Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Occult Link Roundup

There's an awful lot of talk online lately about paganism dying - the last time I cruised by Patheos the subject made up about half the posts. Myself, I don't have a strong feeling one way or the other. This may be because I am not a terribly community-minded person to begin with, and also because I have always been of the belief that the gods find a way regardless of what humanity gets up to.

I also view myself as a witch before a pagan - religion is secondary to magic, for me, or perhaps so deeply entrenched in it that it seems like cutting it out from the sorcery would be castrating it. Whether paganism as a movement lives or dies is not something that overly worries me provided that witchcraft survives.

(And it always does. You cannot kill the witch.)

A Witches Resistance and Action List

Aleister Crowley and the Primrose League

Reel Paganism: The Folk Horror Revival 

The Wizard of Oz

Monday, April 24, 2017

Devil Monk

In my last post, I ended by saying that I had used the 40 Servants online deck and pulled the Devil card. I spent the rest of the month petitioning the servant, burning a candle for him and asking to be shown what my limiting beliefs are, and asking to free myself from whatever is holding me back. I put the image of the card and its sigil on my phone, so I could see it daily.

For the first few weeks, I honestly wasn't sure what it was that could possibly be blocking me. After all, I engage in introspection perhaps a little too much, how could I possibly have such a blind spot? It took a while for it to dawn on me that it was very likely that I was holding myself back in my physical endeavours. Exercise, and dance - these are places where in the past I have doubted my ability.

That leads me to the past weekend. I preformed at the Taboo Revue - my Bride number again, and a trio with Melody Mangler and my sister. I did not fuck up horrendously, I had fun, and I'm proud of myself.

The very next day I went and did the Vancouver Sun Run - my very first 10K. My sister and I were in the slowpokes division and all told I only ran 3K, but we still finished the bloody thing in one hour and forty-three minutes.


So, now what?

Back to running regularly - just doing the run reminded me how much I do enjoy it, and now that I'm not working two jobs and the days are longer and slightly less shitty, I can discover good routes that let me absorb nature.

I'm co-hosting the Stephen King "We All Float Down Here" show at the Rio with Gidget - it will be my first time as a co-host on a large stage, and it should be loads of fun.

Since I had so much success with the 40 Servants, I pulled another virtually. This time I pulled The Monk. This coincides with the astrological forecast in terms of simplifying life, something I don't mind doing at all. I'll be a dancing, running, meditating freak.

Now have some motivational music!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Double Ds

Sometimes things happen very quickly. Too quickly - all you can do then is put on your boots and roll with it as best you can.

Tommie Kelly released The Forty Servants a while ago. I read Tommie's blog, but I admit I didn't pay much attention to the release - I tend not to enjoy oracle cards very much. Turns out this is an exception.

You can try the deck out in virtual form here. I did, and the very first card I pulled was The Depleted.

My good friend Andrew pulled it, too. We both reacted the same way: "goddamn son of a bitch." Because it was right - we were both completely burnt out.

I can't speak for Andrew, but myself? I'd been working two jobs, my father had recently had major heart surgery at nearly age 70, my sister was suffering from severe anxiety and in the process of breaking up with a partner, a friend had to be rushed to the hospital... everything was shit. And in the middle of this, I volunteered myself to preform at the Vancouver Burlesque Centre's Student Showcase. Yeah, sign me up, I haven't been on stage in at least a year! Fuck it, how hard could it be?

Goddamn son of a bitch.

Some of it I did to myself, but even the shit I didn't plan on is no excuse to curl up into a weeping ball of marshmallow fluff. (This is not to say I did not weep, because I totally did. I came home fro my second contract and cried in my closet one day because I couldn't find a misplaced lab coat.)I am an adult - part of that is owning up to the responsibility of my reactions. I am also a fucking occultist - part of that is manipulating my goddamn reality.

This spring has been hard. But so what? Embrace the thorns of the plants trying desperately to find the sun behind the grey and omnipresent clouds. You're alive, witch, do something with that.

My return to the stage was a Bride of Frankenstein number, set to Shearwater's Quiet Americans. A woman made by man for man, ultimately embracing her imperfect form and revolting against the very idea that she exists solely for her creator.

I got to throw a chair, it was boss.

Since then, more opportunities to preform have presented themselves. My second job will end on the 14th, leaving me with more free time that I intend to devote to running and writing. If nothing else, working more really does teach you that you can accomplish an awful lot before bedtime.

For fun, I just pulled another of the Forty Servants to see what I should bear in mind for the next lunar cycle.  I got The Devil

Well. That I can work with.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

This is babel, sensurround now.

So, okay. This is a thing that happened last month. My almost!brother Pete and his actual biological little sister came to visit from England. As you can probably guess from the video, I had no idea about this plan. Pete and my sister orchestrated the whole thing behind my back. My sister even spoke to my supervisor and got me time off work. Sneaky bastards.

Pete stayed for two weeks, and his sister for one. We nicely stayed away from the truly weird topics (well, mostly) while she was present, but once she'd gone home... One night we stayed up until 4 am talking about the old Barbelith forums and the difference between the magical communities online back then versus the modern tumblr magic scene.

Why yes, I am on the tumblr. Why yes, it is filled with young people. Some of the stuff I see there in the magic circles is quite interesting. There does seem to be a different tone in the magical community there - some of this may be the age gap, but I don't think that's all of it. What I remember of the time period from about 1998 to 2005 is that experimentation was the other of the day. Now it often feels like people are more concerned with telling you what you're doing wrong than they are with trying new things.

Part of this is definitely an age thing. I remember being in my early 20s and thinking I knew a lot, so my job was clearly to correct people who might be ignorant.  I was a fucking know-it-all; a state that happens a lot with people who were really clever in school. There is also a greater awareness of various social issues. This is generally a very good thing, but it can have the unfortunate effect of dividing people who are - in the grand scheme of things - on the same side.

I'm thinking in particular of the anti-Trump binding spell that's been mentioned in a few different news sources. Now, when I first read the spell I admit I had a very dismissive reaction - "well, that's not how I'D do it" and then a bunch of quibbles with the whole "we're not CURSING" attitude and so on and so forth. After a few days of thinking about it, I realised I was being an ass. The spell was designed for everyone to throw their energy in together, and instead of just shutting the fuck up and doing the thing I was instead nitpicking it.

Which accomplishes nothing. 

It actually reminded me of something I had bitched about to Pete while he was here. When I had been trying to run the ladies' magic nights, one of the participants showed several times an unwillingness to go along with the group. This was a major issue that contributed to the dissolution of the group as it was (and the end of a friendship) and so to see it reflected in myself was a reminder not to be a dickhead.

Art: Chris Bachalo
It was wonderful to have Pete visit. I had been missing having someone to talk to about occult bullshit, and seeing him reminded me that you don't have to put up with people who are shit friends just so you can have a halfway decent conversation about bad vibes and hypersigils. Especially when you deal in magic, you want to surround yourself with people that trust you, and who you can trust in turn. I am truly lucky to have some people like that already in my life, and even luckier in that I am surrounding myself with more of the same.

Surrounding myself with people who enrich my life is a symptom of my ongoing plan to better myself in general. My health is also a priority, as is my writing (which is why I'm writing here now) and also my dancing. I've been away from preforming for a very long time, and I want to get back into it. I've changed my stage name to reflect this new beginning - it is now Emma Eldritch.

Not new beginnings, exactly. More like better choices.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Gouge Away

Well, America is living the plot of Transmetropolitan right now.

I have really nothing useful to say on the subject besides donate your time and money to fighting this  horseshit. Especially if you're white. Use that privilege, come on.

This is a magic blog, innit? Fine, make Spider and the Filthy Assistants into saints while you're at it and pray to them.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

You're Infernal.

As I've stated before, I got into witchcraft in the 90s when I was a teenager. I had been raised in an entirely secular household - my mom had an interest in ghosts and fortune telling, while my dad was (and remains) more interested in the teachings of Buddhism, but religion was a non issue. I think I'd been to church once in my life with my grandmother.

I had moved twice in the span of a year when I settled in the Bible Belt. I had recently experienced - twice over - the sort of catty adolescent friend breakups that so often go hand in hand with entering high school. So there I was, friendless and culture shocked by Jesus.

I think it was either conform or rebel. We all know which way I went.

Now, when I was just a baby witch, I was a staunch defender of misconceptions about the Craft. Being the Bible Belt, any deviation from popular religion was considered Satanic. "There's no devil in the Craft," I would tell people. "Satan is a Christian construct." "I don't worship the devil."

This much was true - I didn't worship the devil. But let's face it, when you're surrounded on all sides by such a dualistic culture you tend to pick sides. In doing that, I found myself reading everything I could that might give me a better understanding of this whole God VS the Devil thing. And thus grew the roots of my obsession with the Satanic Panic.

The History of the Satanic Panic - and why it's not over yet

The Fight to Save America From Satan's Subliminal Rock Messages

While on the topic of the devil in music... In October I went to see Ghost in concert. It was one of the most religious group experiences of my life, right up there with seeing Magic Mike XXL in the theatre. Standing in a packed crowd, dressed as a skeletal nun, I found myself raising my voice with a throng of people as we threw up the horns for the Nameless Ghouls and Papa Emeritus III.

"Are you ready to swear right here, right now
Before the devil?"

The devil doesn't need backmasking to get us to rally with him. Let's face it, when the 'moral' side is the one hurting people, anybody with a heart isn't going to want to join up with them. Instead we should stand with the people others would tell you are the outsiders. Especially in light of world events, we all have to remember not to get swept up in fear and hate. Rebel in the name of love.

Hail Satan. Rock'n'roll.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Mad World

Well, would you look at that. It's November. You wouldn't think so much could have changed since the last time I posted, but here we are.

AbraCadaver was a smashing success this year - I count it among one of our best shows. I honestly couldn't be more proud of both all the performers and also of us producers and writers - Melody Mangler and my sister Voodoo Pixie were fucking brilliant. I'm even happy with myself.

Although my wig made me look like my mom.

by FubarFoto

With AbraCadaver over, my sister and I settled into October. "We have a whole month to do Halloween things!" we said. My sister is always booked solid with Halloween shows because she's one of Vancouver's spookiest dancers, but we figured we'd still have loads of time to check out haunted trolleys and ghost trains.

Then we found out that our apartment building had been sold, and consequently the rent was going up.

And so, we found ourselves moving in the middle of the month. My sister and I moved back in together into the main floor of an old heritage house with stained glass windows, just a block from the ocean. We were blessed to have family and friends to help us, and although we moved in the middle of a storm warning it was truly not traumatic. We've acclimated to being in one another's space very quickly - the fact that the house is larger than we're used to no doubt helps. Surprisingly, I was gifted with the bigger bedroom, which clearly used to be a dining room. The size means that not only is it my bedroom, but also a perfect magical workroom. It even fits all of my books,

Speaking of books... You really ought to put your pre-order in for Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want. I just did.

So. October went by in a blur. On the interpersonal level, I came to the decision to distance myself from people with the emotional intelligence of potatoes. This was a harder decision to make than perhaps it should have been, simply because one of the people in question was a part of the witch meetups I had been hosting. Consequently, I was trying stubbornly to make it work in spite of feeling disrespected more often than not. But ultimately I realised that I cannot work magic with someone who does not trust me, as it in turn destroys my own trust. It's a rotten cycle that leads solely to doubt and anger. That realisation made me reexamine other aspects of that relationship, and ultimately I found the negative outweighed the positive. So it was time to pull back. Thankfully I don't feel any genuine malice towards this person - mostly I just feel stupid.

More positively, this week I discovered that a lot more of my girlfriends at work are into fortune telling than I had suspected. I fully intend to organise a wine-and-tarot evening sometime this month, and perhaps try another magic night with the ladies who I know are a bit more open and honest.

My sister, as always, reminds me that I should settle for nothing less than love and respect.

Voodoo Pixie (and Sweet Pea McGee) as photographed by Bob Ayers.