[NB] Stranger Things

I have seen a couple of interesting posts on Stranger Things and I like each of them for the way they use the film as a jumping off point, as an opportunity to shine a light on other things. I don’t know if I have a terribly thoughtful response, but I do have a series of (mostly) coherent thoughts and observations that I’ll share here.

Spoilers follow.

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Devil is Fine

I have been enjoying this new album a lot. By way of introduction, you can read a little about the album’s inception over here. The album aims to fuse the musicality of the spirituals and blues with that of metal and it achieves that on melodic, rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic terms.

A black man dressed in early American dress. A circular green field of color overlays most of the image, bounded by a white border and overlain with the sigil of Lucifer in Asia from the Grimorium Verum.

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Let’s Dance

“Sometimes the answers just come in the mail.
And one day you get that letter you’ve been waiting for forever.
And everything it says is true.
And then in the last line it says: burn this.”
—Laurie Anderson, “Same Time Tomorrow”

At the end of one of my synchronicity chains this last week is a video, “Let’s Dance,” by the late great David Bowie. I’ve shared it recently, so I won’t link it again here, but I want to talk about it more. In doing so, I want to talk about it in a strange way, as a complex spiritual sign, as if the whole video were being taken up and spoken as a spiritual message. I don’t necessarily want to assert that the video was originally intended to be that message, only that like any message, like any set of words, it can be taken up and given new meaning according to the context in which it is spoken. In other words, I only mean to say that it can be used to mean what I am saying here, not that Bowie or the director intended it to mean what I say here.

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[NB] Dancing and Singing

Okay, well, if I had any questions whether I was on the right track with the last post’s experimentation, I don’t anymore. It has been a useful few days of vigorous communication, the sort where I am struggling to keep up with what is being relayed as I am trying to formulate some kind of response to ti. This morning’s dreams pushed me up early and writing, clarifying what the facial configuration meant, and then dropped something into my lap that, well, I’m not quite sure what to do with yet. The proverbial one to grow on, I imagine.

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Learning to Live with a Horizon of Error

I had a little back and forth with Blogos and Iago over a mistake I had made in my last post and it was a good reminder about how I tend to operate. I can’t speak to how much this true for anyone else, but it seems like the sort of thing it might be useful to post about.

The ritual demands of my spiritual work unfold faster than my understanding of it, faster than my ability to give it coherent conceptual expression. Obviously, I need some conceptualization so that I am not just muddling around in the dark waiting for inspiration, but I have come to expect that most any conceptualization I am using is an error en route to something more truthful which the spiritual practice will clarify.

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[NB] Magical images: Comics

I have been thinking about this for a bit and wondering after the relationship between the magical renaissance of the 90s and the comics renaissance of the 90s. You have big ol’ honkin’ magician powerhouse in the form of Alan Moore, followed by the chaos magic darling in the form of Grant Morrison. It’s hard, too, to separate out the neopagan renaissance from the work of people like Neil Gaiman. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest one caused the other, but they formed something of a trashy archive in the Foucauldian sense, a set of practices and disciplines united by a common armature, a common set of intuitions and forms that made it easy for one to inspire the other.

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[NB] The Ghosts that Haunt Me

I have been dipping in and out of the Friedson’s exceptional Remains of Ritual. The book is a delightful fusion of philosophy, ethnography, and musicology. More than that, Friedson takes seriously the world of gorovodu, reporting seriously spiritual and magical experiences, neither sensationalizing them nor downplaying them. While the book focuses on Ghana, Friedson’s work clear applications to the Americas and the dynamics that shape religious life there parallel (with differences, of course) those in the Americas.

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