I blame it on my very first-semester group project at Aalborg University in 1993, when, although in the English program, I ended up writing about new religions with a focus on theosophy and scientology, Madame Blavatsky and Ron Hubbard. And I have to say that this was not even my idea. I mean, I wanted to write a project in religious studies (heh!), but I hadn’t at the time thought about any particular topic. Now, however, I am quite grateful to the one student in the group of 5 who came up with this focus, for I keep returning to both, Blavatsky, for her astonishing ideas of astral planes and thought-form, and Hubbard, for being so amusing, running off with the occultist and rocket-scientist Jack Parsons’s first wife and money, resulting in Parsons’ conjuring up a nice typhoon in a place where never in the history of meteorology have there been recorded any typhoons, and stopping the culprits from crossing the Mexican border and thus the possibility to avoid a lawsuit. Nothing can beat such stories.
Sometimes I want to say to myself, ‘that was a sign for what I ended up being interested in’, but then I go further back in my personal history and I find that I can’t really think of a time when I wasn’t interested in such things.
For the sake of convenience I tell people that I do English Studies with a twist, but these days I see myself conflating more and more ideas about practice and beliefs with knowledge systems, discourses on magic with the practice of magic that bypasses any beliefs, and Neo-Platonism with mnemonics and astronomy as inroads to the supreme knowledge of how to read between the lines. I’m grateful to the Anglo-American field for having produced enough material out there that allows me to dive straight into such weirdness and without feeling guilty for potentially doing something that may not exactly be aligned with the noble requirements for academic research.
Apart from having to care about gatekeeping and the other academics’ perception of my pursuits, I like it when people ‘in the know’ sometimes tell me that I can read cards and charts like a devil. But I like to think of it this way: Nothing is hidden. Nothing at all. And we can all train ourselves to register the magic around us. This kind of magic is not something that you read about in books, for it relies precisely on the ability to read between the lines. ‘What is there,’ some would ask, ‘apart from assumption?’ And I would answer: ‘Between the lines is not only the finest knowledge there is, the most subtle and therefore most powerful, but also love. Love that is anchored in what we know at the deepest level. The level of the highest creativity and imagination. The level of the highest fantasy that sends us with our noses straight into the ground, now filled with autumn leaves, and smelling of rain and tears. Our tears. The level of the mystical experience where the tapping into another’s consciousness is not merely a matter of belief or disbelief, but a matter of the highest practice, of the ‘being there’ all the time, watching. The level of the piercing gaze that sends you exploring the longest infinities that exist. The level of the mind when it is connected, plugged into things that make rationality look like a poor orphan.’
There is no knowledge like the knowledge that informs me that right now that, in astrological parlance, the answer is ‘yes’, because the ruler of the Ascendant in my horary chart is in a trine aspect to a planet in a house I’m interested in. The answer is ‘yes’ because the poetic Sabian symbol going with the cusp of the astrological house I want to know things about creates an analogy that fleshes out very clear scopes. There is no knowledge like the knowledge that comes from reading three cards, and seeing what happens when the Priestess is followed by the Empress who is then followed by Death. There is no knowledge like the knowledge of the geometrical pattern that bones thrown on the table form.
Indeed, some knowledge belongs to the ancient heart. It is not dogmatic, nor consecrated. It is the knowledge of the interstice, the place of the soul and of surrendering.
For more writing on the magical arts, visit my Taroflexions.