Thursday, December 30, 2010

Peace is for the boring, run free brother!

Yesterday morning, I woke from a strange dream of the Sabbat circle. The others had fled back into the darkness, as the sun wound itself backward from the West. The Father and Mother, they left as well. Shadow and mist evaporating in the light. The embers of the fire were low, and hot, rolling in the colors of sunset.

Across from me there was another witch. I'd seen him through the fire once or twice, but I wasn't sure. He was older than I remembered him, but glowed with a stronger inner fire. It'd been a coon's age since I saw him. Three, maybe four years. I'd had word, but he goes other places, and does other Work. I smiled, I cried out to him, and ran 'round the circle-edge to see him... one of the old gay men that taught this young 'Whatsit' how to be Witch.

"How have you been, you old fuck?" I shouted, we shook hands from the wrist and clapped backs.
"Sick. But I'm better now." He said, right into my ear.

I could hear and feel it all in the words. He'd been sick, and he died. He died well, with his mind still his own, but he had suffered immensely. No one had told us, because he did not want to be seen like that by any of us. He knew we would take his symptoms (against his will, if we had to), and he'd still die - and we'd all suffer. It had been so fast I didn't even dream of teeth...

"Oh... Oh... no. But at least They fetched you here..."
"'Oh no', 'Oh yes' and don't fuss over me. It doesn't hurt anymore. And I wasn't -fetched-, I got here the same way I always do. We don't need psychopomps - we ARE psychopomps." He gives me a look - still the teacher.

We talk, longer than we should. When the piping tones start to come from the treeline, we run. The old dog and I, barking, nipping and rolling... and he stops. He looks off toward the piping, and he smiles his hound-dog smile. And then he's gone... he's faery now.

I got the call late last night, beginning with "You already know, but..." . He taught me about the spirits in the wood, and how to induce the shifting state, and so many other things. He died very abruptly (thank the gods). He is survived by his husband, and the children he made in the Circle of Art. His Family, blood or not.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sticky-fingered Readers, and The Occult.

I've always had mixed feelings about the trade in torrented Occult documents, xerox'd copies of out-of-print books, PDFs of high-priced volumes... all making their circulations. But a part of me says "Ah, they're meant to be read. I've begged, borrowed and paid off people to read their books before, I can't blame someone for not going to the same lengths to do things right" -- and yet, can't I?

Whether the text is copyrighted, or intellectual, or spiritual, or emotional - the theft is there. Distribution of books with proper attribution may not send me into frothing, but erasing the credit and replacing it with one's own? Ooh, I seethe.

I read more blogs than some folks must think. I know quite well when someone is copying material, experiences and ideas from this blog (or other blogs, for that matter), and posting it as their own. I find it absolutely disgusting. Blogs are absolutely meant to be read, to inspire - but not "inspire" in the sense of inspiring someone to copy them outright.

I'm not just pissing around, you know. I really do have these experiences, and I fear - to the depths of my heart do I fear - what will happen to those who dabble, meddle, and falsify about them. You're flirting with meaner and more vicious things than you realize, and by each of your actions, each of your words, you ring out to them. You garner their attention.

Of course, that brings me back to the old chestnut of Magicians/Witches who espouse their own greatness, and secretly have no faith whatsoever in the reality of their workings, have no faith in the spirits, and no faith in the gods.

The beings in the firelight of the Sabbat-circle are not all sweet. The growling maw of The Mother is nothing compared to some of those things when they are offended. When you speak of the Power they hear, and they come - and if they find you wanting? Oh god, pity does not approach what I would feel.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Drawing 'Drakes and Robe Rage 2!

Mandragora Madness! Drake Drudgery! Manniken Ma- er... I give up.

Not that long ago I asked Harold Roth of Alchemy Works for permission to do some stylized drawings from photos of his absolutely luscious mandrakes.

For those who have been studiously hiding under rocks for the last five years or more, Harold has been one of very, very, few Practitioners, let alone retailers, successfully growing and selling Mandragora officinarum roots and seeds. His roots are some of the loveliest I've seen anywhere, including the few wild roots I've seen uploaded online.

Since then I've been sketching little bits here and there, anthropomorphizing the forms without taking away the essential "rootness". I'm sure either Harold, or the final owners, could suss their own root's form out of some of the drawings. The whole , original, idea was to use one such drawing to illustrate a forthcoming book of mine - but the project has expanded. The roots are too visually awesome. I've got three done, and several more in the sketch stage. The root on the left is intended to be the illustration in the aforementioned book, but I may settle on the jaunty fellow on the right.

Here's a really poor photo from my phone, with water-marks to deter dirty thieves, who should really know better than to steal anything from a witch. These were done on regular printer paper, with pencil sketches, over which I used Micron pens, and Faber-Castell pitt pens. If anyone I know well enough to trust would like to see larger scans, let me know.


Fully willing to admit the inkwork might be evocative of the Xoanon press artworks. But this is a style I've used and loved for a very long time, prior to even knowing about the existence of Xoanon. All I can say is perhaps, just perhaps, this sorta art is just meant for juju-doings.

The Robe Rage - AGAIN!

Well, I located some fabric, and have begun drafting my pattern. Several things have occurred to me, the main part of which is that I have gained a LOT of weight these last two years. I suppose walking all over Texas in the summer heat did more for my figure than I realized. And I also suppose I was walking far more than I realized. Luckily there is still enough fabric, though once I do trim back down I'll really be swimming in my robe.

I may be borrowing my mother's sewing machine for some of the finishing touches. My machine is a very practical beast, it does strait lines, slightly curved lines, zigzags and buttonholes if I hit it hard enough. Her machine has a hundred little programmed stitch designs, including vines and leaves - of course, her machine is also the most fickle thing I've ever operated. Finishing hems with little dark green vines would be lovely, I must admit.

Final tally is 3 packages of pre-cut 2yrd lengths, and one 5yrd "bolt". There will be enough material to fully sew and line the robe, hood and add pockets. I may have enough spare material to make a lined bag or two, including one to store the robe itself in, and a very large number of small, unlined, rune/tarot bags.

ETA

I cut out the robe tonight (12/13), and in dinking myself up a bit, have less fabric than expected, but still enough to finish the project. Remember: If you've told yourself to cut something on a fold, bloody well do what you said and cut it on the fold.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rituals and Robe-Rage.

When I conduct ritual for myself, I know the meaning of everything I'm doing and saying. I know that when I cry out to The Horned Master that I'm not speaking of Satan-the-boogeyman. I know that when I put my knee down at the altar it's more because my altar is short, and my gimpy leg* can't take standing crouched, than because I'm kneeling in pious prayer or humility. But for public ritual, these are not a given.

In private ritual I might take time to prepare offerings, slicing up fruit, carefully pouring wine. I might specifically evoke the spirits (Deva/l, Genius Locii) of the materials in the ritual... but in public ritual I just don't have the time. And then, too... if I offer up something wet and red, no one will likely smile and nod at that.

I'm writing a ritual for an upcoming open circle, and I find myself reeling. So much information to present. Everything from the cosmology to the ritual actions - each must be described and explained in it's own way. How much time do I devote to explaining the Stang and it's role? How much to the broom or cauldron? Do I reveal subtle little-m-mysteries, that some might consider bound by oath? Do I keep to the process I use, or alter it to fit the expectations of neo-wiccans?

And that leads me to.... Robe Rage.

I've been scouring the internet for instructions on how to make decent ritual robes. What I've found is that apparently there is not a single goddamned pagan out there who drafts patterns, and that Star Wars fans have better fashion sense.

I also discovered that the sewing/craft stores have cloaks, not robes, or if they have robe patterns they cost $15, require thirty yards of fabric, and look like shit.

So, I'm drafting a pattern for a hooded robe that's simple enough for just about anyone to slam together in a few hours. Embellishing it will take a lot longer. Depending on the size of the person the robe should only take about 7 yards of 45" fabric, or about half that in 60". A shrewd operator could pick up all the needed materials at Wallyworld for $30-ish.