Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Economics Lesson

From my DreamHost Dream Guy -- <3<3 Josh Jones... read all about it. Man if he went gay I would so move to LA in a heartbeat.. and boy do I hate LA!

But isn't he just adorable?

(Hope you don't mind the borrow of the pic man!)

The sexiest CEO ev-ar.

He is the total package. Totally.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Future Picatrix Plans

So.. here's the direction my Picatrix work is going to take from here... I originally started translating from the Bakhouche French translation from the Latin -- and started on Books 3 and 4 -- because an English translation of the work hadn't been completed and available to the public yet, and I wanted the invocations and practical instructions in English for myself. Now that Chris and John have completed their very usable pre-published edition of Books 1 and 2 I'm not likely to work on that at all. It is so good that I am just going to recommend people try to get a copy of that or wait until the whole shebang is done in a year or so.

My work on Books 3 and 4 is going to be contingent on my own practical needs over any desire to just have the whole thing in my hands in English, since I do read French rather decently in itself. I'll have a Latin facsimile manuscript version in my hands soon as well. I rather like the idea of doing invocations in Latin and may transcribe those as is.

My focus is going to shift more towards reference material based on Picatrix with a mind to practical use, as well as original artwork inspired by Picatrix for use in talismanic work and examples of actual talismans. 

I'm no Nigel Jackson mind you, but there is no one right to be a talismanic artist, the important thing is for the image to have affinity to the planet or star or constellation or mansion in question according to our traditional sources. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Binge

So I've been on a binge lately of Very Expensive But Awesome Wizardly Books.

The requisite Wheelock's Latin and Cassell's Latin Dictionary in hardcover.

A hardcover review copy of Chris Warnock and JMG's collaboration on Books 1 and 2 of Picatrix.

A special-request hardcover copy of Chris Warnock's edition of the Latin Picatrix from Sloane 3679, available from Renaissance Astrology.

And last but not least (so far) the upcoming Golden Hoard edition of the Veritable Key of Solomon. Yes I have low resolution images of the original French manuscript from the Wellcome website itself but there is nothing like holding a good book in your hand and I'm very happy with their edition of The Goetia of Dr. Rudd.

Still itching my palm are Peterson's Grimorium Verum and the PGM as well as Curse Tablets.

And still waiting to fly off my shelf into someone else's waiting hands is my Ouroboros Picatrix Vol 1, nobody seems interested in my asking price so far on eBay, I may see what some local book buyers will offer for it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Spirit Experience

Compared to some of my colleagues I suppose I don't really write much these days about the experiences I have with spirits so I'll go ahead and share something from yesterday. Some months way back when I first encountered Frater RO and Jake on Ritual Magic and Solomonic I started looking into the Lemegeton. One of my personal passions is primitivism and Rewilding and have an interest in Tracking (as in Tom Brown) and as I was reading through the descriptions of the spirits, one of them who looked like they would make an awesome ally was Caym/Camio:

(From Pseudomonarchia) "Caim is a great president, taking the forme of a thrush, but when he putteth on man's shape, he answereth in burning ashes, carrieng in his hand a most sharpe swoord, he maketh the best disputers, he giveth men the understanding of all birds, of the lowing of bullocks, and barking of dogs, and also of the sound and noise of waters, he answereth best of things to come, he was of the order of angels, and ruleth thirtie legions of divels."

I think about this spirit quite often as I study.

So... yesterday I was outside at the Spider House coffeeshop in the back patio and started thinking about Camio, and was reading his description and sigil on the web via my iPhone and a grackle hen hopped onto the nearby table and started to talk to me. Of course the obvious message was give me food but still.. I started to draw Camio's sigil in my notebook and as soon as put pen to paper a wind suddenly rose up and blew through the patio. Someone was saying Hi. (And to anyone that would say it was "coincidence" well that is precisely the point!)

So -- Camio is definitely paying attention to me. Not quite at the point yet of formally evoking him though, but he seems like he would be a potent ally in my Tracking and Rewilding endeavors and I am still interested in contact, as well as Barbatos if they are friendly to each other:

"Barbatos, a great countie or earle, and also a duke, he appeareth in Signo sagittarii sylvestris, with foure kings, which bring companies and great troopes. He understandeth the singing of birds, the barking of dogs, the lowings of bullocks, and the voice of all living creatures. He detecteth treasures hidden by magicians and inchanters, and is of the order of vertues, which in part beare rule: he knoweth all things past, and to come, and reconcileth freends and powers; and governeth thirtie legions of divels by his authoritie."

It should be fairly obvious but Tracking is in fact a divinatory skill in which the Tracker is aware of "all things past, and to come" by the marks left in passing in the environment, that can be taken on many levels, and I strongly believe there is a relationship between Tracking and Astrology as well. As below so above, astronomy and astrology are the tracking of celestial bodies as the Man of Earth tracks humans, animals, the weather, etc. by their impressions and spoor.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Towards A Devolutionary Witchcraft

Humble yourself in the arms of the Wild
You gotta lay down low and
Humble yourself in the arms of the Wild
Gotta ask Her what She knows...

- A Reclaiming Witchcamp Chant

In the Witchcraft circles I frequent online, in spite of the caliber of the company there, I keep hearing mention of the pernicious notion of "spiritual evolution." It's a remaining vestige of Newagism that needs to be stomped out to the last spark.

Let's get something straight about evolution, biological or otherwise: it has no arrow, no inherently positive direction. That is part of the myth of progress that permeates modernism and that is destroying the ecology of the planet. Part of that myth is that constant improvement is necessary, and that socially a corollary is that we need to improve ourselves, hence the burgeoning market in self-help books and lectures. 

So to counter this prevailing wind of opinion and zeitgeist, I propose something much more real and anti-Utopian: DEvolutionary Witchcraft.

In my philosophy of Devolutionary Witchcraft, human beings do not need improvement at all. In fact to be a Devolutionary Witch, it is necessary to drop the notion of spiritual progress, of any progress at all. 

A Devolutionary Witch gets back to basics of direct perception and observation of Nature. She doesn't need to get anywhere to achieve anything, stillness in the outdoors and opening up to the Wild fill her with everything she could ever need.

A Devolutionary Witch discards hierarchy in all its forms. She is embedded in the world, not on top of it, and has nowhere further to climb to. Right here right now is all he needs. The Sun, the Moon, the Plant People and Animal People, the Rock People and the Water and Wind People, they are all brothers and sisters. Partners, allies, and teachers. 

There are people on this planet, like the San or the Kouri, or various Indians in Amazonia, who totally belie the notion that any improvement at all is ever necessary. They come into the world naked and leave it naked, and have every need fulfilled by their social network and by the Earth and Sky. They are the most conservative people on the planet and it has served them well for untold thousands of years beyond the mere 10K years of agricultural civilization. 

In Devolutionary Witchcraft, the Witch abandons any idea of linear progress or achievement and returns to circular space, circular time, attuned to the birth, dying, and endless renewal of the Earth. 

There are no degrees or titles in Devolutionary Witchcraft. There is no recognition at all, other than an individual recognition of a directly experienced intimacy with all of Nature. Or the recognition of Kin in the eyes of another being, human and non-human.

A Devolutionary Witch Rewilds.... and restores himself to the primal state of mind that is the birthright of all human beings.

Sex Passion

Power Pride

Our culture is dominated by the myths of the Hero: the one who journeys, fights, struggles, conquers, overcomes, achieves.

In Devolutionary Witchcraft, there is no journey, no struggle, no achievements, no advancements, no fights, nothing to conquer or overcome. All that is unnecessary and part of the civilizational perspective that is killing everything. 

Isn't there work to do? Well, there is the activity necessary for living life -- gathering or hunting food, creating shelter, sustaining personal relationships. That is all activity that feeds the circle, not the imaginary ascending line.

"This all sounds really boring."

Only if you aren't paying attention. And that -- paying attention -- is the first skill of Devolutionary Witchcraft.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

"Dove Hunting", an old essay

Was just picking up and found this old writing exercise dated December 14, 1986, when I was 18 years old. Please forgive the excessive runon sentences at the beginning and some of the overly flowery language.. I may see about cleaning this up later on, oh and incidentally this was transcribed from a TYPEWRITTEN PAGE. OMG yes we used TYPEWRITERS still when I was 18.. anyhow.. enjoy!

Dove Hunting

There we stood in the midst of the field, pausing for a moment as we trudged slowly across the muddy ground. The cool, damp September air covered my body with its chilly caresses, tightening my skin and muscles ever so slightly with every soft breeze that passed in the darkness. Dawn was just beginning to shed its first coppery glow over the horizon, penetrating the layers of mist that hung over the field like filmy veils of damp gauze, and casting long deep shadows from the dead cornstalks that had thrust themselves up from the soft earth in vivid green life just months before, and were now merely dry brown skeletons rotting fiber. Everything was wet with rain and dew, causing smells of dampness and rot to fill the air, reminiscent of a pile of brown dead grass left to sit in the corner of the backyard for too long; the water caught the slowly increasing sunlight, which flashed forth in a thousand tiny beads of silver light.

In the still-prevalent darkness, the only sounds were the sucking and squeaking of booted feet in soft mud when we walked, and the irritating, buzzing hum of the ever-abundant and ever-eager mosquitoes, all hungry for our life's-blood the nourish their next vampiric generation, Deep Woods Off notwithstanding. My gun was heavy and awkward in my short, skinny arms, and the mud pulled at the soles of my boots, making my progress somewhat clumsy; it's hard enough to be graceful in a dead furrowed cornfield without having on heavy rubber boots that stick to the ground every time you take a step. I had shotgun shells in every pocket of my vest as well, weighing me down further, tugging at my shoulders, tugging at my pants, while we walked into this predawn field to wait for the doves to come.

As more light began to shine upon the bent stalks of corn, giving everything the dull orange cast of firelight and driving away the grey of early morning as the mist began to fade, the many droplets of water sparkled and flashed through all colors of the spectrum: tiny jewels of red, orange, green, and blue caught the eye from all directions, each blazing with its own rich cool fire. The buzzing hum of mosquitoes began to be accompanied by the welcome whirr of dragonflies, whole delicate cellophane wings shivered in the newborn sunlight that dripped from them in a rain of warm radiance and gleamed from their golden metallic bodies. 

The dragonflies danced all around us, up and down and across my vision, darting and arcing in all directions, singing their delicate humming song as they performed their elaborate aerial ballet among the damp and leafy brown masts of the cornstalks, a dance of death for the tiny mosquitoes whom they hunted with such incredible speed and precision. Soon the mosquitoes bothered us no longer, and as the sun climbed higher into the sky, dispelling the shadows and slowly drying the dew, the dragonflies began to disappear as well, their delicate song replaced by the soft whisper of the breeze in the grass and the sweet whistlings and gentle cooings of birds as they began to be aroused from slumber.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Austin Rewilding Project Advances..

So I've just created a new list community on Yahoo! to bring together local rewilding folks:

Check it out.

So far there are 9 members and I got to ban my first spammer already. Whee.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Urban Scout’s Rewilding Survey

1. Have you or would you ever eat roadkill?

I haven't but if it was fresh and not too smooshed and I had tools and help I'd consider it.

2. Have you ever slept with another person-who-rewilds, or do you find it impossible to find anyone-else-who-rewilds?

The closest would have been when I dated my friend Dean many years ago, he is a wild plant lore expert along the lines of Penny Scout.

3. What do you like most about rewilding?

It frees the soul and enlivens the spirit.

4. What rewilding books, authors or movies do you like best?

Urban Scout's blog (of course), God Is Red by Vine Deloria, The Primal Mind by Jamake Hightower, The Healing Wisdom of Africa by Malidoma Some, I consider DUNE as a book to have strong rewilding affinities, it was the first exposure I had to the idea of "becoming indigenous" and having a sense of "place" at the tender age of 15; There is a current running through Starhawk's books that points towards a rewilding ethic in my opinion; any good field guide.

5. How long does it take for you to get a bow-drill coal?

Ack this is a project I haven't worked on yet.

6. Have you ever ended a relationship due to your parters love of civilization?

Gosh when was the last time I was in a relationship...

7. What wild foods do you favor most?

Whitewing dove breasts (cooked in red wine and lots and lots and lots (repeat many times) of garlic and some herbs.)
Wild turkey.
Catfish like my mom used to make (though she breaded them in cornmeal).
Dove eggs.
Wild onions.
Turkscap flowers and fruits.
Psilocybin mushrooms! *duh*

8. Does the apocalypse invade your dreams? If so, do you consider them nightmares or nocturnal emissions?

Not often but I do have a poem that was partly inspired by such a dream.

9. What do your parents think about all this “rewilding” garbage?

Hmm. They don't really know yet but I grew up with hunters so it isn't such a departure I don't think.

10. Ever had a stranger over hear an anti-civ conversation and blissfully join in?

Hmm haven't had any local conversations really need to change that.

11. What will you miss most about civilization?

The Internet.

12. Which friends will escape with you to the wilds when the shit goes down?

My Faery Trad accomplices and various hippies and rockers and witches.

13. What specialty makes you an asset to a band of post-apocalyptic warriors?

Community ritual. Astronomy. Herbal medical knowledge. First aid training.

14. How long do you predict we have until the full on collapse?

Hmm good queston.

15. Do you feel ready?

No one is ever really ready for an abrupt change of circumstances, it is in such events that true character is revealed and established.

Monday, March 3, 2008

REVIEW: Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis

I rented the recent Neil Gaiman-scribed/Zemeckis-directed Beowulf movie, and I was very let down and disappointed in the story. I prefer to take my heroes straight up please (hey no giggling in the balcony!) and the idea of a renowned hero who didn't properly earn his reputation in deeds left a sour taste in my mouth. I felt ambivalent with Angelina Jolie's rather Lilith-y figure as well.

More even than that, the whole notion of Grendel going down to the mead all to bash heads because the noise kept him awake from miles away wasn't very satisfying or easy to buy into either. I mean everyone knows that monsters trash mead halls because Danish are tasty and good with mead!

I found the animated appearance of the characters kind of uncanny and a turn off as well. Beowulf himself excepted he was totally amazing-hot! But not hot enough to save the story..

Two stars.

For the much more satisfying original, go here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

When Austin Was Wild...

Way back before the Armadillo... there were the Tonkawa Indians.. thanks to finding the blog of Urban Scout I have renewed my interest in what is now being called "rewilding" which is an awesome word by the way. This page about Tonkawa who were the original inhabitants of Travis County underscores everything Scout talks about and the abundance that was here to support people in harmony with the landbase and without agriculture.. notice how as civilized people took over this area, the population is dependent on agriculture in a vicious cycle that has destroyed the capacity of the land to offer its abundance freely. Money quote:

They refused to farm because they said they were wolves and wolves hunted for food and did not farm. So they got their food by hunting and gathering. This makes them hunter gatherers. They lived in a region with lots of animals to hunt. This region is still one of the best deer hunting regions in Texas. The blackland prairies at the base of the Edwards Plateau had lots of buffalo. There are huge and beautiful springs in the region too. The springs at New Braunfels and San Marcos are so big they turn into rivers. In Austin Barton Creek springs and others are huge. San Antonio also has a number of good springs. The Colorado and Guadalupe rivers run right through the Tonkawa lands. These rivers and springs have fish, crawfish and clams and mussels in them. Pecan trees grow along the rivers and streams and all over this region. So with all the animals to hunt, fish to catch and pecans to pick up the Tonkawa did not need to farm. All the springs and rivers also means there are plenty of plant foods like blackberries roots. The the Tonkawa had a good supply of food from hunting and gathering. Here is a list of the food sources from the paragraph above; deer, buffalo, fish. crawfish. mussels, pecans. blackberries, roots.

Did you know the the San Marcos, Comal and Guadalupe rivers used to have a species of crawfish in them that was as big as a lobster? These crawfish, also called prawns, were so good to eat the Anglo settlers caught almost all of them. They are now extinct in the Guadalupe and Comal rivers. A few still live in the San Marcos river.

Now there are no more wolves and no more buffalo.. one of my best friend's great-grandfather shot the last one dead in the middle of Congress Avenue way back when.. there's no more bears or antelope, just the smaller animals hiding among the urban devastation and lots and lots of deer running amok with only death dealing cars to cull their numbers.. and you don't want to eat the fish or crawdads or clams and mussels or drink the water from the springs, pecans and acorns all go to waste to be crushed underfoot while was ignore all the sustenance around us and head to the grocery store. It's a cultural and ecology travesty.

We need to Rewild Austin..

Friday, January 25, 2008

Paintings for Sale

Two of my paintings for are for sale locally in Austin only. I am asking $300 for each one. The first one is untitled but let's call it Bull and Butterfly Spirit, it was inspired by reading The Language of the Goddess by Marija Gimbutas:

The second one is titled Man of Earth, it was originally inspired by Riane Eisler's book The Chalice and the Blade:

Both were painted in 1997 not very long after I had taken a walkabout in Santa Fe in October 1996 which was the original wellspring of that period of creativity.

Contact me if interested, they are unframed but have hangers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Clean sweeping - Bye Bye Massage Table

Today after about 7 years of denial I sold off my righteous Living Earth Crafts Horizon massage table for $100 via Craigslist. I really needed the space under the bed it was taking up, plus the chunk of personal energy it was taking up just by existing there and in my closet for so many years. Now I have a place to stash my laundry hamper under the bed and have a little more emotional space in my apartment for my current interests like my musical instruments.

Now if only I can tackle that laundry and get it to the washer.. Sadly I don't know any prayers or talismans that will get my laundry done all on its own.