I haven’t posted in a while because I am thinking through what I want this space to be. I have been doing a bit of the Kondo clean and have found it invigorating on a number of levels and I want to carry through some of that to the less material aspects of my life, including this blog. I want to think a little about not just what I have been doing, but I want to be doing as an extension of what I do in my life otherwise.
That is pretty much where I started with this blog. When I started posting here, I did so in a vacuum, without any clear reference point except my personal practice and peculiar intellectual interests.
Sure enough, though, reference points began to take shape within that. What began with an off-hand post on W. B. Yeats and the Golden Dawn turned into a quite lengthy circuit through Yeatsian spiritualism. Thinking through my self-conception as a witch riffed on that, opening the articulation of the wizard / witch distinction and toward deconstruction.
My early posts on approaching the tree of life as a coil or circuit intertwining with other similar coils or circuits softened into a gentle kabbalistic undercurrent, one that intertwined with some considerations of the classical planets. You can find some of that by searching around on topics like Hod or Venus.
Reflection on the influence of some Yoruba ideas on my work blossomed into a lengthy consideration of empire and gnosis, which came together with my reading of Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis. That concern with empire, too, has some roots in my spiritualist reflections on the influence of the New World genocides on the development of early modern European magic, in Dee and the grimoires.
Geomancy shows up and forms the entry point to my discussion of African and Arabic magical traditions and the broader horizon from which they emerged. That gets me talking about the shape of Middle Eastern antiquity, including positioning the witch / wizard line in a more expansive horizon of goes / goos / magi.
There is, too, a through line to be had around the issue of magic as an effort to transform our spiritual disposition, to solidify our connection to the realms of spirit and make use of that connection to guide our work here in creation.
I have ranged over a disparate set of topics only to discover, again and again, that they are all entangled with each other. A good bit of that entanglement has to do with my personal practice, so part of what all these have in common is me. It doesn’t end with me, though, because much of this points toward a deep entanglement of these topics on a historical and spiritual level.
I’m surely not the only person to notice this, but I have not been satisfied with the conceptual depth of many other people. There is a through line of posts on this blog that attempt to address precisely this gap, to set the stage for a better discussion of time and gnosis. Here, too, the questions of language and deconstruction show up.
I have seasoned all of this with some discussion of my personal practice. There have been some reflections on my relationship to the land upon which I live, as well as some brief mentions of this or that specific ritual practice, some of the names and relations taking shape within it, and a general outline of what that practice looks like. I have talked a good bit, too, about the historical-mythical tools I have used to amplify the subtle dimensions of it.
I have enjoyed this sort of work, but there is a way in which it is also cluttered. I don’t want to bang that drum too hard, in part because throughout I have tended to use this material anagogically, as signs consumed en route. But, even thinking in this way, I have to confess that there is a burden that builds up, a weight of habit that starts to choke out the fire.
Or, perhaps somewhat more aptly, this is slag. It may glitter, but if folded back into the work it will yield brittle and breakable results. I feel keenly that if I keep going in this direction, the final product will be flawed, even if I manage to make some interesting historical or philosophical or what-have-you geegaws out of the slag.
That raises a key question: what is it that makes this metaphor of slag so apt? This isn’t a chemical process, even though chemical metaphors are often useful. What structure underpins this? I suggest that the admixture here is one of subtle, spiritual forces, and gross, material, historical residue. There are certain substances that facilitate a good alloy of spiritual and material, but there are a great deal more that just yield shoddy products.
Here we are looking at the modern philosophical differentiation of subjectivity from objectivity. Coming at this from a magical and occult perspective, we are in greater danger of admixture, but we are also poised to explore this more vibrantly, possessing a richer pallette of subjective experiences than most materialist-inflected modernists.
So, I think what I want to do in the short term is engage in a little critical throat-clearing in order to drawi a clean(ish) line between what I have been doing and what I want to do now. From there, I want to get into making sense of this difference and see what can be made of them for occult-magical practice. Then I want to see if there is room to get a little more creative with all this.