Friday, January 29, 2016

The Working of Magic

The French have a wonderful phrase which exactly describes the way the word 'magic' is used: un mot passepartout, a go-anywhere word. And thus we do talk of the magic of the theatre,  a magic trick, casting a spell on someone,  and so on. My point here is that since magic encompasses everything,  a final definition or theory will probably always be impossible.
The way my magic is working for me at the moment is this. This week I met with my 'manager's' manager. I simply sat there and told her how it is. The glamour I cast was one of complete reasonableness - I don't doubt for an instant that my 'manager' has been telling her for years that I'm completely unreasonable.
And it's worked. I know it's worked because the whole thing has just left me completely. I came out of her office with the conviction that I don't have to do anything more at this point. I've let the power out, and I just have to be nice as pie from now on and let it unfold. I will,  though,  admit to a certain hope that they'll cover it up,  since with what I've unleashed that would certainly result in something spectacular.
This freedom from what weighs you down is the ecstasy of the Goddess. It is a major point of magic,  and the reason I know it's worked is that it's also worked on me and I'm ready to move on. I have also fallen for someone else,  and thus fallen completely out of love with the cock-tease to the extent that I'm considering suggesting we have a go at being friends. Who'd've thought it?  It's that magic,  it gets everywhere and you can't shake it out again.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Carnie Tarot

My Xmas present to myself finally arrived yesterday from the US. It is the Carnie Elite tarot deck made by Outlaw Effects (carnie-tarot.html), who normally make equipment for the other kind of magic,  including this tarot deck.
I have written before here about how tarot decks seem to have a particular setting which suits them best: a theory I first came up with after my Marseille tarot suddenly became alive for me one evening in the pub, when previously I hadn't been able to relate to it at all. Obviously the natural setting for the Carnie tarot is the fairground, a fact which will not endear it to the ardent believers in the ancient Craft of the Wise. It is a marked deck intended for magic,  which I don't mind at all. This means that once you know the patterns you can tell the front of the card by looking at the back. Since I'm only interested in the front that doesn't bother me and I don't personally feel the need to learn the code.
Otherwise this is probably the highest -standard deck I have ever owned: it is a limited edition of 150 and was certainly the most expensive. Outlaw Effects make a few variants on this deck and I have chosen probably the most vanilla,  where the heads are not all transformed into skulls,  and which is based on the Marseille variant, the Flemish tarot. In this deck a couple of majors are drawn quite differently and a major difference is that V is Bacchus. Actually that would be the only criticism I have of this deck, that the titles of the majors are the normal ones and given in English, which just looks wrong. This is of course the perspective of someone who wants to do actual tarot readings with a Belgian flavour, rather than stage magic.
My personal biggest gamble in buying this sight unseen was that I do not normally like ready-aged cards, not even those of the Bicycle brand, which everyone else seems to love. However my fears were unfounded, it is not over-done at all. It looks like a quality repro of an old deck. I particularly like the spotty backs and the black colouring to the cards' edges.
And from a witch point of view,  it feels like a deck with a personality. I haven’t read with it yet, but it feels like the results will be upfront and it will naturally have a sense of humour. I am impressed with this feel from it, and perhaps its character is best summed up by the little rhyme on the two of cups :
The tarot cards in your possession
Must be held with good intention
Use their power not unwisely
And you will find a companion lively.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Return to the Centre

One of the things I did in my misspent youth was to be a Benedictine novice - one of many experiences which forced me to recognise that the empirical evidence in front of your eyes can't be beaten by others' imaginings. What I was seeking in my monastic life was much like what I have gained as a witch. The word monk comes from the Greek monos meaning alone,  and of course this has the same resonance for us as the language of the solitary witch,  who never is really solitary.
In witchcraft we also talk of grounding and centering - reconnecting to the earth and ones own energy. This is again almost exactly paralleled in much monastic language of the one thing necessary, a single eye, and so on.
I had a week of annual leave last week and while I did a little spring cleaning I mainly spent it returning to myself.
I feel this apparently simple act is one of the most radical things about the modern witchcraft movement,  and in fact the monastic movement has always been a source of radical action and in fact lunacy (what holds it back in the Christian tradition is its import from other religions in the fourth century after Christianity became the state religion, as a means of a 'career in the church '. Up till then the height of Christian achievement was being martyred). The source of this power in monasticism is the same as the source of the power of the witch to be a scandal to the world, the concentration on what is necessary. I see echoes of this idea even in Crowley's idea of will.
I returned to work today re-energised, to find a summons to a meeting with Zippy (my 'manager')'s manager to give me feedback on the outcome of the recent enquiry at which I was a witness. I have replied that since I haven’t so much as had a statement to sign yet and the whole thing wasn't desired or initiated by me, and Zippy has now given me what I wanted in the first place and the active sabotage of the team's work, seems to have stopped,  I'm happy and anyway don't feel it's really my business.
These people don't listen. And if they did they wouldn't have the nous to recognise what's going on in front of their eyes. She has no concept of the resources being a witch gives you, nor of what my next move will be. Is it any surprise, gentle reader, that I had a nap this afternoon and woke with a whole plan for different contingencies all worked out?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Building Paradise: Another Example of the Failure of Memory

This is not a post about Birmingham central library but a post about divination and recognising the blindingly obvious in front of you. I have read somewhere that the origin of the name of Paradise Circus was in a field there originally,  as was the case for Easy Row. The sceptical nose smells a rat here: how exactly could a row be called Easy? Well I can think of several ways and I'm sceptical about anywhere with heaven or paradise in its name. Anyway,  Paradise Circus is being redeveloped...again,  and this has caused the hound to reflect on the recurring subject of memory and failing to learn from it.
The central library is currently in process of demolition and the former Fletcher's Walk has been opened up to provide access to Broad Street - ironically much closer to Madin's vision of wide open brutalist spaces than the area has presented for several decades.
Don't get me wrong - while I like the central library enormously it has to go since its placement is impossible and it is brutal to use as well as look at.
But I'm going to make a couple of predictions. The obvious one is that in years to come the loss of the central library will be decried as a great shame: as an architect's wet dream it is bound to be. But given the enthusiasm with which the new Paradise is being trumpeted, I'll make another - it's one step too far for the city and will be redeveloped (or repurposed) in around another twenty years. The lesson that has not been learned is that planning for now only doesn't work: today's architects could not have read the newspaper article here from 1971, it's just long enough for it to be forgotten. Otherwise they might have looked at it and realised they were repeating the same mistakes again. The reason I say Paradise won't last is that the city cannot plainly cope with more mixed use development of the same sort. Primark have just stepped in to buy the nearly empty Pavilions and a new raft of very upmarket shops has just opened at the station.
Somebody on grindr recently asked me how a witch foretells the future and I told him it was by keeping an eye on the past and the present,  nothing more fancy than that.
Picture credit:">

Friday, January 1, 2016

Speaking plainly

I'm often aware that my posts here can be rather verbose. Yet I realise that I have written frequently about the importance of plainness and its significance for me of clarity. Clear thinking, clear speech, to the point, this of course is the way to make people hate you.
And you know what, it feels good. One of the interesting things to have come out of my recent spot of bother at work was to have the human resources manager comment that she expected I was pleased to be getting things sorted out ; I don't think she expected it to make me resolve to be even more forthright. I waltzed into work yesterday, flung open the office door and wished Zippy,  my 'manager', happy new year at the top of my voice.
Because I no longer care. I will no longer play happy families (at least I will change the rules to suit me). I have decided what is important and will go straight to it. This is the real virtue of plainness: it is an affront to the world of pretence and facades. It is the embodiment of the child commenting that the emperor is naked. And when you are free from the people who are busy pretending he's clothed, it frees you to see things with a new clarity.
I don't want to be liked by these people. If they actively hate me, then I can be fairly sure I'm doing the right thing. Clarity of thinking which causes scandal,  another aspect of the witch figure.
Not like Zippy. She's so muddled that she looked daggers at me when I wished her a happy new year. Of course we both know it was completely insincere, but I'm secure in the knowledge that I can both hate the bitch and play her game of playing nicely because it is necessary to leave her disempowered. She is so unclear in her thinking that she later felt she had to send me an email wishing me a happy new year!