The Pattern Behind Self-Deception

I like going to uncomfortable places with my spiritual practice. I'm not sure what this is about but as soon as I get cozy with a point of view I like to begin exploring the opposite view. Especially things that make me uncomfortable seem to hold a perverse fascination for me and I am drawn to jump in there with that feeling and wriggle around in it. Usually I learn from it. Sometimes it gives me the heebie-jeebies and I flee. I think it has something to do with reconciling opposites.

The most interesting states of consciousness have emerged when apparently irreconcilable forces crashed in my inner world, hurling me to the outer limits of what I can conceptually frame. Often catastrophically collapsing everything I thought I knew and then from that rubble something strange and shiny emerges. I have got a huge amount of mileage out of magically jamming God and the Devil like this for instance, to name one dualism that I like to meddle with. The other being the atheist perspective with the theist - which as you may have noticed took the form of this recent controversial posting.

Lately it has been the attempt at reconciling scientific materialistic and animist perspectives. Reconcile is a strong word, I suppose. It really just is two parts of my own experience, both vivid and undeniable, reacting horribly to the utterly alien radiation of the other.

This has taken the form of investigating ideas which scientifically attempt to explain away, well, pretty much everything about magic, spirituality and the paranormal. This glib TED talk hits a nerve in that regard - striking at the heart of what magic and divination are all about: the emergence of meaning from pattern and how we delude ourself in that process. What if our preoccupation with sorcery really just is some cognitive defect - an evolutionary artefact? Check it out and share your thoughts. As occultists, conjurers, card readers  - how do you respond to the ideas presented in this lecture?


On the mend

Just a note to say thank you all for the sweet e-mails, lights set as well as the patience of my clients after my recent health collapse. The good news is after a trip to the hospital yesterday they were able to plug a cerebrospinal fluid leak by injecting blood in the lumbar puncture site. Rather miraculously this fixed the problem almost instantly and I am able to walk upright again! You don't realize how useful sitting and standing upright is until you can't do it any more. I must say my relationship with western medicine had become rather troubled after the whole spinal tap business, so this fix has been welcome to say the least.

At any rate I wanted to let those clients who have outstanding readings know that I will be upgrading your readings to a full spread/geomantic chart combo reading to express my appreciation for your patience. Folks who ordered oils and bags that have been delayed will be getting a free gift in each package.

Thank you all for being so patient. May your Christmas festivities be blessed with good health and much love.


Best laid plans of mice and men

Well that was interesting.

Went to bed on Sunday evening feeling a little under the weather and woke up on Monday with a high temperature, cough, aches and pains etc. I assumed it was a bad cold so I stayed in bed. And then my temperature climbed, and climbed, and climbed. Got up on Tuesday morning not feeling good at all. Sat next to my husband on the couch and said; "I feel kind of dizzy baby". I then had a seizure.

I have never had one before and let me tell you it gets people worried.

Anyway, about fifteen minutes later we are in the ER and the doctors were reaching consensus that bacterial or viral meningitis might be the cause; and then my physician casually remarked that a spinal tap would be needed to make sure. I assumed he meant the other spinal tap. You know, the one that doesn't involve shoving a long thick needle into my spine in order to siphon out cerebrospinal fluid. Oh wait.

I fainted during the first attempt. So don't let any of those crafty doctors smooth talk you into a recreational spinal tap. They definitely hurt. A lot.

It turns out I don't have any kind of meningitis but rather a truly severe form of flu. I am part 0.2% (or something) of adults who have seizures when their core temperature goes critical.

Another interesting thing about the spinal tap is that until your body has replaced that cerebrospinal fluid it has the curious side effect of leaving you unable to sit or stand up fully because the change in pressure produces blinding pain in your head. I also discovered that during a seizure you kind of sprain every muscle in your pack as your body goes rigid exorcist style (apparently the sound effects were pretty awesome too).

Resultanty I am unable to lay down, sit or stand up without being in some degree of agony.

I suppose I should mention some deft sorcerous trick that helped to swing things in my favor but frankly there was none. I was quite out of it for the most part, although I did manage a terrified Our Father as the second spinal tap attempt commenced. The real magic was having had enough insight and good fortune to marry my wonderful husband; who got me to the hospital in a flash and blur practically carrying me in his arms; who sat through the entire day of brainscanning, tests and whatnot holding my hand whenever he could and who cried along with me during the second spinal tap. Now he is busy doing all the house moving stuff by himself after only having had a few hours sleep fussing with me the whole night.

Just wanted to let you all know what has been up. Keep us in you thoughts and hopefully all will be back to normal pretty soon.


Dear Rootwork Clients

Lovely people, my response time with e-mails will be a bit slower over the next two weeks, though I will do my best to always get back to you as soon as I can. We are about to move house and between packing here and fixing up there, things are bit in a shambles right now.

Apologies for the inconvenience, I hope for everything to be back to normal shortly.

Happily my conjure room will be much bigger! I have been tripping over lamps, jars and vigils which are spread across every available surface and even the floor...  can't wait to have more surfaces to put client work on. The space thing has been driving me a little nuts.


Atheism, Diaspora traditions and the end of exoteric religion (or the world)

It strikes me that some the most valid critiques that atheists and humanists level at mainstream religions, in some sense, collapse when you look at the Diaspora traditions such Ocha, Vodou, Hoodoo, Umbanda, Quimbanda etc. Sure, atheists might point to the preponderance of seemingly irrational or superstitious beliefs that are found in the ATRs - beliefs which seem all the more more fantastical, bizarre or sometimes even down right insane to the mechanistic gaze of scientific materialism.

However, when compared to mainstream religions the Diaspora traditions demonstrate a nimble, remarkably robust application to human experience that not only gives meaning to particpants, but more importantly, transcends the dualism and deadening dogma of mainstream exoteric religion. Dogma which has had a tyrannical strangle hold on the planet so toxic and undeniably destructive that humanist/atheist movements have made an entirely legitimate case that religion should be removed from the public sector entirely.

That it harms.

This then is where Diaspora traditions differ in my opinion. Where mainstream religion wants to impose a rigid moral order on society - one that is founded on the promise of reward or punishment in some idealised afterlife - Diaspora faiths focus in great part on ways of improving the quality and enjoyment of this life. This is done in various ways; the most distinct being the magico-religious interaction with the spirit world with the aim influencing the material world tangibly.

More than that, the preoccupation with some idealised after-life in which all meaning and hope is vested is almost entirely absent from the main thrust of these paths. Instead direct experience of the spirit world in meaningful lived relationship to this life and body; it's connection with the natural world, the community, wealth, health and well-being are all of central importance; domains which are understood to profoundly interconnected and above all rooted in the present life. Similarly, notions pertaining to an afterlife are rooted in the present with pervasive emphasis of ancestral veneration. Death and the dead are  interconnected with life and living rather than being sublimated into a strange necrotic obsession with the consequences for your own soul after death. As such these traditions maintain pragmatic and sophisticated technologies for relating to the manifest world, and human mind and soul which are all understood as being a direct expression of the spiritual dimension rather than being at odds with it.

Instead of having a passive religious experience mediated, interpreted and codified by a textual dogma of some sort; spiritual meaning and revelation is grounded in the demand and indeed, expectancy, for direct ecstatic experience for each participant. This then taking various forms such as; trance possession, divination or mediumship. Instead of being at mercy of an uncompromising, distant and inflexible exoteric expression of Godhead - one which demands total submission and obedience - participants are able to negotiate and communicate directly with the Divine forces.

These forces might become befriended, rewarded or even punished based on their influence and performance in the devotee's life. Now that's what I call a personal relationship with Jesus.

Most importantly these traditions maintain an unbroken chain of initiatic teaching; older ways of knowing and being in the world that might prove vital if the human race is to grow up and develop in ways that avoid self-annihilation. A downward spiralling global economy, impending environmental collapse and political turmoil pervades our planet as the gears of the scientific materialistic project revolves to its final deadly conclusion. Looking forward to science's next cold wonder to improve us, reward us and ultimately save us from ourselves has clearly proven to be a failed strategy. Yet, that seems to be the only thing we can do when operating from that broken world view.

Instead of looking at new technology, just perhaps, it is the technology that preserved in these older ways of being with the planet, each other, and fundamentally, the universe itself that holds the key to moving forward with any scrap of hope.


Revenge, death and destruction

I think I've finally been able to frame my formal position with regards to doing dark work for clients. Which is to say; throwing juju at enemies. It's taken me a while to figure out where I stand on the matter because, in principal, I am just fine with doing dark work. And I have done so. I would even go so far as to say it is an important part of the tradition and an art that needs to be maintained. The question really then remains: when am I willing to take on the task of throwing truly corrosive juju around for clients?

I wasn't all that sure. I was just deciding on a case by case basis.

However, I have been dealing with a severe case of this nature and this got me thinking that I need to have a formal position that people can familiarise themselves with before asking me to do that kind of work. I began to examine my motives very carefully and I asked myself: what genuinely motivates me to do this kind of work and when do I feel personally comfortable and morally indemnified (or compelled) doing so for a client?

Justice? Money? Righteousness? Malice?

Then it became clear to me. I have to apply the rules that I use in my own life to my client work.

In my own life and affairs you would need to harm me or someone I care about, substantially, before I will ever consider going to a graveyard with black candles in my hand. You can insult me, annoy me, spite me, anger me - you might even manage to get me flame spitting furious but that alone will never be enough to get me to the point where I will scratch your name into a black candle with a rusty coffin nail.

That just isn't my style.

You have to either directly harm or substantially threaten to harm me or someone I really care about. What does this mean for my clients? It means I need to know you well enough and have worked with you long enough that I would be willing to go to that place for you. Justice alone is not enough for me to go there. The world is full of injustice. Not my job to fix it. Money won't do it because, very simply, I am nobody's hoodoo hit-man. Similarly, your hatred and fury means nothing to me. But if you mean something to me then you might have my ear and my heart. Nobody hurts anyone I care about on my watch.

It might sound a little peculiar but what it comes down to in practical terms in my own conjure practice, is this:

If you come to me out of the blue seeking revenge, pain, death and destruction on your enemies - no matter how justified it all seems; no matter what the reading says; no matter how angry/sad/bitter you may be... it's pretty darn unlikely you will get me digging around the graveyard for you. Sorry.

I'll hot-foot a nuisance gladly, I might jinx up a competitor and I will most certainly dominate and control an idiot when it is called for; but I will never rain down destruction on anyone  - for whatever reason - if you are a total stranger to me. Never.

However, if you are an established client of mine who I have been reading and doing spiritual work with for some time already (and enough so that I have had the opportunity to get to know you; your character; and your story adequately), then, there is some chance that I might consider doing this kind of work for you. And this will be based on my sincere and very genuine personal concern for you as my trusted client and friend.

Like I said - nobody hurts anyone that I care about.