Saturday, January 13, 2018

Help Needed

Hello, Witches.
This post is to ask for your help in magically creating justice for a turd whose initials are DCB. I am not publishing his full name because his alleged crimes are not in the public domain or even in the hands of the constabulary at the moment. The universe and powers know who this person is and he edges towards his fate as we speak. I look forward to reporting a success similar to that with the former Abbot Soper.
Here's a suitable incantation:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Tarot: 'Hidden Mickeys' in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The universe's gift to me was a used RWS tarot deck from a Blue Cross charity shop. I know there is a strong tradition that magical tools should be 'virgin' but my own opinion is that the universe will give me what I need at the right time and the tool may even include the vibrations of what it's been through before. In this case it had magical gift written all over it - the cards were in a box I picked up and although I didn't want the box I bought the whole thing and gave them back the box to sell again, as 'payment'. They are the standard UK RWS tarot cards, definitely used but not in bad nick. I feel that they belonged to a woman, a nice person. I am unsure why she gave them away, and I sense a certain disconnection - perhaps she just didn't click with them. Anyway, they immediately leapt into life in my hands and when I asked what they have to teach me, I drew The Star. Hope - what a lovely lesson.
It has revived my interest in the 'hidden Mickeys' in that deck, so here is a non-exhaustive list of them. I am not attempting to interpret them, just point out some things not apparent.
O The Fool - the symbols on his belt represent the seven planets to some. There is an eagle depicted on his bag.
I The Magician - the top of the leg of his table may hold the word 'din' (there isn't even agreement on what alphabet it's in), which in Hebrew means law or judgement, or the squiggles are sometimes seen as alchemical or elemental symbols. His belt is in the shape of an ourobouros.
II The High Priestess - the pomegranates on the hanging behind her are in shape of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Attempts to see words in the folds of her garment are sadly unconvincing, in my opinion. The water which can be glimpsed behind the veil is said to be the source of every other body of water in the tarot.
V The Hierophant - some people see acorns and oak leaves at the top of the pillars.
VII The Chariot - the charioteer's clothing is covered in astrological signs and his belt with geomantic symbols used for divination in the Golden Dawn.
VIII Strength - some people see bees flying around me maiden's head.
X Wheel of Fortune - the alchemical glyphs from the top clockwise are mercury (conscious/ego), sulphur (passion/will), water (dissolution) and salt (inertia).
XI Justice - there is a tradition connected with the Marseilles tarot that the rope round the figure's neck is the rope which hangs the Hanged Man.
XIII Death - there is a tiny entry to a cave in the background of the card, which is sometimes connected to Plato's Allegory of the Cave.
XIV Temperance - just under the neckline of the angel's garment is the biblical name for God in Hebrew letters.
XX Judgement - the figures' arm postures may spell out the Latin word LUX - light.
7 of Cups - the shading on the cup containing a laurel wreath forms the shape of a skull.
4 of Swords - the Latin word 'pax', which means peace, appears at the top left of the stained glass window.
8 of Swords - the number of coils of rope are the same as are used in a masonic ritual (sorry, didn't note its name) and so signify being reborn.
10 of Swords - the man's fingers form the Japanese kichijo-in mudra, indicating good fortune or joy. In Chinese mudras this one is called the sword mudra and indicates cutting through perpetual difficulties.
9 of Pentacles - some people on t'internet are adamant they can see an indication there is another person in this scene - either a hand or an eye. I have never been able to myself, but do wonder whether Pixie intended the background to be suggestive.
Queen of Pentacles - there is a rabbit in the foreground of the card.
7 of Wands - the figure has odd shoes on.
Sources include many internet forums and quite a few from Sandra Thomson's Pictures from the Heart.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Reblog: A Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft

1. If the land is poisoned, the witchcraft must respond.

2. It is not our way if life, it is life itself which is under threat

3. Witchcraft is our intimate connection to the web of life.

4. We are the Witchcraft.

5. Our World has forever changed. The trodden paths no longer correspond. Witchcraft thrives in this liminal, lunar, trackless realm.

6. We are storm, fire and flood.

7. We will not be denied.

8. Witchcraft is the recourse of the dispossessed, the powerless, the hungry and the abused. It gives heart and tongue to stones and trees. It wears the rough skin of beasts. It turns on a civilization that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

9. If you have no price you cannot be bought. If you do not want you cannot be bribed. If you are not frightened you cannot be controlled.

10. Witchcraft is folk magic, the magic of the people and for the people.

11. We call an end to the pretence of respectability.

12. We will not disarm ourselves.

13. The war is upon us.

14. Choose then to become a Mask.

15. Those with nothing left to lose will dare all.

16. There is one Witchcraft under many names. There is one Grand Sabbat on one mountain. There are many ways to fly. There is no witness present at the Sabbat.

17. Witchcraft is a force, not an order. Witchcraft is rhizomatic, not hierarchic. Witchcraft defies organisation, not meaning. We simply bear the marks.

18. Witchcraft is power and possesses this in ekstasis, sex and ordeal.
Witchcraft is unbridled sexuality.

19. In witchcraft it is the woman who initiates. We challenge man to be the equal of this woman.

20. Witchcraft is the art of inversion.

21. Witchcraft is the beauty which is terror.

22. Witchcraft is a myth, which drawing on the past, clothes itself in the symbols of (its) time.
Witchcraft does not mistake myths for history, it harnesses them to transform the future.
Witchcraft knows the ground upon which it stands.

23. Witchcraft honours the spirits. Witchcraft enchants for the lost. Witchcraft will not forget.

24. Witchcraft embodies our ancestors and saints, they carry us with them.

25. To Her is offered the blood, to use the care of the ask and bones.

26. The example we follow is our own.

27. The practice of witchcraft is one of revolution and of the power of woman.

28. The Goddess who speaks through us is known among men as Babalon.

29. Witchcraft concerns itself with mystery. Through the gates of mystery we come to knowledge. Knowledge enters us through the body. The highest form of this knowledge is Love.

30. Every drop of blood is sacrificed to the grail. Love cannot be bought with any other coin.

31. We seek and drink this wine together.

32. Will is finite, passion infinitely renewed.

33. Witchcraft is present, its is ensanguined and vivified. Witchcraft is prescient, it gazes on the future. Witchcraft is oracular, it will not hold its tongue. Our time has come

…from Apocalyptic Witchcraft by Peter Grey, published by Scarlet Imprint


Monday, January 1, 2018

On not Getting Derailed

Another new year and yet again I'm not making any resolutions. I know that nobody ever keeps tham and they are a waste of time. Instead I am adopting an interest in noting how people get diverted or divert each other from what is going on.
It may seem like I'm getting away from the point, but recently I have posted here how the former Abbot of Ealing has been sent to prison for a term of eighteen years for mutliple counts of child abuse. It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I hope the cunt dies in prison. Not because he has abused children - I suspect there are many men and women who have urges to do so and do a full and frank inventory on themselves resulting in them taking action to keep children safe. For example they wouldn't because a teacher. It is only the same sort of action I have taken to stop myself smoking, but writ large. I have performed a full and frank inventory and know that I can't smoke. Or rather, I can't smoke just one or the odd one, so I cannot smoke at all. This is only really the same action - I am keeping myself away from a behaviour which I know I cannot manage and will cause harm - in this case - to me rather than to others.
But Mr Soper (as he is referred to on the Ealing Abbey website) is not showing signs of doing a full and frank inventory. Remember that in English law, for a criminal conviction it has to be proved *beyond reasonable doubt* that you have actually committed the crime you are accused of, which indicates that in this case there is a large body of compelling evidence that he's guilty. The smallest hint that you might not have done it and you don't get convicted. But in the face of this evidence Mr Soper didn't plead guilty. He claimed to be not guilty to the multiple crimes, in the face of multiple accusers and witnesses, to the bitter end. His non guilty plea meant that his victims had to be retraumatised by a criminal trial which needn't have happened. The accounts of the lengthy trial suggest that his defending counsel tried her absolute damnedest but she had absolutely nothing to work with and was on a losing wicket.
Not only has he not caved in and admitted that he's as guilty as hell, there are indications on the internet that he has started using diversionary tactics (phew, managed to get the post back on its subject). He is playing for sympathy. He was very upset at the reaction of other prisoners in the prison van to having a nonce among them. What a pity. You can imagine how sorry I feel for him. 'Look at poor little innocent me' is what the diversionary tactics are aimed at saying. And it's spotting and dealing with these kind of diversionary tactics that are my current focus - they create further abuse for existing targets and indicate that the person employing the tactics is either ignoring the problem or looking after number one.
The other discussion which has broken out on the internet in the wake of his conviction is whether his victims should forgive him. There is one blog (called Sceptical Thoughts) which has tended to become solely about child protection and at Ealing Abbey and the English Benedictine Congregation in particular and a particularly lively discussion has broken out on there about the power of forgiveness to enable healing. Again it will come as no surprise that the Hound's official position is that the target of abuse should feel no obligation to forgive their abuser - particularly in a case like this where the abuser is not willing to carry the can for his actions. In fact my opinion is that in the maelstrom of strange experiences and emotions which happen after trauma, keeping hold of the fact of it happening may be one of the few things which create healing as being a source of validation for the target, in the face of overwhelming denial about the fact of it happening. This is to my mind a very good reason for refusing to be diverted from the fact of abuse happening.
I did actually meet Mr Soper once when I visited Ealing Abbey. The visit was for a matter of hours only and I wasn't there for long enough to get an impression of what he or the community were about. He is the second convicted clerical/monastic abuser I have met - the other was Fr Phillip Temple of Cockfosters Monastery. Now I have to confess with him that he is the person who has made me understand why people say they didn't know an abuser was abusing, because I thought I had him sussed and had *no* idea. Even other people who knew him better than me werer surprised when he was convicted. He did the right thing and after an initial non guilty plea, changed his plea to guilty and fessed up. This is the opposite of using diversionary tactics.
The other things which has been making me think about diversionary tactics recently has been comments on Bishop Pat Buckley's blog. These tend to follow the more classic arguments used by those who try to divert attention from the problem at hand. So that, say, when the topic under discussion is the fact the Catholic church is a cesspit of sexual abuse and clergy not living in any way in the way they are supposed to do so, we get answers such as this:
'You're forgetting about the many good priests who get on with it and live celibately'.
'The abusive priests are only a few bad apples.' [This is the most ridiculous one because Catholic clerical abusers may not exceed the proportion in the general population but have been extensively facilitated by their bishops]
'You are anti-Catholic.' [Another ridiculous one]
'Those things happened in the 70s and the 80s but things have changed now.' [Let me see, child abuse was a crime and a mortal sin even then, so the behaviour and response to it was illegal and sinful, and the recent inquiry has been hearing about a teacher abusing a girl pupil at Ampleforth in the Noughties]
'We all have sins and you should think about your own.' [Pause for laughter - I have a lot of sexual sins between consenting adults and am very proud of them indeed]
And so on and so on. You get my point, which is that diversionary tactics divert from the actual problem, whether making the odd case out to be an aberration or denying its importance, or diverting attention to the person pointing out what has happened. The Christian milieu is particularly vulnerable to diversion because of the dangerous custom of confessing things and having them wiped off the slate. This is dangerous because it - literally - 'absolves' the person of any future responsibility for it. It's gone. It's exactly like me smoking the 19th Camel in a packet and thinking 'I'll just have this one, because I have stopped.'
The key to recognising and dealing with diversion is tha one I suggested above - a full and frank inventory of what is actually happening, which will always be bound to be embarrassing and painful. Especially painful when one is considering how one may be using diversionary tactics as a defence mechanism in ones own life. Personally I find it helpful to think of it in a diagram. When you draw arrows to indicate who is talking about what, diversion will always appear as an arrow pointing away from the person. I can tell that this year I'm going to be drawing a lot of diagrams!
Happy new year, everyone.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Witch Food: Hecate (or even Kali) Bowls

Taking pictures of the food I eat isn't particularly something which interests me and I certainly wouldn't want to inflict them on my readers here. It is frankly one of the most bizarre trends there is.
In fact the whole world has gone mad about food. It not only has to be just so, it has to appear on instagram.
Another 'healthy' food trend is the Buddha bowl. The recipe is simple: it has to be organic, spiralised, vegan (asking for trouble in later life, to my mind), free-range, often contain that bizarre kwinoah stuff, and the ingredients must be bought at Waitrose. Then posted on instagram, of course. The reason they're called Buddha bowls is they draw on the idea of the Buddha's begging bowl, the contents of which he would eat in the evening. Did I say they also have to come with a large dollop of tahini, one of privilege and a third of smugness?
Anyway, the reason you're seeing tomorrow's lunch is that I met the Buddha outside Primark today, have murdered him, seized his bowl, and witchified his recipe. My unfluffy witchy philosophy is that life is a bitch and all things die, so this is a bowl sacred to the Goddess, and is a sacrifice you can eat. Yes, you're eating death. That's the point.
My Hecate bowl has blood sausage and of course Hecate loves blood. The rice is saturated with sesame oil and there are further sesame seeds in the mixed seeds sprinkled on top. Strictly speaking black sesame seeds are sacred to the Goddess but the bag of them I have is reserved for a sacrifice in a graveyard. You could put red coloured fish in it, reminiscent of the red mullet offered to her in the ancient world.
Ready to say grace?
Come infernal, terrestrial, and heavenly Bombo (Hecate), goddess of the broad roadways, of the crossroad, thou who goest to and fro at night, torch in hand, enemy of the day. Friend and lover of darkness, thou who doest rejoice when the bitches are howling and warm blood is spilled, thou who art walking amid the phantom and the in place of the tombs, thou whose thirst is blood, thou who doest strike chill and fear in mortal hearts, Gorgo, Mormo, Moon of a thousand forms, cast a propitious eye on our sacrifice.
Hippolytus in Philosphumena 
Oh - and some music to eat by. This song of course deliberately sounds rude and I first heard it sung by Hinge and Bracket :

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Spirit of Place: Wrap up Brum

Who but me would illustrate a post about Birmingham Cathedral wrapping people up in warm clothes with a picture of the cathedral featuring nipples and a big smile? As usual it's a picture I saved some time ago without noting the source so I will happily attribute it if a copyright owner comments or emails me.
I'm feeling rather guilty, actually. Birmingham has the highest number of homeless people outside London. In witchy terms the reasons for that are the welcoming spirit of place and generous natives. I have previously quoted William Hutton's quotation from an eighteenth century homeless man:
It is singular, that a predilection for Birmingham, is entertained by every denomination of visitants, from Edward Duke of York, who saw us in 1765, down to the presuming quack, who, griped with necessity, boldly discharges his filth from the stage. A paviour, of the name of Obrien, assured me in 1750, that he only meant to sleep one night in Birmingham, in his way from London to Dublin. But instead of pursuing his journey next morning, as intended, he had continued in the place thirty-five years: and though fortune had never elevated him above the pebbles of the street, yet he had never repented his stay.
But  now the supports for homeless people are bending under the strain. The reason I feel guilty is that in the evenings when charities are dishing out food I tend to find myself thinking that the churches aren't visibly doing anything. I said No when a friend asked me if I wanted to do the St Basil's sleepout this year. The affluent sleeping out at will does not change imbalance. I'm aware that I don't have answers to this problem, am not actively doing anything to change the system. I'm bothered by the idea of being 'alongside' homeless people mentioned below - no you are not alongside them at all, you have a nice cosy house to go back to. Nonetheless I'm rather guilty because the Christians are doing *something* for homeless people.
Posting this also allows me to indulge in being probably the only time a witch blog will quote the Church Times (Source):
ROUGH sleepers and homeless people are being offered a free warm coat in an initiative by Birmingham Cathedral, “Wrap Up Brum”. Throughout Advent, a clothes rail in the Cathedral Square is being filled with coats donated after an appeal on social media.
The chief executive of the cathedral, Anna Pitt, described it as a gesture “to show that we are alongside those people at this time of year when it is really cold”. The cathedral is already involved in several projects to aid the homeless, including working with the charity St Basil’s, which targets youngsters sleeping on the streets, and last month it organised a “sleepout” in Cathedral Square which raised about £150,000.
“The Square is a really central location,” Mrs Pitt said. “We estimate up to 25,000 people walk through it every day, and among them are those who are homeless and rough sleeping; so, for a lot of time, the cathedral grounds are a place of greater engagement than inside the church; so we try to use that space as much as we can.
“The idea of the clothes rail is straightforward: if people want to donate a coat, they can; and, if people want a coat, they can take one. We have had a really huge, positive response. We have had hundreds of coats donated — people have even put gloves and scarves in the pockets.
“When the temperature dropped last week, and it was biting cold, people really engaged with it.” One woman donated 50 coats.
The problem of homelessness in Birmingham was no different to any other city, Mrs Pitt said, “but we have some really excellent charities here doing excellent things. Rough sleeping is a visible issue, and we can’t ignore their needs at this time of year.”
Addendum: I have now done an image search of the picture and find that this was the source of the image and the roofer was called Terence France.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Urban Grimoire: Joss Paper and Villain Beating

In this blog's relentless aim to be educational as well as entertaining, I am about to stray into multiple areas that I can't really claim to understand but am nonetheless fascinated by. Perhaps I should say at the beginning that the majority o my information up to the bit about beating up villains comes from the blog, which can be blamed for errors of fact, and I stand to be corrected on errors of interpretation.
One of the most difficult cultures for white people to understand is Chinese culture. It is difficult enough to understand even when it is explained to us, but it doesn't help that it is frequently mediated through a collection of bizarre racial stereotypes which we tend to absorb uncritically and then have few opportunities to correct.
An aspect which is fairly easy for magical people to understand is the custom of burning joss paper, and thus conveying what is burned to the ancestors in the spirit world. How magical can this get? The whole point of most magical theory is that an action in one part of the multiverse has a corresponding reaction (which is what the magician is after) in another part. I am not by saying this denigrating Chinese Taoist or traditional religious practices as merely magic - I understand that the dividing line between magic and religion can be a very changeable one - and it should be understood that these practices are not merely folk magic but part of a whole cosmology which is built into the society.
We have all seen the paper money and consumer items up to and including cars and mobile phones which are burned so that the ancestors can have these things. Where the practice starts getting really interesting is when the metal patches on the sheets of paper start to carry the Chinese for longevity or other things - this is actually carrying a virtue or strength to the person on the other side, rather than material objects. In fact, life is a recurring motif for the dead person - the astronomical denominations on the Bank of Hell notes are intended to be used in paying off the God of Death, apparently. The difference between magic intended to change things here and this practice is that it is intended to improve things posthumously. The practice is thought to date back more than a thousand years and to have started at funerals. Nowadays it isn't just done willy-nilly but at birthdays and festivals such as the appealingly (to me) named Hungry Ghosts festival when all the dead comes back at once.
Again I had better put in a disclaimer about the next practice that I am writing about - I am not making any connection between the two *as I see things*, because I am coming from a point of view where things magical, spiritual and religious are bound up and volitionally conflated on a daily basis. The next practice is probably thought to be rather disreputable.
Most of the literature I have read about this practice focsues on Hong Kong, but since the practice is not that different from any magical practuce I will bet you find similar things elsewhere. The connection I want to make between joss paper burning for ancestors and da siu yan ( or villain hitting) is best seen when we consider the role that defixiones played in ancient European magic. In Chinese culture the articles which mediate the blessing or curse are paper and beaten or burned - in Roman Europe they were lead and commonly thrown down a drain.
When we get to villian hitting we are on more solidaly magical rather than religious ground. It appeals to the Hound enormously because it's exactly the kind of magical cottage industry which tickles me. You pay an old lady to curse your enemies. Simple as that, although just like the ancient defixiones apparently you can buy DIY kits in shops. This is the kind of magic the Hound like best!
There is a customary location for doing this villain hitting, which is in an underpass - obviously in Hong Kong it will commonly mean you are under a road. I have no idea why this is, but again it is a detail which makes every magical sense in my body prick up, when I think of the magic I have done in underpasses over the years.
As is usual with magic the origins of this sorcery are venerable, and began with the practice of farmers appeasing the white tiger by smearing pig's blood onto paper white tigers so that the tiger would be fed and not attack the village. As time went on the paper tigers became the way in which people's enemies were attacked, appeased, exorcised, or banished.
The paper which illustrates this post is the object link with the target. There may or may not be a sacrifice to a divinity of choice depending on when the ceremony is taking place. Then the villian hitter merely hits the villain, apparently with a shoe, ad lib until it is done. The paper is apparently burned.
Once again I'm not completely sure I'm interpreting this right. The paper above (which I'm afraid I didn't make a note of where I found it) can only really be intended for cursing! I'm not sure if it is even actually from the villian hitting ceremony. Certainly the lady in the video below says it isn't for cursing at all. But then I say that myself...