ghosthound: (Default)
My father is a magician.

My mother learned witchcraft during my lifetime.

I was blessed, truly blessed, to grow up in a household where occult practices were taught to me from a very young age. As I was growing up I was not only taught why magic works, the nature of metaphysics, the history (such as it can be properly known) of magic and HOW to do magic that works. That was a big thing that will come into this rant later. I did magic. It worked. This was assumed to be the norm. Magic isn't just a noun. It is also a verb. Very important, that.

I was given, and came to reaffirm, a literalist view on magic. Spirits are real, objective intelligences that exist primarily on the astral plane and beyond but can have limited physical manifestations. Magic that you do works on levels beyond your psychological self. That kind of view makes up how I feel about magic.

Imagine my shock and hurt feelings when I finally grow into my mid teens and meet other people who do magic. Now, granted, I had to take a bus into the city and find the occult shop which was giving a six PM class on the Goetia. That was perfect, thought I, since I'd been working with evocation from the Keys of Solomon since I was fourteen. I had two years of worthwhile experience, I thought. My biggest worry was that I'd still seem like an amateur to most people there who I assumed would be rather like my father: A successful and skilled magician.

I was there for about a half hour before I realized that something was less than I expected. Everybody kept talking about Crowley's intro to the Mathers translation where he suggests demons in the Goetia are just a part of people's minds. I am asked two questions. The first question being why I am there and whether or not I realized that you had to be eighteen to sit in and the second being what I thought about that. I remember my response perfectly and how logical it sounded (and still sounds) coming out.

"I take that to mean that Crowley wasn't a powerful enough magician to actually accomplish evocation properly and said this to not only save face with the magical community but to continue a largely iconoclastic personality cult he had going for him at the time."

Perfect, academic, pompous prose from the sixteen year old me with his hair down to his waist and his TOOL hoodie.

In the next hour everyone in the room, all beautiful, gothed-out people by my estimation, yelled at me. I was mad to actually take it literally. It's all code, after all. Everything I believed literally was only figurative and happened on a psychological level. To make matters worse, all the ritual I'd been doing, all the tools I'd built, they didn't actually do anything but re-affirm the psychological models in my head which allowed the magic to "work."

I went home and cried like a thirteen-year-old stood up on a date. I actually went home and cried to my parents for fuck's sake about how mean and wrong everyone was. My father shrugged and laughed and asked me what I expected. How much had I read about that very common theory of how magic works and how often had I proved it wrong myself? My magic, he reminded me, had tangible, documented results honed through experimentation, daily meditation and the focus on building it like an artisan hones his craft.

After that I very rarely talked to anyone about magic for a long time. This stopped when I fell in love with someone enough to try and prove it. I'll spare you the long, sordid and silly tale of me falling for this person and them convincing me to try and prove it to them. Skip to the attempt... I failed. I did magic I'd done a hundred times in the privacy of my own sanctum sanctorum and it had zero effect. I was summarily dumped and years passed, I moved on, and I never tried to prove it to anybody again.

The thing that cuts deepest is the reason why it failed. It's simply metaphysics, of course. My focus was not on the intent of the ritual but on proving the ritual worked. I'm not able to bifurcate my mind and do both at once and achieve success. It makes so much fucking sense and, yet, is the explanation that falls perfectly flat on its face every time under the scrutiny of any who don't do magic.

It's a truly damning artform, isn't it? The Hermit card in the tarot deck makes so much sense all of a sudden. I can picture, just out of frame, a bunch of delinquents fucking his yard up and he's waving his lantern about menacingly decrying "those damn kids." That makes me laugh. It also makes me want to cry a little.

The question that rattles around in my head is this: Why don't you, Mr. Magus, use the magic to change your shitty life situation? Why is it that we as occultists always shy away from using magic to bring us our own comfort?

I think media is to blame. SO many of our novels and television shows frown on magic users who use the HIGH AND MIGHTY ARTS OF MAGIC to make themselves happy on a selfish level. I don't know where this came from because old, medieval grimoires have zero fucking references to karma and all the references in the world to "so-and-so demon giveth riches and shit, dawg." So, that said, what's my problem? Why am I being such a coward and why don't I step up to the plate?

I think it's because, given the life I've lived this far, I've never had to do anything like this with magic. It's daunting. I don't know how to do it right, necessarily. That means I have to figure it out.

My apologies to anybody who feels the way about magic as did those people in the occult shop I visited nine years ago. I don't mean to shit on your beliefs. I just know my experiences have taught me otherwise. You could be existential on so many levels and ask me how I know anything is real, etc, etc, but I feel like that's too much effort. I'd like to be able to agree to disagree with people or even have been told it'd be inevitable and they'd still probably think I was insane.

Heh. Chaos magicians think Ceremonial magicians are batty. The Cryptozoologist thinks we're all fucking lame.

Unrelated news: I decided to try and grow a beard. This is a horrible idea so far. It's itchy and feels like razor wire is growing out of my face. I've never had more than three day's facial hair growth at a time before. I hope this doesn't end up sucking.


Oct. 17th, 2012 07:18 am
ghosthound: (Default)
Starting a band that lasts more than a few practices is difficult.

Hell, starting a band that makes it to a single practice after long sessions of "oh shit, we're so gonna do XYZ" at Denny's at 3am is difficult. All that said, getting a band together that actually pulls off regular gigs and, dare I say, touring, is a fucking miracle.

Guess who is forever trying to work miracles? It's lucky for me I'm a magician, right?

What kind of band do I want? A goth-rock band, I guess. That's the easiest way to put it. Psychedelic influences? Sure. Industrial drumming sometimes? Sure. Lots of guitar playing? Totally. Haunting female vocals? Yup. Synths? You bet.

I'm considering just biting the bullet and trying to put up a Craigslist add for this purpose. I've had mixed luck with such things in the past and, since I have no car, I am kind of a hassle to lug around. I like to think I make up for it in competence, ideas, willingness to go the extra mile in playing and frequent gigging. I like to think that others will think that, too.

The problem I have is often getting people to see past my inability to afford a car. I know it's a hassle but, believe me, I'd own one if I could. As it stands, I make so little money that it's just not in the cards and won't be for some time.

Someone called me a "wizard-punk genius" the other day. I approve of this and take it as a high compliment. I wonder if I could somehow work that into a lifestyle. It calls to mind images of an eccentric in a leather jacket with a patch of "The Magician" on its back. The hands of the wizard-punk are wreathed in iridescent smoke and a knowing smile plays on the lips. Something like that. I could do that, right? Here's to hoping!

At work I am the youngest person on night shift. Everyone else is at least twice my age. As such, I often hear them bitching about my generation and the one that will eventually follow mine. While I grant and fully admit that my generation has our share of problems, I can't stand when an older person waxes poetic about living in some blameless, utopian age where nothing bad happened and everyone was the hardest worker ever. Everyone, according to them, had the proper amount of respect for the right people, had wisdom beyond their years and was outright better at everything than me and my age group.

Fuck that. Euphoric recall isn't a good thing all the time. Hindsight is only 20/20 for a short time, I think. I don't mind my coworkers most times but the things they say are just asinine. It's what every person says to their kids. It might be what I say to kids when I am their age. That doesn't make it any less irritating to hear. This is made especially true by the fact that my quality of life may well not exceed that of my own parents. This is true of many in my generation. The world changed. Too few people will admit this.

To hear it said, everyone my age is a disrespectful punk who is de-sensitized to the world, doesn't have enough moral fiber, has strange and unhealthy ideas and... is young, more or less. That rhetoric is old. It needs to stop.
ghosthound: (Default)
So much to learn. So little time.

I want to get back into the martial arts and I want to learn to swordfight. It's been so long since I've done any serious training that it'll be a lot like starting over again. The thing this time that's different from when I did kung fu years ago is that I am learning a different style. I'm interested in learning a martial art that's more focused on actually being able to properly defend yourself and do it well.

I know a guy who has done Krav Maga, Muy Thai and boxing. He's said he'll teach me in a year to be better at actually defending myself than many people ever will be if I am dedicated. I'm the sort who does get dedicated to what he does. The only concern I have is for damaging one of my hands. A broken hand is six to eight weeks off of playing guitar. That doesn't ruin your ability to play but those are still lost weeks during which time you could have been writing songs and getting better at the instrument. I suppose that's simply a risk one takes. Living in fear of it makes it more likely to happen.

As for learning to fight with swords, that'll be a bit harder to properly learn. When it comes to fighting arts, you have to spar in order to be able to be worth a damn at it. You can shadow box as much as you like, and that is rather useful, but you need to go head-to-head with people in order to be able to actually do the thing itself. Finding a teacher in my area to learn swordplay, a skill that I grant isn't the most practical in our world, will be a challenge. It may be best left to after I properly spend the year learning hand-to-hand self defense.

I have so much I want to learn, all at once. I wonder at how much of it I will ever properly get to learn before I die. I guess I should focus more on the journey, the learning itself, but that is often easier said than done.

Tonight I was off work. I didn't get much done at all since a good friend of mine showed up at my house in need of some consoling. I spent most of the evening making her feel better about not being able to find an after-college job in her field and not being able to find a boyfriend. Pretty typical concerns. I guess what worried me was that she really never gets bothered by anything. Seeing her aura all scared-colored was unnerving to me.

Even the strong can waver. It's best to remember that.


Sep. 23rd, 2012 07:30 am
ghosthound: (Default)
When I work Saturday nights into Sunday mornings at my job, I am usually the only one there besides my direct supervisor. I also rarely see him as he prefers to stay in his office and play on the internet via his smartphone. Because of this, it often feels like I have the place to myself for eight hours of silence.

My duties at this job on the night in question are really minimal. I have to "straighten things up." All this means is that I have to not burn the place down and walk around the confines of the warehouse once or twice to make sure the doors don't unlock themselves, somehow. Mostly I just curl up with a book and a pair of headphones and drown the world away while I get paid for it.

The problem with the place is that it's full of people's hate of it. It's got all three primary shifts and a customer-base that comes through it during the day. So you've got the slug-trail of dumb, shallow human resentment garbage that's left in the wake of an influx of customers in a place staffed during the day by listless, apathetic people who are paid too little to properly call it a living wage. The exception is people who have been there as long as me. We make barely a living wage.

That sort of collective dislike of a workplace builds up. Frustrations, self-loathing, hate of coworkers or management, the slow, sick, burn of realizing that your life's dreams are shriveling up by the day as this place eats you... I feel all of these things not from myself but from the emotional energy of everyone else that works there. It's oppressive. It's a heavy funk in the air that settles around my bones and depresses me.

As much as it depresses me, it does sometimes help me. It shows me what I can't become. I am at this third-shift job partly because it is convenient for me geographically and situationally and partly because it is an in-between job in a sense. It pays better than a job at a fast-food place and not as much as a job that could be properly considered a career. It allows me a fair income and the knowledge that nobody takes it seriously enough to bitch if I, say, write 2,600 words during a workshift on the laptop I brought in because fuck my job; I want to write.

Maybe that's just my excuse to be lazy. I'm not sure.

The problem comes back constantly to the negative energy of the place. It's renewed each day by the people who work there. I can't blame them for disliking it. It's just something I've got to soldier through, I suppose.


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