To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery. – Charles Baudelaire
On her shut lids the lightning flickers,
Thunder explodes above her bed,
An inch from her lax arm the rain hisses;
Discrete she lies,
Not dead but entranced, dreamlessly
With slow breathing, her lips curved
In a half-smile archaic, her breast bare,
The house rocks, a flood suddenly rising
Bears away bridges: oak and ash
Are shivered to the roots – royal green timber.
She nothing cares.
(Divine Augustus, trembling at the storm,
Wrapped sealskin on his thumb; divine Gaius
Made haste to hide himself in a deep cellar,
Distraught by fear.)
Rain, thunder, lightning: pretty children.
“Let them play,” her mother-mind repeats;
“They do no harm, unless from high spirits
Or by mishap.”
Sunday Afternoon/March 27th:
I first started to put this post together back in October, 28th 2010 in the heat running up to the mid-term elections. I put in about 60 revisions, or at least saved that many times. I built it up, then tore it down several times, and finally I am ready to let it go.
So without much ado, here it is. My thoughts on the modern malaise of social sorcery, and assorted ideas and music that kind of ties it all up into a package in my head. I hope you enjoy it, and remember folks, is that thought really your own?
On The Menu:
Sorcery In Modern Times
The Golden Age (L’âge d’or) (1930)
Nouvelle Vague – Fade To Grey
Sorcery – Hakim Bey
Nouvelle Vague – Love Will Tear Us Apart
“Rarely has a people paid the lavish compliment and taken the subtle revenge of turning its oppressor’s speech into sorcery.” – T. E. Kalem
“May it preserve thee from sorcery, from thy equals and thy kin! Undying be, immortal, exceedingly vital; thy spirits shall not abandon thy body!” – Atharva Veda
“The teaching of the church, theoretically astute, is a lie in practice and a compound of vulgar superstitions and sorcery” – Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy
“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: / To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.”
“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.” – Luis Barragan
The Year Of Thinking Magically
Military Experiments: The Short Take
Early Arrivals? Haven’t gone far enough off shore yet…
What really happened in Trafalgar Square
How the Hippies Saved Physics
Sorcery In Modern Times
“Sorcery, n. The ancient prototype and forerunner of political influence. It was, however, deemed less respectable and sometimes was punished by torture and death. Augustine Nicholas relates that a poor peasant who had been accused of sorcery was put to the torture to compel a confession. After enduring a few gentle agonies the suffering simpleton admitted his guilt, but naively asked his tormentors if it were not possible to be a sorcerer without knowing it.” – Ambrose Bierce
It seems that we live in a time of deep, and dark sorcery. The unprecedented assault upon the collective psyche over the last century via media in any other time would have constituted ‘a magical attack’ in times past. This assault has gone on unparalleled for as long as it has means that something deeper and perhaps sinister has developed from the initial casting of spells. As in any magickal venture, one must be ready for ‘blowback’ if the spell has been cast perhaps incorrectly.
(Due to the rules being changed during ‘The Reformation’, using terms like sorcery, magick, spells, were cast aside for say; science, theory, practice… 80) Let’s be straight about this, it is all a matter of will…)
With first ‘The Press’, then cinema, radio then television, and now the internet. Perhaps the best example acknowledged of how this works would be “The Nazi Era” in Germany. With the guidance of Goebbels, a campaign was instigated to win the hearts and minds of the populace. Using his own words, we can easily define the spell work:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
(see also: The Will and The Way)
Before we pat ourselves on the back, remember that Goebbels techniques were not of his sole development, but in large part refinements of Madison Avenue’s marriage to Psychiatric Theory in the 1920′s. It is that knowledge that should give us pause, and make us wonder, at least in part where these events 80-70 years in the past have resonance with current events.
How The Spell Is Cast:
Lesser of Two Evils
Pinpointing the Enemy
(Source) Originally compiled by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1938
Now these techniques have been used in countless ways, from selling you shoes, vitamins, cars to shaping political discourse among other things. Watching the events of the last several years, one has to admire the use of the dark arts in the arena of public opinion. Faux (fox) News has been brilliant in its overt manipulation of message for the Republican Party. Nothing is ever neutral in their approach, everything is laid out just so. No wonder the uneducated mind is easily snared in the deceptions. Remember, most people are taught “What To Think, Not How To Think”… logic, once taught in public and private schools has not raised it’s hoary head in perhaps forty years. Civics, and the teaching of social responsibility went the way of music and the arts.
If one wants to indeed cast a spell, then the ignorant or semi educated are perhaps best to be practiced upon. The less educated one is in logic, rhetoric, and the more one is steered by fear and the emotional drives in decisions etc, the easier one is stampeded in the directions that the masters want. There are several levels to be aware of at all times when dealing with any form of media, and indeed in conversation, as conversations and our inner thoughts are the targets of the manipulators. Think of it as a form of mental colonization. If your unformed thoughts, opinions, desires can be supplanted by the memes of a society based in dominating the populace, then you can be tapped and tapped again until you take on certain thoughts and patterns of thoughts. Eventually, a person will not be able to parse their genuine thoughts apart from the programming.
With all of the overload of media and input, keeping ones balance and finding your genuine thoughts are perhaps one of the great modern task. Watch what your reactions are. Are they really yours, or have they been implanted?
The Golden Age (L’âge d’or) (1930)
I never turned anyone into a pig.
Some people are pigs; I make them
Look like pigs.
I’m sick of your world
That lets the outside disguise the inside. Your men weren’t bad men;
Did that to them. As pigs,
Under the care of
Me and my ladies, they
Sweetened right up.
Then I reversed the spell, showing you my goodness
As well as my power. I saw
We could be happy here,
As men and women are
When their needs are simple. In the same breath,
I foresaw your departure,
Your men with my help braving
The crying and pounding sea. You think
A few tears upset me? My friend,
Every sorceress is
A pragmatist at heart; nobody sees essence who can’t
Face limitation. If I wanted only to hold you
I could hold you prisoner.
– Louise Gluck –
Nouvelle Vague – ” Fade To Grey “
Sorcery -Hakim Bey
This essay has been used before on Turfing, but with the current subject matter a little repetition of source material is permitted. 80) I recently read through the TAZ writings again, and much of it still holds up, as long as you skirt the obvious comments about then current events etc. Some of it does not read so well, but still all in all there are gems to be found. – Gwyllm
THE UNIVERSE WANTS TO PLAY. Those who refuse out of dry spiritual greed & choose pure contemplation forfeit their humanity–those who refuse out of dull anguish, those who hesitate, lose their chance at divinity–those who mold themselves blind masks of Ideas & thrash around seeking some proof of their own solidity end by seeing out of dead men’s eyes.
Sorcery: the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results.
The incremental openings of perception gradually banish the false selves, our cacophonous ghosts–the “black magic” of envy & vendetta backfires because Desire cannot be forced. Where our knowledge of beauty harmonizes with the ludus naturae, sorcery begins.
No, not spoon-bending or horoscopy, not the Golden Dawn or make-believe shamanism, astral projection or the Satanic Mass–if it’s mumbo jumbo you want go for the real stuff, banking, politics, social science–not that weak blavatskian crap.
Sorcery works at creating around itself a psychic/physical space or openings into a space of untrammeled expression– the metamorphosis of quotidian place into angelic sphere. This involves the manipulation of symbols (which are also things) & of people (who are also symbolic)–the archetypes supply a vocabulary for this process & therefore are treated as if they were both real & unreal, like words. Imaginal Yoga.
The sorcerer is a Simple Realist: the world is real–but then so must consciousness be real since its effects are so tangible. The dullard finds even wine tasteless but the sorcerer can be intoxicated by the mere sight of water. Quality of perception defines the world of intoxication–but to sustain it & expand it to include others demands activity of a certain kind–sorcery. Sorcery breaks no law of nature because there is no Natural Law, only the spontaneity of natura naturans, the tao. Sorcery violates laws which seek to chain this flow– priests, kings, hierophants, mystics, scientists & shopkeepers all brand the sorcerer enemy for threatening the power of their charade, the tensile strength of their illusory web.
A poem can act as a spell & vice versa–but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature–it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.
Incense & crystal, dagger & sword, wand, robes, rum, cigars, candles, herbs like dried dreams–the virgin boy staring into a bowl of ink–wine & ganja, meat, yantras & gestures– rituals of pleasure, the garden of houris & sakis–the sorcerer climbs these snakes & ladders to a moment which is fully saturated with its own color, where mountains are mountains & trees are trees, where the body becomes all time, the beloved all space.
The tactics of ontological anarchism are rooted in this secret Art–the goals of ontological anarchism appear in its flowering. Chaos hexes its enemies & rewards its devotees…this strange yellowing pamphlet, pseudonymous & dust-stained, reveals all…send away for one split second of eternity.
“The true secret of natural goodness lies in the recognition of the contending rights of the Pairs of Opposites; there is no such antimony as between Good and Evil, but only balance between two extremes, each of which is evil when carried to excess, both of which give rise to evil if insufficient for equipoise.” – Dion Fortune
When my doing is over
Find me on the open sea…
Letting my being expand
Letting my mind sleep…
I’ll be in every drop of water
feeding off the sun…
– Lanxin Curto
Sink down, sink down, sink deeper and more deep
Into eternal and primordial sleep.
Sink down, be still, forget and draw apart,
Into her inner earth’s most secret heart.
Drink the waters of Persephone,
The Secret well beside the Sacred Tree,
Waters of Life and Strength and Inner Light,
Eternal Joy born from the deeps of night.
Then rise made strong, with life and hope renewed,
Reborn from darkness and from solitude,
Blessed with the Blessings of Persephone,
The secret strength of Rhea Binah Ge.
– Dion Fortune
Love And Black Magic
To the woods, to the woods is the wizard gone;
In his grotto the maiden sits alone.
She gazes up with a weary smile
At the rafter-hanging crocodile,
The slowly swinging crocodile.
Scorn has she of her master’s gear,
Cauldron, alembic, crystal sphere,
For all such trumpery trash!” quo’ she.
“A soldier is the lad for me;
Hey and hither, my lad!
“Oh, here have I ever lain forlorn:
My father died ere I was born,
Mother was by a wizard wed,
And oft I wish I had died instead—
Often I wish I were long time dead.
But, delving deep in my master’s lore,
I have won of magic power such store
I can turn a skull—oh, fiddlededee
For all this curious craft!” quo’ she.
“A soldier is the lad for me;
Hey and hither, my lad!
“To bring my brave boy unto my arms,
What need have I of magic charms—
‘Abracadabra!’ and ‘Prestopuff’?
I have but to wish, and that is enough.
The charms are vain, one wish is enough.
My master pledged my hand to a wizard;
Transformed would I be to toad or lizard
If e’er he guessed—but fiddlededee
For a black-browed sorcerer, now,” quo’ she.
“Let Cupid smile and the fiend must flee;
Hey and hither, my lad.”
Invocation To Hecate
O Triple Form of Darkness
Thou Moon unseen of men
Thou Crowned demon of the crownless dead.
O breasts of blood, too bitter and too tender
Unseen of gentle spring.
Let me the offering
Bring to Thine Shrine’s sepulcheral glittering.
I slay the swarth beast, I bestow the blood
Sown in the dusk and gathered in the gloom
Under the waning moon.
At midnight hardly lightenig the East:
And the black lamb from the black ewe’s womb
I bring and stir the slow infernal tune
Fit for Thy Chosen Priest.
Here…where the band of Ocean breaks the road
Black trodden, deeply stooping to the abyss.
I shall salute Thee with a Nameless Kiss
Pronounced toward the uttermost abode of Thy supreme Desire.
I shall illume the fire
Whence the wild stryges shall illume the lyre
Whence thy lemures shall gather and spring round
Girding me in a sad funereal ground
With faces turned back…
My face averted.
I shall consumate this awful act of worship
Fear upon earth, and Fear in Hell,
And Black Fear in the Sky beyond fate
I hear the whining of Thy wolves! I hear
The howling of the hounds about Thy Form,
Who comest in the terror of Thy storm
And night falls faster, ere Thine eyes appear
Glittering through the mist,
O face of Woman unkissed
Save by the dead whose love is taken ere they wist!
Thee, Thee I call! O Dire One! O divine!
I, the sole mortal seek Thy deadly shrine;
Pour the dark stream of blood
A sleepy and a reluctant river
Even as Thou drawest with Thine Eyes on mine, To me
Across the sense bewildering flood
That holds my soul forever!
– Aleister Crowley (Edward Alexander Crowley)
Nouvelle Vague – Love Will Tear Us Apart