I needed to come at the issue with fresher eyes, so I picked up a collection of Wilhelm Dilthey’s essays, Poetry and Experience, that has been sitting on my shelves for years. It has made it through numerous purges and finally I have put it to some use!
This is going to be a very notebook-y post, riffing a bit around a common theme.
I recently picked up Erwan Dianteill’s study of the New Orleans Black Spiritualist churches, La Samaritaine Noire. He has a mind to position the spiritualist churches in the broader horizon of the Afro-Caribbean religious diaspora and he does that well. To do that, he starts out by contrasting the spiritualist churches with the hoodoo / rootwork doctors that the churches officially criticize. Which means we get a chapter discussing Zora Neale Hurston, Palo, and the intersection of the grimoire tradition and the African diaspora.
Damn, can I rave about this little game for a moment? The way in which it inverts the tropes of a lot of magical literature gracefully, unargumentatively, with sincerity?
That the first spell is about purification and finding a sense of beauty. That the whole game is a delightful testament to Venus-Netzach, to Puella and Amissio.
Seriously, read it (linked at the top of the post). It is only 5 loosely formatted pages.
Notice the lack of hierarchy, beginning with the instruction to avoid the magic shop and its snooty ingredients. Even in teaching, the teacher enters the student’s space as a guest, the student is instructed to practice on their own so that the magic is theirs and not under a teacher’s command. Don’t show off as teacher, trust the student to find their way. The play of truth, trust, secrecy, play, and becoming delights.
The instruction to listen to the work itself, to the ingredients and the space, to find yourself, as a teenage witch girl, within the working. Consider, too, the way in which the apparatus can be changed to dramatic effect–be a teenage witch boy, be an old wizard. Compare this with the Picatrix/Gayat Al-Hakim and its games of dress-up.
Damn. How wonderful the way it throws light upon the force of Venus in so many spiritual operations. When you become that other thing, put on the clothes, you are on Venutian soil. Don’t underestimate that. At all. Venus will make a fool of you. Venus honored crowns foolishness with truth, though.
“That something is a fiction doesn’t make it any less real.”—Teen Witch
This may be the best bit of chaos magic I’ve seen in a bit. That it doesn’t call itself magic is even better.
This is a clever, clever little key.