcraft is upon us, a melding of mad science, psychedelic shamanism, and culture baggage free sorcery. The past is a guidepost, the present a prop, but the future is where our incantations are always aimed. Daemonic entities, the Good Neighbors, Zeti Reticulans, no matter the name they have been pointing to the same conclusion, we are more than we understand. If we simply begin to accept that Universe is far more complicated and magical than anything imagined, perhaps our imaginations will grow right along with our intellect.The dawn of the Mutant mage is upon us, seawater can be converted to energy and our blood is basically seawater. Just as ancient institutions gain new perspectives, and the myths of the industrial age crumble, we must feel the ocean in our soul.
The Cosmic Ocean that stretches above us and beneath us, for the heavens are the Underworld. We who seek to merge with the darkness must accept our place among the stars. To truly understand the Other and its place in our lives we will become reborn as Other. As above so below.
Disclosure: I have not read Gordon White’sStar Ships, although I have ordered it. I have listened to his interview on the Higher Side Chats, which I highly recommend. Any similarities between this post and his work is not only coincidental, but also highly synchronous.
The first thing I notice about the Mezcal is that I can taste its life. The dirt of the desert, the sun, and even the sparse rain. This then is its spirit, so many thoughts rush in. Last night, here in Boquillas, Mexico, under the influence of Hongos and Peyote, Mescalito introduced me to the Twelve. I was there with them and they are returning to us. Not sure what that means, but I know it’s important. Now for tacos and tequila.
The year was 1995, the same year Klaus Schmidt began to uncover Göbeckli Tepe, a synchronicity that has not been lost on me. The above paragraph is from one of my journals. I was in Mexico, in a town along the border called Boquillas. I was staying at a very friendly Bed and Breakfast, recommended to by my mentor at the time, Wes Nations. In order to protect the innocent I will simply call this humble establishment, Casa de Hongos. At Casa de Hongos, in addition to tacos on home made tortillas, and local Mezcal, I was provided with Hongos (which I believe were Psilocybe Aztecorum) and Peyote. My journey into the desert that night was a journey to the Heart of Infinity. It was exactly as María Sabinadescribes it;
“The more you go inside the world of teonanácatl, the more things are seen. And you also see our past and our future, which are there as a single thing already achieved, already happened…. Millions of things I saw and knew. I knew and saw God: an immense clock that ticks, the spheres that go slowly around, and inside the stars, the earth, the entire universe, the day and the night, the cry and the smile, the happiness and the pain. He who knows to the end the secret of teonanácatl can even see that infinite clockwork.”
Teonanácatl is an Aztec word that means, “Flesh of God”, and I believe it. We do not need to travel to stars to communicate with Alien Intelligence, we only have to eat its flesh. That night in Boquillas, I did just that.
I don’t know if it was the combination of the Hongos and Peyote, or the desert air, or a steady diet of tacos and tequila, perhaps all of the above, but this was one of the few psychedelic experiences of my life where I entered an “Alternate Reality.” Not really a big fan of that term as I believe we simultaneously exist in several realities concurrently, but that is another blog post entirely. That night was the second time I encountered Mescalito, the spirit of the Peyote plant, and beings I refer to as “the Others”, more on that in a moment, but more significantly it was the first time I met “The Twelve.”
After ingestion of the peyote and hongos, I began to hike into the desert a little ways. I had scouted the area during the day so as to not completely lose my way at night. I first felt Mescalito’s presence to my left, a buzzing like metallic insects and increased heat signaled his arrival. As I turned to greet him, I noticed “the Others”, they always make me apprehensive, not sure why, something about their Mantid presence unsettles me. This was when I knew it would be no ordinary journey.
Mescalito lets me know we have a long journey ahead of us, I express concern about becoming lost in the desert. He laughs and says that I will be “returned.” This does not comfort me. So I climb up onto a boulder as he suggests, That is when the first flash of light hits me. I say hit because it felt very physical, like something rippled through me. Suddenly I was very warm despite the chill of the desert air. When the second light hit, I was no longer looking at the desert, it was more like one of those Google Deep Dream images. When the third and final light hit, I felt as if I had been lifted up into some sort of sphere. That is when I met them.
I was in the center of a space that I cannot accurately describe, it felt vast and suffocating simultaneously. They were all around me in a circle, my impression was of robed figures with animal masks. The masks were animated, shifting, the “floor” crawled with snakes. I recognized the animals, they looked old depictions of Witch’s Sabbaths. Fox, Boar, Bull, Bear, Ram, Crow, and Vulture are all I remember. I tried to make them fit into Egyptian mythology for a while, but realized they were older somehow.
They had a message for me, and this is it in its entirety, as well as I was able to remember for my notes the next day.
“In the beginning we were Twelve. We were all there. You are all our Descendants. We were the First. We will be the Last. We are returning. Everything will change as You remember. Everything awakens. We are the Twelve.”
It seemed much longer, and I am still unpacking everything that transmitted to me on that night twenty some odd years ago. There was much, much more, but this the part that is relevant to this tale. I awoke in an alleyway three blocks from Casa de Hongos. The Nineties began to get even weirder.
I have mentioned my mentor Wes Nations before, but never fully explained what an amazing impact he has had on my life. Wes was my manager at a print shop where I worked the graveyard shift. He was the reason I got the job. Wes, printed a zine called Crash Collusion, it was as close to Gordon White’s Rune Soup, as anything else I have encountered in my life.
Wes and I met in 1993, when I moved to Austin, Texas. He was publishing a zine that covered the Fringe Culture of the time. Conspiracy theories, magic, the OTO, psychedelics and UFO’s were featured in every edition. I gained a better understanding on all these topics thanks to Wes’ research and the contribution of others to his zine. This is when I first made the connection between, magic, entheogens, and Alien Encounters. Then one day Wes gave me a copy of Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallée. My life has quite literally never been the same. All of this was six months before the X-Files. 93’s all the way down.
Wes taught me about alternate realities, entheogen cultivation and preparation, and ritual magic. I am forever in his debt. He was the first Mutant Mage I knew. He told me where to find the Casa de Hongos in Boquillas. He was the first person to tell me about Burning Man and Çatalhöyük, the precursor to Göbeckli Tepe.
Klaus Schmidt began excavating Göbeckli Tepe in 1995, the same year that I met “the Twelve.” There are many hypotheses that attempt to explain the function and importance of this complex. I believe along with many others that it was a temple complex. I also believe that it was constructed as an homage to encounters with “alien” i.e., non-human intelligence. However that is where I make a departure from most hypotheses.
A description from Wikipedia
“At this early stage of the site’s history, circular compounds or temene first appear. They range from 10 to 30 metres in diameter. Their most notable feature is the presence of T-shaped limestone pillars evenly set within thick interior walls composed of unworked stone. Four such circular structures have been unearthed so far. Geophysical surveys indicate that there are 16 more, enclosing up to eight pillars each, amounting to nearly 200 pillars in all. The slabs were transported from bedrock pits located approximately 100 metres (330 ft) from the hilltop, with workers using flint points to cut through the limestone bedrock.
Two taller pillars stand facing one another at the centre of each circle. Whether the circles were provided with a roof is uncertain. Stone benches designed for sitting are found in the interior. Many of the pillars are decorated with abstract, enigmatic pictograms and carved animal reliefs. The pictograms may represent commonly understood sacred symbols, as known from Neolithiccave paintings elsewhere. The reliefs depict mammals such as lions, bulls, boars, foxes, gazelles and donkeys; snakes and other reptiles, arthropods such as insects and arachnids; and birds, particularly vultures. At the time the edifice was constructed, the surrounding country was likely to have been forested and capable of sustaining this variety of wildlife, before millennia of settlement and cultivation led to the near–Dust Bowl conditions prevalent today. Vultures also feature prominently in the iconography of Çatalhöyük and Jericho. Professor of Archaeology Steven Mithen, suggests that in the early Neolithic culture of Anatolia and the Near East the deceased were deliberately exposed in order to be excarnated by vultures and other carrion birds. (The head of the deceased was sometimes removed and preserved — possibly a sign of ancestor worship.) This, then, would represent an early form of sky burial, as still practiced by Tibetan Buddhists and by Zoroastrians in Iran and India.”
First, I cannot ignore that the majority of the structures uncovered contain T-shaped pillars that have animal “totems” carved onto them. The base of most of these have snakes on them. Each pillar has a different animal that seems to be dominant. The animals in question? Foxes, Boars, Bulls, Rams, Vultures, Bears, Geese, and others. The number of pillars in the outer rings? TWELVE. Yep, first time I read that I experienced vertigo and had a minor panic attack. The message of the Twelve echoed in my head like a bad dream.
“It seems to me, in the light of the obvious anthropomorphic symbolism found in the very design of these T-shaped pillars, that they were intended to represent humans. Yet, if this is the case, how do the numerous and varied animal depictions figure into human representation? I would suggest that these animals are similar to what Schmidt describes as totems, i.e.emblems of family/clan that are used symbolically to represent that family/clan.Yet my interpretation varies from Schmidt in that it seems the only way to explain the wide variance in animal taxon and type and size of imagery is that each enclosure represents 12 individuals.”
“Each enclosure represents 12 individuals.” Please do tell me more Mr. Ramsay.
“Whereas Schmidt would view the animal totems as a collection of symbols for the whole group, I would argue that they are specific to singular people, rather than a whole tribe.”
This is akin to my own personal Roswell Incident. I can hear both Mescalito and Wes laughing at me. The only part of these hypotheses that fails to satisfy me is the “T” shape of the pillars. Why this shape for people? Perhaps these people had contact with an “alien” intelligence that has been a fellow traveler on Spaceship Earth all along.
It is no secret that I am a fan of the Blessed Mycelium. Much like Terrence Mc Kenna, I believe that fungus has contributed to the evolution of our species. I am a “Stoned Ape Theory” proselytizer and devotee. On that night in Boquillas so many years ago, Hongos introduced me to the Twelve. Think about the shape of the fruiting body of fungus mycelium. That’s right in profile it resembles a “T”.
Now I am going to travel the realms of pure conjecture. Perhaps these Twelve figures that Ramsay believes to be individuals, and I believe I have been contacted by, are the first twelve humans to be actively aware of what we call consciousness. Magic, imagination, consciousness, religion, and communication with “alien” intelligence are most likely all the same thing. What if Göbeckli Tepe is a monument to the First Twelve fully aware humans? The moment we left Eden and became thinkers, instead of purely instinctual? Perhaps the “T” shape is an acknowledgment of this fact? A combination of the Blessed Mycelium and expanded consciousness. This is just supposition on my behalf, but I cannot shake the feeling that I am on to something.
The Twelve still intrude into my life from time to time and I cannot forget what they told me in the desert that night. That transmission is like a fractal, the deeper I go down the Rabbit Hole the more that is revealed. No matter how far I go down my spiral path, I keep returning to Home, which is in the Desert, with fresh tacos and tequila on the table, a bowl of Hongos and room for Twelve.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” – Mathew 7:13
What does it mean to “Open a Way”? As compared to “Removing Obstacles”, are these two individual acts, or somehow intrinsically contained within each other? Opener of Ways and Remover of Obstacles, called by the names, Ganesha, Papa Legba, St. Peter, Mercury, St. Expedite, Hermekate, Mother Mary, Santisima Muerte, and Hecate, lead in some way through the darkness and help us to find Our path. So again I ask, what does it mean to “Open a Way”? I believe for most it is a very simple operation that is completely functional, but I have found a deeper wisdom. It’s down here in the mycelium, and I suspect I am not the only one.
In the garden, right beneath our feet is a great mystery revealed. There in the Mycelium, the answer, and no I do not refer to ingestion, at least not directly. The forest floor is alive, as are desert soils, more on that later. Everything that dies and falls to the ground in a forest breaks down into nutrients that end up distributed through out the entire ecosystem because of Mycelium. That’s right Mycelium Networks function like the neural network of the plant world. We can communicate with Non-Human intelligence, right now, on this planet. In a natural setting, plants and animals breaking down is the beginning of building soil and distributing nutrients. At some point everything passes through the mycelium. If you die in the woods, or any where else for the matter, except extreme cold, mushrooms will eat you, as it should be. In Death We Are United.
I know not much of a revelation, but think about how humanity is corrupting the process. When my time comes, I want to be left in the woods, but I will probably get one of those Mycology-suits so that I can return to the cycle of Life, Death, and Rebirth, and become reunited once more. About now you should be asking yourself one thing, what does this have to do with Opening Ways? Can’t slip anything past the astute observer. Death opens a way, actually many ways. My friend Ellen says, Death is when your soul leaves corporeal form almost like how a mirror shatters. At first every thing is there, some pieces may be saved for sentimental reasons. Most will get lost over time and as each piece leaves so too a part of our soul, until it fades away. I love the beauty and poetry expressed here. Death is an Opener of Ways and Remover of Obstacles. I can see where this will be helpful later on. Thank you Blessed Mycelium, I find peace in knowing that we will be united in death.
Down on the Corner
“You don’t need a penny just to hang around, But if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down? Over on the corner there’s a happy noise. People come from all around to watch the magic boy.” – Down on the Corner- Creedence Clearwater Revival
Back at the Crossroads one can see nothing but Possibility, that initial rush of inspiration always seems to get exaggerated. This is the Seven of Cups. This moment when you have chosen to move, this is when the Way is Opened. How far depends on how fully we commit to the process. You can not progress without work. And when you are doing your enchantments, reciting your prayers, and asking the spirits for their aid, remember to ask for discernment, motivation, and the removal of procrastination, St. Expedite is especially helpful here.
Here in the flux we imagine our grandest moments to come, pulling upon all we have known. This journey is infinite, yet familiar. So we make a bargain in the Goblin’s Market, and wait to see if our offer has been accepted. When it has, we head off like so many hapless RPG parties on an adventure to who knows where. That’s all we have, an inkling, a possibility, and a map of where the treasure lay hidden. Down the Opened Way we traipse, full of hope and wonder. Somehow inevitably the treasure is never what we imagine it to be, almost always the real treasure is found in the journey.
A wide range of goods is on sale at Lagunilla Market. Image by Katja Gaskell / Lonely Planet
When we seek to Open a Way, or Remove Obstacles, we are asking to be made aware of what we possess to overcome challenges. In this way we also become aware of what we lack, often making our overall path a spiral. We find ourselves visiting the same places over and over until we learn to break the vessel. What I mean by this is that some lessons we learn over and over, as if we are too blind to see that a gallon jug will not hold five gallons no matter how many times one attempts to make it all fit. At some point we need a bigger vessel. These are the blessed AHA! moments, illumination, inspiration, a Way Opened. At the Crossroads we come to find a way forward. This often leads us to unfamiliar territory, or at least it seems so at first.
“He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before. He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again, you might say he found a key for every door” – John Denver Rocky Mountain High
The first time I did psychedelics with intent, i.e. ritualistically, I had just finished reading High Priest by Dr. Leary. Blessed Mycelium, took me home to a place I had never been before, a Way Opened. There in the Hill Country of Texas, I was simultaneously in a place familiar and completely foreign. The Sacred Hunting Grounds had merged with my Mytho-Poetic inner landscape and my journey would never be the same again. In that moment I was born again. The Spiral Path had just begun to reveal itself.
There are many symbols that seem to have grave import to my journey, that I am both surprised and comforted when I come across them. Among these are keys, torches, stars, skulls, and the Twelve (more on this in a later post.) At the tender age of nineteen, I really had no idea what I was asking for or what direction my path would take. The spirits had already been busy at the task of Opening My Way, first among them to reveal himself was the Master of the Crossroads. He has worn many names over the years, Legba, Ganesha, and St. Peter are just a few. Always my companion, this spirits presence has never let me forget it is always about choice and compromise.
Every pact, every ritual, every decision, comes with an understanding that I have chosen which way NOT to go. Whereas I like to believe that asking a spirit to Open a Way increases my possibilities, the reality is that it narrows them down. Opening a Way is choosing one Reality Tunnel over the others. As the song says there’s always time to change the road your on, but this involves visiting the Crossroads again. Upon my most recent visit to Crossroads I met new friends, or so I thought.
As I have mentioned before, I have a habit of falling backwards and landing upright, like a clumsy cat. I always seem to meet my spirits on back roads, forgotten paths, and sideways alleys. The last time I worked with La Santisima, I did an Abre Camino ritual, and I have been blessed a continual parade of Rebel Saints, Shape-shifting Tricksters, and Blessed Misfits. The perfect Companions for a Mutant Mage. Into this picture San Antonio de Padua and El Niño de Atocha, kept making regular appearances. Intrigued by their repeated presence, I finally yielded and met them formally. Unsurprisingly, I discovered their connection to Ellegua, that is Papa Legba. All these years later, no matter how many Ways are Opened, I keep Coming Home. I suppose that was all I was seeking all along, the road to that place where the Ordinary and Extra-Ordinary are ONE.
“Wherever crows are, there is magic. They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength. They remind us to look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life. They are messengers calling to us about the creation and magic that is alive within our world everyday and available to us.” Ted Andrews –Animal Speak
In my quarter century plus of doing this thing called magic, I am constantly surprised by one tendency among practitioners, over and over again. To my mind it seems to be a need to over complicate things, to theirs it is simplifying things. I’m not sure why some believe this or when the tendency started but I do know it is pervasive; and I tend to think of it as a zero sum situation. The situation of which I speak is ignorance of the Magic of the Ordinary. Everyday freaking magic. It is literally the air you breathe.
Don’t think air is magical? Try going without it for ten minutes. Everything you do is dependent on air. Without air magic is meaningless, and thankfully, the overwhelming majority of the time we don’t even have to think about it. Neither do we have to consciously will our heart to pump blood nor ask the sun to bless us with it’s presence. This is all everyday, mundane, ordinary experience. In no way does this diminish the magic of it all. Even from a purely scientific point of view, everything has to exist so that you can exist, and that is damn near miraculous.
So the problem I see plaguing individuals is this; once one learns how to create shortcuts in the reality matrix with charms, spells, and spirit work, all of a sudden one wants to do everything with magic. I have been there, I understand, really I do, it is very exciting discovering this new aspect of ourselves. There is an exuberance to learn everything one can manipulate in this way. What? Does manipulation throw off the glamour? Make no mistake, all magic is manipulation. Relax, thankfully one does not need to do everything with magic. Most of it is on auto-pilot.
Lessons from the Garden
“In the early spring, many of us who follow earth-based spiritual paths begin planning our gardens for the coming season. The very act of planting, of beginning new life from seed, is a ritual and a magical act in itself.” – Patty Wigington – Magical Gardening Around the World
Read the quote above it has the quintessence of Ordinary Magic summed up in the second sentence. “The very act of planting, of beginning new life from seed, is a ritual and a magical act in itself.” One of the two things I tell people who are interested in learning magic is this, learn to grow something from seed. All magic is akin to gardening. You must think about your goal; are going to grow a sunflower or broccoli? You must acquire the supplies, i.e., the seed, dirt etc. You must prepare a space for the operation to take place. You must and I cannot stress this enough, do the work. Take the garden, you have to research the placement based on light, run off, soil type, and many other things. In addition to the aforementioned preparation, perhaps you need compost or a fence, maybe a trellis. Then you must dig in, literally, the seeds won’t plant themselves.
This I believe saves some from the trap of “enchanted seeds”. What I mean by this is that one cannot simply go out buy a packet of seeds and enchant them to grow. Go ahead try it, if you are successful please let me know. I can scribble sigils all over the packet, I can call upon Tammuz, Ceres, and even St. Francis of Assisi, but it will be of no avail if I do not do some very Ordinary Magic. Namely that of planting the seeds and providing sunshine and water for them. This is the fallacy, I see most often, some idea that magic allows us to ignore or circumvent the magic that Universe has already invested into our day to day existence. We are miracles, amazing products of genetics, evolution, and biology, tap into your power. You are magic participating in a magical process called life.
Why bother to do magic if everything is already magical? Think of Deliberate Magic as being like the garden. If we walk outside and just expect to find tomatoes or okra growing in the yard or on the patio, we will very likely be disappointed. Instead we could randomly throw seeds into the same space and wait to see what happens. The best results however are when we apply knowledge and skill to bringing about our desired outcome. Find the best soil and sunlight conditions. Plant the seeds that will yield the plants you want. Water and feed the plants that grow so that you reap the rewards of harvest. To do these things requires commitment, trust in the process, and work. This is no different than magic, in fact, it is Magic.
Lessons from the Saints
Most Holy Death
The favors that you have
to grant me:
Help me overcome all
difficulties so that for me
nothing is impossible,
no obstacles, barriers,
no enemies, that no one
does me any harm,
that everyone is my friend
and that I am victorious
in all my dealings and things I do;
May my house be filled with all the good
virtues of your protection
I work with Folk Saints, and every oracion or prayer usually begins the same way, “Help me.” Notice it does not say do for me, or make it happen without any effort on my part. Nope. Help me. That’s what spirits do, they help, goad, prod, push, and force us if need be, to pay attention. Honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. The things I have earned, through hard work, perseverance, and sheer will power are the things I value most. My business, my family, my animal and spiritual companions, I know these things will not fail me because I have put in the work. All of my prayers to the Saints begin the same way, help me to accomplish my goal. This can happen either through dreams, a visitation by St. Serendipitous, or even a stranger saying just the right words at the right time. The methods of revelation are not what is most important here, what I do with them is what determines my success.
Let me illustrate with a story. I know a man who loves to play the lottery and do those little scratch off cards. He calls on St Expedite to help him win, and amazingly he wins often, but never too much. Now some may believe the Saint is letting him down, but this is not so. When he does win, he uses the money to buy more lottery tickets. The problem here is that he has tapped into power to increase his odds of winning, but instead of utilizing the Magic of the Ordinary, he squanders his winnings. subsequently he is constantly in debt. If he were to use his magic strategically, something Jason Miller has built a career teaching people to do, he would achieve much more. Instead of buying more tickets he could pay his electric bill, or invest in tools to ply his trade, perhaps even open a bank account. There are far too many stories of individuals who have won big in the lottery only to end up broke again because they did not understand the mundane magic of finance. A little knowledge goes a long way, and knowledge is a fundamental aspect of the Magic of the Ordinary. You cannot do the work without the knowledge of how to do the work. It is that simple.
When the Saints do help me, it is my responsibility to use what I am given to achieve my goals. This means utilizing the most mundane Magic of the Ordinary there is; WORK. Yes, as Ru Paul sings, you better work. Work is definitely magic, despite how dreary it may seem on the surface. Work is what turns logs into boards and boards into a structure. Work is what turns certain rocks into silver and silver into jewelry. Magic with out work is wishful thinking, which might make you more positive, but it rarely if ever produces results. If I have a broken leg, I am not going to use Magic alone to heal it. I am going to the doctor to get the bone set and get a cast to protect it during the healing process. I will put an image of Don Pedrito Jaramillo upon my cast to aid its recovery and to insure a beneficial outcome. I will also ask the Saints to help me, and perhaps someone will gift me with Boneset or Calcium Supplements. It is still up to me to do research and use these gifts appropriately, for instance if you are not familiar with boneset, you might use incorrectly based on it’s name alone and that would be a mistake. Saints protect us indeed. Whatever your endeavor you’re never too clever to further endeavor. Never discount the Magic of the Ordinary, your very life depends upon it.
“There’s a 750 Norton bustin down January’s door hang on St. Christopher on the passenger side open it up tonight the devil can ride hang on St. Christopher now don’t let me go”– Tom Waits – Hang on St. Christopher
I came to St. Christopher the same way I come to all things, walking backwards down country lanes, lost highways, and forgotten back roads. This seems to be my preferred way of travel through this life. Who better to meet upon this serpentine path I traverse than the Patron of Travelers? St. Christopher has such an interesting back story that seems to fit well with other allies in practice. His provenance is amazing, let me share some of it with you. Born under the name of Offerus, he was the son of a Persian king. The story goes that his mother prayed to the Blessed Virgin and when he was born he was dedicated to Apollo and Machmet. A man of great strength he dedicated himself to the service of the Devil. Put off by the Devil’s weakness he went into the wilderness and met a hermit. The hermit converted him and refusing to fast or pray he began instead to use his strength in the name of service. This consisted of mostly carrying people across a strong river on his back. One such passenger,was a child, who continually grew heavier, so that it seemed to him as if he had the whole world on his shoulders. The child, on inquiry, made himself known as the Creator and Redeemer of the world. To prove his statement the child ordered Christopher to fix his staff in the ground. The next morning it had grown into a palm tree bearing fruit. This caused many people in the vicinity to convert, and earned Christopher as he was now known a place in prison. Like many martyrs he was tortured and beheaded when he refused to renounce his new path.
Let me point out a few of my favorite parts of this story. First his mother, like many of those who practice Traditional Craft, exhibits a dual observance, praying to the Blessed Virgin and dedicating her son to Pagan Gods. Tasty morsel there. Then he decides to serve the Devil, familiar trope emerging. Finding the Devil weak or perhaps limited? He retreats to the wilderness, where he meets a mysterious hermit. Perhaps he became a hermit, either way he converts to a new path, but does not take it up wholeheartedly. This is evidenced by his refusal to fast or pray, very unusual for the time and for one who became sainted later on. Instead he continues to have pride in his strength, even though he now uses it for service to others. Eventually the Creator and Redeemer of the world notices and rides him across the river. The metaphors implicit in this alone would make a great book. Instead I will only say that crossing rivers is a metaphor for a rite of passage. Finally his staff becomes a palm tree bearing fruit. A barren staff becoming fruitful, definitely symbolic of bounty and riches. As a reward for his service he is imprisoned and eventually beheaded. Some day I need to write about the connection between the Headless One, the Celtic cult of the head, and all these beheaded saints.
So much material to unpack for my personal praxis, I am so glad I have come know this great source of strength. Who can’t use a saint of travelers on this crooked path we walk? Let me tell you how we met.
Staring Into Bliss
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
What a difference a week makes. Today the sun is shining bright and my spirits are high, it feels like an early spring. Last Monday, I was sick, depressed, and a Norther was blowing into the area. Despite my illness or maybe because of it, I climbed onto the roof with my morning coffee and a blanket. Sitting there, I stared into the coming line of blue cold clouds. The wind harsh and fast, relieved my fevered brow, and took me out west past the limestone hills and cedar brush. I could smell all of the land it had traveled over, the West Texas sage, the mountain cedar that was wrecking havoc on my sinuses, and even the agave and yucca of New Mexico. Way in the back the hints of Blue Spruce and Ponderosa Pine from the Rockies. Wind is the breath and incense of the land.
So there I sat, fevered, caffeinated, shivering, and suddenly full of bliss. Yes I felt truly beatific, bright and holy with the knowledge that as always I was on a journey. I am a nomadic soul, my spiritual path is just that, a path. Paths are meant to be traveled, traversed, they always lead some where else. Aristotle advocated being Peripatetic to discuss philosophy and so it is with spiritual wayfarers, we are always on the move. As my mind drifted away, I let all the chains and shackles drop away and traveled light and free. In that moment the words, “hang on St. Christopher now don’t let me go”, from the Tom Waits song, reverberated through my head. Somehow I knew he was what I needed in that moment, even though I was unfamiliar with his story.
Remembrance of a perfect morning many years earlier, in a tin roofed cabin perched on the side of a hill outside of Medina, Texas, came to me. That morning, a quarter century ago, was crisp and cold, and the smell of the Ashe Juniper in the Franklin stove filled the cabin. I wrapped myself in nothing but a serape, grabbed what was left of the Tequila from the night before, and went out onto the porch. As the Tequila and the Mota took hold, a warm bliss spread through me and I realized that no matter what happened in life, I would be okay. That was the day I realized that the desert, still many miles west, was my spiritual home, my personal Shangri-La. I was twenty three and re-reading Desert Solitaire. On that morning I sang Hang on St. Christopher to the live oaks and junipers, to the limestone, the armadillos and the feral hogs. When I finished a hummingbird landed on my shoulder. La Chuparosa, the totem of Love. With the visions of that day so long ago fresh in my mind, I realized I needed to know more about this St. Christopher and why he kept coming into my life.
Hermanos del Alma
“Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day.”- Inscription on the base of Saint Christopher’s Statue at the Church in Baden
When I read about St. Christopher, I was struck by how even though he had devoted himself to the Devil and refused to take the normal path of fasting and prayer, the Almighty Divine still came to him. Here is the patron of travelers, taking one of the most circuitous and round about paths possible and yet, by straying he found the path direct. Yes, this is my kind of saint, unconventional, wild, and not afraid of the Devil. How could I not like him? In some way I know he has always been there, watching over me. Coming to me every time I sing that Tom Waits song, taking the offerings I leave at Crossroads, and joining me in blessing the many travelers I have met along the way.
It feels so good to meet a new companion that is familiar, some fellow soul that has been here all along. These are the moments that make me realize that there really is something to this after all. As powerful as one can feel, calling out the names of Storm Gods and Goddesses as a thunderstorm rages, one can feel damn silly too. These moments of validation from somewhere far beyond ourselves make the work worth it, because let’s be honest sometimes it is very hard to know if we have done anything at all. This is definitely not an easy path at times and yet other times are so smooth it’s hard to hold on. Now I have a fellow traveler, a Patron of Travelers, mi hermano de alma, San Christopher. So open it up tonight, the devil can ride, and hang on St. Christopher now don’t let me go.
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
We have all been there, that quiet, cold, loneliness that threatens to consume your soul. The painful moments when we feel lost and beyond redemption, when we actually listen to the lies of self destruction. Those moments of self inflicted black magic when we turn away from the light and harden our hearts. In that stillness it becomes easy to forget that everything cycles, that everything returns.
My blackened heart was beyond heavy, it was an anchor. A dolmen to which I had chained myself. All the while I believed I was making progress, I was actually walking in circles. Restricting my progress further and further until I collapsed. In that moment I had a vision so clear that it blinded me, woke me to the truth I had so diligently avoided. This blackened heart, a charred relic of what I had once been, was of my own making and only I had the power to heal it.
Like many in my predicament, I sought some scapegoat to sacrifice upon the altar fires, an act of redemption was my goal. Redemption eluded me as swiftly as the Roebuck eludes the heavy footed hunter. Not until I put myself into the flames of forgiveness did I burn away the impurities. This one simple act, to forgive myself and own my mistakes, opened the path of love once more. My blackened heart is not gone, it is a reminder of the dark magics I am capable of inflicting upon myself, however it is now a symbol instead of a rationalization for self avoidance.
The Devil at the Crossroads
“Ran into the devil, babe, he loaned me twenty bills I spent the night in Utah in a cave up in the hills.
Set out runnin’ but I take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine, If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.” -Grateful Dead
Scratch, Old Nick, the Devil, Old Hornie, it doesn’t really matter what you call him, he is always there. Like many folks, I met him at the crossroads, not to sell my soul or make a pact, but to gain an ally. That night I had no idea I would meet him there, I had rum and cake, my standard offering, and I went seeking answers. The crossroads is where most of my work happens, both the physical crossroads I leave offerings at and the esoteric Crossroads that lives in my heart. So I traveled to the place where both overlap, where the magic of therapeutic healing happens. The buzzing air around me signaled an unfamiliar presence in that place.
The first thing one needs to know about the Devil is he will not tolerate delusion. He will shatter every false perception you have about yourself. This is not cruelty, it is brutal honesty. The only people who call him a liar are those who fear him, a trickster yes, a liar, no. It is this unrelenting nature of his that makes some fear him, he will not let you off the hook, so to speak. As long as you are content to torture yourself, he is happy to indulge you. This hardness will break you, but you have to breakdown to breakthrough. Once I was able to be honest with myself, he was willing to be straightforward. Fear must be conquered to confront the Devil.
There I was at the Crossroads facing the Devil and in an instant I knew I had gained a freedom that would never leave me. I knew why all the witches of yore worked with him, the soul filled with fear is unsuitable to this work. My preconceived notions about him were all wrong, he doesn’t care if I build a shrine to him or not. It’s unnecessary he assured me, for he is always with us, just like Death. He doesn’t buy souls, why pay for something that dissolves away in most cases, he asked. He will teach me, although I may not always like the lessons, nature of the Beast, so to speak. As a consequence of his friendship, I will see more clearly. This has lead to amazing results.
The Heart Inflamed
“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.” -Pablo Neruda
We are all here to lend each other mutual support. Even in our moments of quiet suffering there are powers, spirits, allies that wait to help us. The difficult part is to reach out, to ask for help. This simple act, of seeking a friendly soul, can seem insurmountable, herculean even. We have all been there, and I believe the only way to keep it at bay is to reach out to others once we have crossed this abyss. The heart inflamed with love conquers all fears, and to hold that place within ourselves for the benefit of others is to keep the flame alive.
The Devil helped me find my complete self, and to use my strength to conquer fear. From this place I was also able to finally embrace the light I always feared. Ironic that I had to meet the Devil to learn how to love the Divine. Pablo Neruda’s words have been conveying so much magic to me lately, especially his assertion that although nothing can save us from death, Love can save us from life. Pablo Neruda and the Devil, strange companions across this wasteland, but both in their own way have helped me to find the path of the Sacred Heart. This is my sigil of the soul fully in love with Holy Universe.
More than a pilgrim, a seeker of the mysteries, I have become a Divine Luchador, a Mutant Mage, a Heathen Brujo. Walking through a wasteland blessed with Tacos and Tequila, I converse with the Blessed Virgin, the Devil, the Just Judge, and Holy Death. I have been on this road my whole life, and at every crossroads I pick a new direction, always to the wild path. There out among the Ocotillo, the Agave, the Cenzino, and Prickly Pear, I find space to breathe, to simply be. With Tarantula and Scorpion I listen to Coyote’s song and allow my heart and my soul to be filled with the love of Holy Universe. This where I merge with the Sacred Heart.
“The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.” ― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire
The desert more than any other ecosystem I know of encapsulates the spiritual realm. I have been to Cathedrals of Forests and Holy CaveAlcoves, and Sacred Shores, but none of these has inspired the reverential peace and inner stillness like the desert.The desert has a magic all it’s own. Every plant, every animal that exists in the desert is a concentration of the desire and will to live. As much as the ocean and the forest can speak to the soul, the desert is a concentration of soul stuff. It is reflected in the very nature of the desert. The will to live is a reflection of the True Will; a desire to exist against all odds. It is this very spirit that I will embody as I push forward to live a more Heartfelt Experience. I have gone through many trials and tribulations to get to this place, this desert I call home.
I have come to this open and free place to let love bloom. Mine is a heart bursting with the joy of Holy Universe. My soul suffused with the light of the divine. In this Holy Place I have begun again to walk the path of spirit and freedom. In the clean air and under the bright sun I impart on the path of boldness the path of the Sagrado Corazón. I am a Heathen Brujo, Anglo-Germanic by birth, Tejano by culture. I am a Folk Catholic, a Sorceror, and a Trickster. I collect bones and stones, I make jewelry and art, I read Cards and the Stars. This is my newest endeavor and it is my sincere hope that you will find Soul Treasure here, just as I have found in the desert, out past the habitations of men.
Part of the reasons for my migration from my old blog to this one are discussed on that blog. The other reasons however are financial, later this year, hopefully sooner rather than later. There will be shop for my Soul-inspired Art and Jewelry, as well as an offering of my Card Reading services. I read both Tarot and regular Playing Cards. I do both because they offer different insights and often illuminate each other.
As an initiatory exercise and to get this site going I am offering the three following specials. Get a years worth of Tarot Readings, 12 monthly Celtic Cross spreads, for the low price of $100, that’s less than $10 each. I will only offer this for 30 days, starting January 15th, 2016. I would also like to offer you a Astro-Tarot combo for $35. My technique is as follows; first I do a natal chart to get an overall feel for your individual astrology. Then I look at what is generally predicted for the decan of your sun sign for the upcoming year. This takes care of the astrological portion. I then do a tarot reading based on the tree of life. Afterwards I draw one card to represent the overarching theme for your year to come. The final step is to compare all the information in order to form an inclusive picture of what the coming year holds. My final offer is a dual Tarot, Playing card combo for $25. This a standard Celtic Cross Tarot spread and a five card Hoodoo draw, as mentioned above I believe this combination to be more powerful than either alone.
In the upcoming weeks and months I will be offering Jewelry, Hand Printed Art, and Miniature for sale also. All of these items will be of a sacred nature and gifts from the Heart of the Cosmic Divine. I look forward to sharing this journey with you and hope that you will join me for the ride. PEACE LOVE LIGHT