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spectropoetics

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  1. I came across this article by Mat Auryn (author of the super popular Psychic Witch) today - he went around and interviewed basically the most famous Traditional Witches/authors, from Gemma Gary to Lee Morgan to Daniel Schulke, what books they'd recommend to someone curious about the Craft. They give detailed reasons so it's rather interesting. I'm familiar with some of these titles and I think they're great additions to a bookish witch's library at any level, I've added a few to my reading list! https://www.patheos.com/blogs/matauryn/2017/11/09/book-recommendations-trad-craft-witches/
  2. I've never tried Lenormand, something else always catches my eye before I can dive in but it's definitely a system I want to study at some point! Lenormand is such an interesting character, truly an inspiration for any cartomancer imo
  3. Oooh I think I understand the confusion - he's mentioned in an article I've linked earlier but I confess I scanned it for mentions of Houghton et al so I was struck with that quote but I discarded the rest. Beardsley is mentioned indeed but not as a mediumnistic artist, just as a point of comparison for what the author sees as A.O. Spare's "depravity" (lol)
  4. Wow I haven't heard that name in a while - love his art as well! I think it's fair to assume that every mid to late Victorian we know of was some shade of Spiritualist haha, although I had no idea he was either. I wonder to what extent his Spiritualist practice impacted his art though, have you read anything? I don't personally sense that 'revealed' quality in his work the way I do in other artists', some of whom I've talked about here, but I may just be missing something. If he didn't use mediumship in his art, though, that may be because the role of medium tended to be assumed by women, and so Spiritualist men had little direct spirit contact.
  5. My favorite "art deck" is a newer one, the Pagan Otherworlds. It's stunning, and very potent, as it tries to synthesize different historical interpretations of the Tarot - you can divine with anything but it's nice to work with a well thought-out tool. I'm waiting for a Joanna Newsom deck I supported on Kickstarter to arrive, I'm incredibly excited. You can see the artist's work here. Otherwise imo you can't beat the Marseille.
  6. Thank you for leading me down this rabbit hole, Onyx, this woman and her circle of artist/medium friends are fascinating! It's exactly what Hilma af Klint and her Theosophist friends did, only even earlier. They too painted with spirits, and as a result, they too explored art forms previously unseen, that we later - decades later, when men such as Kandisky and Mondrian picked it up in turn and exhibited it publicly - came to call 'abstract'. Here are examples of Barbara Honywood's work, for those curious: I find it beautiful, both delicate and exuberant. It may not look like much but it's distinctly original - this was painted in the mid 19th century! I'm even more taken with her fellow Spiritualist painter friend Georgiana Houghton, though: It's astounding. We had to wait a full century, with the advent of psychedelic art, to see such movement in paintings again. She must have been tapping into a very powerful current. As I was looking up these artists, I came across an interesting quote in this article: The absolute certainty with which the writer draws his "conclusion" is extremely funny to me. He's so close to the point though.
  7. It stands for Unitarian Universalism, an organisation formed of many different religions, spiritualities and even non-theistic cosmologies, all in the spirit of religious cooperation and spiritual advancement - from what little I know! It's a non-denominational 'church' in a wider-than-Christian sense.
  8. @nellopea I think it's hilarious in the best possible way that you attempted this at the UU in Texas. If you're still around these parts, I'm so curious as to how it went? Did you attempt other rituals in the book? They seem so particular to Gary's own little patch of Cornwall, I love to hear stories of their transplant.
  9. phantasmagoria gave great advice! I feel like adding my two cents because these are anchoring points I don't see discussed that often, unfortunately. Start with basic astronomy. It's probably the biggest field of scientific vulgarization, there are tons of solid, entertaining and beautiful educational material out there. You just need to understand the position of each of the 7 traditional planets (+ Uranus, Neptune and Pluto if you want to use them but only use the planets to start) relative to the sun and to earth, the time it takes for them to complete their orbit, to what extent they're visible from earth, and what they roughly look like. That last point is so important. It's crazy how well the images we've been able to get for what amounts to a blip in human history symbolically match the historical delineations: Mars not only glows red, it has a huge gash like a battle scar; Jupiter is ENORMOUS, like, you have no idea; Uranus is contrarian through and through, he won't even spin the same way every other planet does, etc. Rather than learning a list of keywords by rote, anchor your understanding in the astronomy, the way astrologers were always meant to. Relatedly, go out and look at the sky. Even in a highly light polluted environment, you can see tons of stuff. I'm in a big city and I can see Mars rage every night right now since he's been stuck in Aries for most of the year, we shake our fists at one another, it's great. It's absolutely fantastic that we can cast charts in milliseconds for free on the internet but it also means we've lost context for most of what we talk about. That's how you end up with really bizarre takes in modern astrology - if only people would look up from their computer screens (and understand that they're part of a tradition), most of these empty arguments would be cleared up in a flash. The point about knowing the length of the orbits: it's mostly so you know how personally important different placements are. No, it doesn't mean anything on its own that you have Pluto in Scorpio - Pluto spends up to 30 years or so in a sign before moving on in the zodiac, your whole generation has the same Pluto sign! Compare that to the Moon, who spends 2 1/2 days in a sign on average - the sign placement of your Moon is much more directly relevant to you personally. Understand the Moon phases: they're a product of the Moon's relationship to the Sun. At the new moon, the Moon is conjunct the Sun; at the full Moon, she's opposite; at the Quarters, she makes different sorts of squares. Understanding this gives you a grounded basis from which to understand aspects. As for the zodiac, don't start with lists of keywords and trendy buzzwords. Start with elements, polarities, modalities and rulership and derive meaning from them. No, Scorpio isn't about death and sex, it's a fixed feminine water sign, and it's the nocturnal domicile of Mars. Secrecy, dedication, stagnation, depth, instinct etc come to mind - you're building a larger picture, one you can remember easily because it's not an arbitrary archetype, there's a logic to it. Finally, and this is really my point in a nutshell: form an understanding of the underlying logic of astrology. It's a system, and so it should be well-oiled to allow the properly oracular moment to take place when you look at a chart. In addition to what I've already written, look into the Thema Mundi to gain an understanding of rulerships and other dignities, even aspects and house meanings. As for book recommendations for complete beginners, I think Carole Taylor's Astrology: Using the Wisdom of the Stars in your Every Day Life is fantastic. She has a very different approach to mine, I don't agree with everything, but she's a wonderful teacher and writer. It's the only beginner book I've found that doesn't drill anything in your head: it gives you the tools to start applying and observing astrology in concrete ways. This other book is more advanced and it's on an apparently narrow topic but it's actually fundamental. It gives you everything you need to know to understand the birth chart not as an abstract 2D circle on your screen but as it relates to the actual sky it represents: The Houses: Temples of the Sky, by Deborah Houlding.
  10. I like using directions, they're constant and always available. Plus I'm almost always aware of where I am in relation to the cardinal points, that's just how my mind and body work, I'm very spatially oriented. For me the points are about the sun's journey throughout the day, and so my associations are very simple but they can encompass basically anything I can think of. The sun dawns in the East (new beginnings, vigor, revelations), culminates in the South (high points, ardor, visibility), sets in the West (banishings, returns, dissolution) and disappears in the North (secrecy, death). So the power I find in each direction isn't inherent in it, nor is it because specific spirits dwell there. It's an accumulation of this primordial cycle.
  11. Thank you for explaining where you're coming from, Phagos, I understand your circumspection. Yeah I try not to get too bogged down in terminology, which is a struggle of constant reexamination - I do love a good jargon haha (I mean look at my damn username), but only as long as it illuminates. And so often I find the witch/magician/occultist distinction unhelpful. Most times it's more about demographics or aesthetics than actual praxes - I have a lot more in common with self-styled magician/occultist McCarthy than with your local eclectic Wiccan, self-styled witch. What we mean by traditional witch here has more in common with, say, Aidan Wachter's self-styled sorcery than with the Gardnerian Wiccan who calls herself a traditional witch (as she has every right to, since she's a member of a witchcraft tradition). To get back to the heart of the topic, I think good training is about the how rather than the what. And Quareia is the closest thing I've found to a self-contained pathway into the how, not to mention it's the most accessible training possible. Here's an example of what I mean by that - if it makes you go through exercises about ancient Egyptian cosmology, it's only for you to go back to your own myths with the skill to work them magically. The author just happens to really resonate with ancient Egypt, for profound reasons way beyond "because Mathers said so" haha. Also - new to witchcraft doesn't mean new to life, or critical thinking, I think we (the collective, anonymous we) tend to forget that a bit sometimes.
  12. Neo-pagan? How so? Part of the course entails learning the distinction between forging magical alliances with deities (among many other spirits) vs having a religious connection to the same entities, as magicians have done for... ever, I'd say? McCarthy's sources are grimoires, ancient texts, and her own experience with different lands, short-circuiting neo-paganism and the New Age. Well, the Golden Dawn had archived all magical knowledge they could (and we should be grateful, despite how terrible their translations were sometimes), so of course many types of magic we weave today might remind you of them in a supercifial way, they're just drawing from the same source. Their innovation - which was their fatal error - was to try to systematize it all, as if there was a single key to magic. That's why GD initiates don't even do magic, they just learn correspondence tables lmao. As for angels and demons - it's been the purview of cunning-folk and witches to use whatever works and to move between paradigms for as long as we've been around (the opposite of GD types, in short). You'll find that angels and demons have been used in magic for a very long time, both by court magicians and folk practitioners. They're just types of spirits, they were around before they were classified in these terms by monotheistic religions. To the witch, it doesn't matter what they're called, it matters what their sphere of influence is and angel/demon is a useful shortcut, which is all that matters. Be careful that by trying to avoid dogma, you don't become dogmatic yourself 😉
  13. Dua Lipa's new song is an extended ode to Hekate. She could just be surfing on the trendy 'witch aesthetic' but something tells me that someone on this set knew what they were doing.
  14. Love this movie... Also: But it's extremely critical of lodge magic! It's a wonderful take on the occult side of the sexual revolution and what it actually meant for women, despite gestures at the 'divine feminine'.
  15. Tarot for most things, especially magical questions, bibliomancy when I need a bit of guidance or inspiration as to where to go emotionally/spiritually/intellectually and geomancy for the more pragmatic questions.
  16. Wonderful thread, thank you @Phaedra for such eloquent and informative posts. The resurgence of Trad Craft in Britain owes an immense debt to chaos magic - follow the thread from Spare to Grant to Chumbley, Michael Howard and other members of Cultus Sabbati, who had (may still have) a lodge dedicated to work with Grant's Typhonian Order. In a larger sense, some of the leading voices in occultism are Chaotes - think Gordon White. If only for that, I'd already be grateful to chaos magic. But its most precious gift was to knock occultists off their pedestals/armchairs and push them to get their hands dirty after centuries of Eliphas Levi nonsense and fake secret histories of initiatory orders who do nothing but 'banish' every day for some unknown reason (this is about the Golden Dawn, their sacrosanct LBRP, and the GD/OTO claims to be the direct heir to Egyptian magic somehow). Now, though, I think that magic, at the heart of it, is about spirit contact. And so I believe that you do need time to unfold, the weight of history felt in your bones, to practice effectively in the long term and to be fulfilled by your practice. In that sense, I actually agree with the ceremonialists that lineage is important - in my view, they're just entirely mistaken as to how it matters, and what it entails. Chaos magic has that unfortunate consumerist connotation: take your pick in the free market of magical praxes. In my view, it has to be deeper than that, or what's the point?
  17. No doubt you hear a lot of blues at the sabbat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC1ocMfUABs
  18. I hope this isn't against the rules - For people who need a little bit of a push, especially when it comes to discipline and what skills to pick up first and how, may I recommend Quareia? It's entirely free, online, self-study at your own pace without the need to join any community etc. Most of all, it's entirely non dogmatic - it's not about indoctrinating you into a system but about giving you the basic skills to forge your own path. The first module has wonderful exercises on meditation, the tarot and astrology, visualization, a basic ritual structure to get your body used to holding power... Enough to get you confident enough to walk away and do your own thing whenever you wish. It's the work of Josephine McCarthy, an iconoclastic magician who's very against magical organizations and 'systems' (GD, OTO, Wicca...) and who knows her shit.
  19. Here is another artist who co-creates with spirits and whom I find very interesting. You may know Alkistis Dimech as one half of the occult press Scarlet Imprint. Dimech is also a dancer trained in buto: she has an interesting, magically relevant way of describing this art form as an exploration of the body to give form to Images. She places the body - a repository of knowledge both ancestral and personal, and thus a bridge to the mysteries, an eminently permeable synthesis of self and Other - at the center of her art and her witchcraft, which are inextricable. Dimech uses dance, and movement in general, to make room for spirits, through invocation and ritual possession. Here is an example of her work : Her website, which hosts a few of her essays. A short interview about one of her magical possessions, which is a good introduction to some of her ideas.
  20. Thanks for sharing, Sagefire, that put such a big smile on my face! She's one lucky girl to have proud family members supporting her creativity 🙂
  21. I couldn't find a topic for this method of divination, only a scarce few scattered references, so I thought I'd start one! To be clear, I will be talking about the traditional method of divination using 16 figures - not about ley lines, places of power, sacred geometry or anything else it gets conflated with because of its ambiguous name. Does anyone use this method of divination? Any thoughts or tips you'd like to share? For those who don't know, geomancy is one of the most ancient continuous divinatory traditions. It probably started in the Arabian desert with diviners tracing the figures in the sand - hence the name, which translates to something like "reading by the earth". Geomancy is also sometimes cheekily nicknamed 'dirt astrology' because you place the figures in a house chart - the same used in astrology - to gain additional information. The figures also have planetary and zodiacal correspondences, which can give even more insights. It's still actively used in different cultures in and around Africa - I think the most vibrant branch of the tradition today lives on in Madagascar. There is a Western tradition as well, which is slightly different. It's currently enjoying something of a revival. I love this method of divination because it's so down to earth. It's not invested in anything beyond answering exactly the question you asked, in as practical terms as can be. I feel very connected to a long line of diviners when I cast a chart, tracing the figures by hand, making the same gestures as people have made for millenia to answer the same basic concerns around substance and sustenance. If you're interested in learning more, Sam Bloch's prolific blog The Digital Ambler is an excellent free resource. His free lecture series, Geomancy in the Reign of the Lady of Crowns from earlier this year is a solid introduction. If there's interest, I may elaborate here on what geomancy consists in exactly.
  22. Grave ecstasy is a mood! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7ZpPsaMNMM
  23. That sounds very interesting, Onyx, but what is Spirit Art? A specific gallery or artist name, perhaps? I'd love to know more!
  24. Not sure where to post this, apologies if it doesn't fit here. I'd like to discuss artists (especially women) whose process includes spirit contact - either that we know of or that we can sense powerfully. I'll start with probably the most well-known. Hilma af Klint was a Swedish painter at the turn of the century. She's frequently referred to as "the first modern/abstract painter", although her art hadn't been seen by anyone but a few of her contemporaries until very recently. Af Klint was a Theosophist and a spiritualist, so of course her world was full of spirits. Her major opus, the Temple paintings, were channelled - in her understanding, her contacts painted through her. They're meant to embody complex ideas that were transmitted to her. These paintings are her most famous, and for good reason: it's hard to put into words the powerful sense of presence they open. For one, they're monumental. The sheer size of tem has a very perceptible effect on your body as a viewer. Af Klint's art was underappreciated and misunderstood even by her more iconoclastic contemporaries, such as Rudolf Steiner. So she put them away and left them to a family member, with instructions not to open and show them until at least 20 years after her death. In a fascinating story, this is the thing that strikes me the most: the relationship to time in her life and work. Drawn from the past, for the future, forever delayed and displaced. Asynchronicity as an art and way of life. To me, this is an interesting parallel to the path of the witch.
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