Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ECLECTIC

While contributing a solicited essay to a forthcoming book, This Ancient Heart: Landscape, Ancestor, Self (2015), and which gathers leading anthropologists and historians of religion who also happen to be druids, practicing shamans, or astrologers, I couldn’t help thinking that this particular area of study, that is, spiritualities in the world, has always stood me in good place. When I embarked on my years-long academic career in Denmark, culminating with the highest consecration in the form of what the Danes call the Dr.Phil. degree and tenure, I never thought that I was going to end up as an ‘eclectic’.

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 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.


§

As the comments left to this post here reference my work on Taroflexions, I have upgraded them to a post in itself on Taroflexions, especially since the concern of Anonymous is shared by many into the magical arts. Pay a visit and read the comments left there. They are quite insightful.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

CAMELIAS



My nephew, Paul, is 20 today. My sister’s present to him was an invitation to the ballet, La Dame aux Camélias. This invitation was also extended to me, since my name is Camelia, and also since, as my sister believes, and perhaps rightly so, I am the hopeless romantic. I don’t know about the hopeless, but the romantic part is true. Paul said: ‘It’s all about sex and then about getting respectable.’ ‘Yes, yes,’ I said, ‘and then what? What about the forbidden, the forever love? The undying love? It’s all there, surely, for if it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be sitting here right now’.

I like the ballet. It’s ever so simple. Defying a few laws of physics and then flying. Flying all the time. In and out of the impossible, the forever love, the love in gut, the love in the passion, the love in the bones, the love in the eyes, the love in the kiss, the love in the breath, the love in the toes, the love in the hand, the love in the flower.

Paul, happy birthday. May you find the forever love. May it find you.








Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MISSED TRAINS

I always rejoice when I miss my train in Roskilde. I get to go over to the cemetery across the station. There I wait for the next train. Pondering. Some like balance, but balance doesn’t suit them when what they want is either the hot or the cold. Either the one or the other, yet both at the same time. Only a master can make sense of walking in the beauty of such contradiction. But then again, who is a master? For most, balance is nothing but a higher order of ambivalence. Or lower. I look around. A good time for mushrooms. The intelligence of pigs comes to mind. Pigs are both fertile and destructive at the same time. They reproduce joyfully and can eat their offspring. Life and death. Pigs are not concerned with what fire you feed. What ice you drink, and whether you can do both at the same time. They are little machines, sometimes commanding their heartbeats to find a truffle. The one special mushroom to uncover, to behold, and to adore. But they are not always in the position to eat it. Sometimes they let it go to the highest bidder at the auction. Some exchange. A passion for a coin. I think of the life of the truffle. A few more minutes to my train. I look at the entrance to this place. I forgot to salute the first dead buried here, now guarding the gate. I’m convinced she was a Queen of Hearts who died in Autumn from thinking too much. A Queen of Hearts who could reason her emotions. How perplexing. At least she got style. At least she never said to herself: 'I only did certain things so that I can regret them.'

I leave the cemetery with the Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska’s ‘A few Words on the Soul’ in mind. It’s obvious that you cannot step twice into the same death.


We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

Sometimes
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

(Translated from the Polish by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh)



Friday, September 12, 2014

PERCEPTION

‘The King of the Fairies approaching his domain’ is a higher conceit of the other symbol ‘The university professor lecturing to his students.’ When Mars enters Scorpio one degree off the Descendent, all calculations get suspended. Raw action penetrates Pluto’s fiery and bottomless pit, and what we think is the perception of the Other in Seven is force. The kind that lulls you into spying on yourself in the black mirror. The moon delaying her purpose in the house of the evil Daimon is a transcended moon. Horary games. The professor greets the King of Fairies by allowing Pluto to bomb all traditions in Capricorn. ‘All for love’, says Venus ruling Taurus in the Ascendant, and taking the risk of coming very close to the frightening Algol. ‘Stop it’, Mercury clamors, squaring off against the idea of having a horoscope sound like a live commentary at a football match. But who is Mercury addressing? All for one? We are back with Mars ruling the house where Uranus resides right now. But Mars is busy stomping in the secret fire. Fumes come out of it and the oracle acquires a smell. The smell of ‘no limits’ and of the insatiable You.





§

Note on the method:

For this poetic reading, I've used both horary and electional astrology. As this is a poem, however, I have not disclosed the question - the question being crucial in this branch of astrology. The quoted sentences in the first line are a reference to both the Sabian and the Kozminsky symbols. The 'interpretation' is all my own.

Monday, September 1, 2014

SIGIL

‘There’s magic in the world and I get to live it.’ This is what I wrote earlier today in connection with a gift I have received this morning. This one was truly very special, and given the circumstance, quite beyond perfect. It was prompted by an occasion connected with a magical task I have assigned last month to one of my cartomantic students, the brilliant and tenacious Ryan Edwards. ‘A hard task’, he said, but by Jove, how he managed. Today I’m very pleased to see what materialized beyond the ritual that I have determined that he had to perform on the night of the dark moon in July. 

When magic works, creativity is an understatement.

I wrote a longer account of this working on Taroflexions – to the extent that I can distinguish between what is my story to tell and what is not – but suffice to say here that today's event made me feel vibrant and alive, and in love with young people who are dying to know what you know. Keep them coming, Lord, keep them coming.




Friday, August 15, 2014

THE MOTHER

Santa Maria
Madre di Dio
Maria Vergine
The dead head of Saint Catherine of Siena
Guadalupe in the fire
Black Madonna, mother of all
Life and death –
Dead children can also come out of you – bless their souls
Santa Maria
Madre di Dio
Lilith, mother of the ultimate disobedience –
How dare you give birth to a God out of wedlock –
Bless the Gods
Who offer their semen to Goddesses
More powerful than them to drink
Santa Maria
Madre di Dio
What is yours is not also someone else’s
That’s the law.
The law of non-contradiction.
Guadalupe in the fire
Santa Maria
Madre di Dio
Abracadabra
Black Madonna
Only you can suspend the law
With your swift ‘and yet’ and ‘amen’ –
If you so please.
Black Madonna
Madonna vergine
Santa Maria
Madre di Dio
Lilith
There’s compassion in the bond.


Monday, August 4, 2014

POWER

I take the truth by its horns and let it kill me. The thunderbolt works with Scylla today. Thor knocks on the stone-carved chalice, and the she-sea-dragon spits thunderous flashes. All is illuminated. The water unleashed. The power of nature is just that, power. The only kind worth talking about. I work with the weather Gods of Norway. Lightening strikes next to my toes. The thunder calls to me: ‘Louder! Say yes, louder. Louder than me’. Raw power goes through me like an arrow, and I make a bridge to the sun to cross over. ‘Louder, I said’, says he, Thor, while hammering on my yelling and screaming and thumping my feet in Scylla’s waters. ‘Faster’, she goes. ‘Dance faster! Don’t let the wind catch you, unless you want to snatch a kiss from him on your naked body.’ But I want the wind to kiss me. I want the wind to whisper to me between the wild beats of light and stone: ‘Know your heart, and own this knowledge. Act like I do. Cut through it. Cut past the gaping neighbor with his chainsaw keeping the grass neat. Cut past his son training with a rifle and speaking in clichés of familial bliss and traditions. Cut a cold corner and radiate your own peace.’ Scylla sets my boundaries and Thor goes: ‘I like your voice’.












Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PRAYER


For the love of Norway. For the love of my white hair in the photographs I take of myself. For the love of asking myself, ‘what's up?’ And in that love, for the love of the most intimate distance that a photograph creates. For the love of posing that a mirror asks me not. For the love of my own theater. And in that love, for the love of capturing my deepest desire. For the love of my fear whose force I awesomize. For the love of the Druid’s prayer, and in that prayer for the love of the White Witch. For the love of the reason that I have not, to hate. Because I love. And in that love of love, for the love of the sober task of walking the path. And in that walk, for the love of sensing another’s soul. And in that soul, for the love of finding myself. For the love of devotion, and in that devotion for the love of the longest infinity that does not end. For the love of numbers, and in those numbers, for the love of words that seal. And in that seal, for the love of magic. For the love of the dreadful spell that binds. And in that bind, for the love of afterlife where black is black and white is white. For the love of saying, ‘I’m here now.’ And in that love, for the love of what IS.




Friday, July 18, 2014

INFINITE GAME

Sonnet 116
by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

§

“I've been in love for five hundred million years…”
― Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RAIN

I got caught in the rain and sought shelter under the tree I call Drop. If you stand under it, drops of rain will wash your face, but no more. It protects you from the torrent. Then there's Vinculum. This tree is linked with Drop, and together they form a portal. But the pièce-de-resistance is Absalon, the largest tree in this grove. No one knows where this place is. I put a spell on it so no one can find it. People pass it by all the time, and no one ever stops. No one sees anything. No one ever walks through the line of 11 trees hiding Absalon and the others. I go there every day. As no one owns this place - located exactly one minute from my apartment - I claimed it as my own. But I do have to seek permission from the municipality - the presumed owner - if I want to plant more trees. Which I do. A sacred grove with its sacred trees, Absalon, Vinculum, and Drop, performing magic the invisible way.












On to my annual Norway devotion · Hit in the heart.







Sunday, June 15, 2014

NEMESIS

‘The Magician is my father’, the High Priestess says while buckling up her white pompons. ‘Oh, Erebus, you who left this earth before Nemesis could figure out what she was.’ ‘But she always knew’, you whisper, and then go: ‘That’s the nature of magic, to cut with your sword through what needs imparted. Dip your finger in some plum brandy, let some smoke come out of your Orlik pipe, and deliberate. Let your ‘But’ be but the action of your shadow. Pay a visit to the underworld and leave a trail of blood. I shall know you by your smell and the whiteness of your robe. And you will choose.’



Thursday, May 29, 2014

GUIDES



'You don't write on Frag/ments as much as you used to', people say. I point to having 'transitioned'. I write more on Taroflexions these days. This more focused website allows me to be all three at once without a particular involvement: a storyteller, a teacher, and an enchanter. These are Vladimir Nabokov's categories, by the way, for the good writer. I don't presume anything where writing is concerned, but occasionally people do tell me that what I have to say is helpful. That's good, as being helpful is actually aligned with my intention. A friend has recently written these lines below on Facebook, which reminded me of a certain practice of 'meeting' people, a practice which I have already written about as being a form of testing one's hyper-soul.

"If you ever meet someone brave and powerful enough to walk with you directly through your most unconscious wounds and shadow caves – someone with the stupefying courage to see through the chinks of your armor and then help you take it off – love them. Because they have done something for you which is impossible to do alone. They will show you the treasure you've been seeking all your life, and they can do this because they aren't afraid of your fear." (Jacob Nordby)

It's good to know that there are more of us like this out there, acting as guides, as psychopomps, or simply as enablers, helping others to breathe into their own souls, and live a life of excitement in complete harmony with one's self. We've had our own guides in turn. My mother was one who would never talk to people unless she was allowed to look into their naked souls. Always a disturbing demand for most. But so rewarding for all involved, when such gazing was allowed. 

The other day my sister and I discovered that we were both blues singers in our past lives, according to the venerable source of: "Google this: died on (your birthday) and the first wiki article to pop is who your were in your previous life." Such fun. She got Lucille Hegamin and I got Rosa Lee Hill. She made a collage of herself and me alongside these singers, though for some reason she inserted the picture of another, that of Alberta Hunter, next to hers. Sometimes internet bibliomancy can be very funny. It can also be quite revealing. As far as I'm concerned, I say, hooray, for all forms of divination. So liberating to be free of our calculated selves.

So, yes, if I have a  calling, then it's for that form of establishing an encounter that gets me to the end of the world and beyond. Be with people that allow me to look into their souls, and through that act travel with them to their most hidden treasures.





Saturday, May 24, 2014

SMOKING LOT

One of the best things about going to certain conferences is meeting special friends. This time around friend and famed historian Elliott Gorn asked me: 'How is your lot?' We share a bit of Romanian history, and I always get to hear how, when Elliott went to Moldova to search for his Jewish roots, he got to hear from the villagers that 'the Gorns were not nice people'. Right. So I told him a story. My grandmother on my father's side smoked lots of heavy pipes, wore coloful layered skirts, and liked to go out and pee while standing. 'Whoa,' Elliott, said, 'that's more information than I'm ready for.' 'Really?', I asked him, and then we stuffed ourselves some with Finnish delights, while drinking ourselves under the table, laughing.

But my grandmother could also do more things than just provoke the establishment. She was a master weaver - I still have some of her loom pieces - and she would make my mother order my father around when she was visiting, claiming that she didn't raise all those boys (some 4 of them) to just sit around. She taught them to cook and be decent, and go for it. Well, they did. My father was a mathematician, one of his brothers a dentist, another became a general in the army, and the fourth I can't remember. He was handsome, though. That I remember. And they could all cook. I would have loved more of that lot's company, if it weren't for the distance between us. We lived miles apart from my father's family, which is why I never got to see them very often. Alas.



I smoke pipes. For ritual purpose. I inherited a few Orliks and some other special ones. I call on those who smoked these pipes before me. This is something that Elliott gets. The spirit work. We get together for the Maple Leaf and Eagle conference every other year, organized by our common friend, Markku Henrikkson. Markku also knows about spirits, as he has been hanging out with all the Native Americans you can think of.



But now Markku has just had announced that he was going to retire - before his time. 'Why?', we were all gaping? 'Because I'm tired of bullshit', he said. In his farewell speech he made me cry so hard like I'v never done it before. In plenum. He was articulating what most of us academics are thinking, but do nothing about: 'Surely I can't buy this crap rhetoric about points and global visibility and marketing and ranking and competing with ghosts and pretending and selling and selling and selling and selling again, selling all we've got and according to the best cliches developed by the phoniest consultant-like idiots who can claim to teach us something about intellectual value and relevance.' He pretty much told the Finnish posh university chancellors to go screw themselves. In plenum. Oy vey. So it goes. The rest of us say nothing against all the crap university reforms and politics that we're confronted with daily, because we are ever so grateful for the fact that we have a job to begin with. We all tremble in our pants from fear. 'What if I'm next, when they'll decide to shut a program?' Besides, we think, and as they say, 'surely giving Cesar what Cesar wants is part of a higher wisdom, no?' Right.



I'm thinking of my grandmother and wonder why it was only her sons that got something out of it, culturally speaking. Why wasn't SHE a general? She died before I could ask her about her secret magic. But I fancy that the smoke I send up in the air brings me a hint of that now and then.

So, here's to all women who know things, and who also dare to live according to their knowledge. May their secret lot increase.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

BENT

My depth is like a magician’s hat. Out of it comes a spell against stupidity, a banishing of greed, and a question for the ecology of vanity. We laugh at the world’s pretending to put community first when all it does is dig the void. ‘It’s exciting to live with you’, you say, even as I thunder against lies. ‘It’s exciting to live with you too’, I say, ‘because you know the meaning of waiting.’ Today we pick nettles, to prick our tongues with. And tomorrow we learn why there’s magic in the world. So we can see through the fools who never have anything original to say but are good at selling. ‘Is this a new game?,’ you ask, and I say ‘no.’ ‘Speaking against fools is like an act of disemboweling yourself.’ ‘Today we fill ourselves with starlight, and tomorrow we work with the elements.’ ‘It’s exciting to watch you,’ you say, ‘because every tomorrow we find a new grail together’. ‘It’s exciting to watch you too,’ I say, ‘because every tomorrow is holy, and your Viking full-blood recognizes resurrections. ’ ‘Holy, holy, we are good at living the magical life, and today is your birthday. Our theories are called to prove themselves. We say what we mean and do what we say. Self-delusion gets the axe, and we let the crows attend the funeral of idiots. Come wind, come water, come fire, come earth, come furry animals and pale skins, come sun, come moon, come belly of the earth, mother of all, come logic of the wild life, come breath, come birthday, come.’


 §

Happy birthday, my friend. Your gift is one of metamorphoses. If you wait long enough, until I get famous, there’ll be a collector out there who will be willing to pay a lot of money for a deconstructed Lossow and my enchanted spells on the back of each of his plates.




Meanwhile, enjoy, and let us drink a glass of champagne, read fortunes and praise our luck. 
No conventions are ours, but flow, freedom, and finesse.








Monday, April 14, 2014

CLAVIS


As papers are being written, deconstructions are being remembered. While laughing at the poor plastic disposable camera, Lock and Derrida wanted to know the word of the prophet. I said: 'the prophet wants more puns.' That was exactly 13 years ago. Some things never change. We still want more puns, and to unlock derisions.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

BLUE STAR

While walking the dog to pick some violets, I also go through a few ritual steps. For instance, every time I get to a crossroad, I stop and watch. Usually there’s always something there that makes me think. But this is not the kind of thinking that I associate with being an intellectual – Lord only knows, I get enough of that already on the job that pays for my bills – but the kind of thinking that has my head completely in the service of my senses.



Being quite tired of the lying industry that the academia has become, with academics thinking and writing for big publishers whose voice of commonsense equals that of sales, I have to admit that I like to give myself the opportunity to eat my own head, as it were, and feel what it’s like to have it as part of my gut. In other words, the more of my senses that I can activate, the better. Usually this takes care of my frustration with seeing how little I enjoy writing anything on dictation and thus doing good business for the university. You know, the kind of academic business as usual, where the only question that we ever pose as thinkers is this one, also business as usual: ‘What’s in it for me?’ ‘How about living the moronic life,’ I always want to retort, but I keep such opinions to myself.

So, yes, the crossroads. Today a blue thing was lying in the grass, on top of the mound around which cars usually swing. I go to the top, while becoming invisible – I can spare myself the speculations from the drivers – and have a closer look. A glove. A blue glove. A rubber glove. I get even closer and read the writing on it. Blue Star, it says. Oh, how appropriate. Cosmic brightness – I have to admit that I love everything that counters the moronic life, especially the one that has us all talk the so-called rational talk, or the talk that then transforms into moronic books that other morons can endorse.



So here’s the connection I made. The Blue Star is that thing in the universe that the astronomers identify with the giant star. The Blue Giant Star often turns into a supernova. There’s a beautiful Blue Star right in the constellation of Orion, and flanking what the astronomers also call the Witch Head, which is a reflection nebula. What bliss to be able to turn your head and actually spot it. The Rigel Star area, formally known as the IC 2118, has enough light in it to illuminate the best of magic there is. A sorcerous encounter between a glove and a dog-walk at the crossroads. I have to admit that I love my life and some knowledge that’s in it.


Back home, I asked the cards about it – and for whatever reason, I thought I’d ask the cards I made myself in the image of the Lenormand Oracle. The cards I call A Helium Poet – must be all that cosmic gas and dust that’s in my eye. The eye in the belly, as my head was deliberately placed there for the purpose of the walk, for the purpose of the shamanic experience: To be out in nature and pay attention. Listen and watch.



Says the Helium Poet: ‘Ask the Moon about climbing to the Star to touch it.’

‘How difficult is the Mountain?’ I furthermore asked.

‘As difficult as your ability to surrender your Heart. Take a dive with the Fish,’ the Helium Poet intimates, ‘and you’ll find your Heart right there where it actually is. In the love of this: the earth and its sky.’

May you all shine brightly.

§

Note on the deck: A Helium Poet, Lenormand Cards, Camelia Elias (30 cards) and Witta Kiessling Jensen (6 cards), 2013.

§ Via Taroflexions