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Everything posted by spectropoetics

  1. The very few art pieces I've ever bought from a creator (and not a yard sale etc), I did because they were so personal? Like this reimagining of the Magician (the tarot card). So idk I'm unsure how well a small scale creator can perform business-wise by creating with commerce in mind... I think the "commercial" pieces work when you have the apparatus to convince people that's what they want; otherwise that's where commerce comes in, at the marketing stage. But from the very inception of a piece... idk. There are tropes that sell reliably I'm sure, like reimaginings of tarot cards lol, but see, this trope usually bores me to death, it really is my personal history and this creator's niche* take that inspire me in this piece, and ultimately made me buy it. I'm sure you've thought this through though, maybe you're wrestling with these very points - truly I don't know what I'm talking about anyway haha * it's not the right word here, it makes it seem like an algorithm-generated cheap trick to appeal to a minor marketing profile ugh commerce is inescapable I guess.......
  2. I really enjoy the inter-generational aspect of this forum. It's hard to come by age-diverse communities on the internet so I'm grateful for your perspectives, StanLily and balefire. Also this, very much:
  3. ??? lol Enjoy fighting with your straw man version of my person. Again, I won't indulge anyone's projections. Thank you Tana but that's OK, I'll do without. I'm not sure who Onyx is lashing out against but it seems to have very little to do with me and I don't wish to entangle myself with it further.
  4. Not at all. No need to be preemptively rude when you're unsure you've understood correctly. As I've tried to explain, what I'm calling authority can come from many sources, and I've cited three that came to mind: initiation into a specific tradition (which, in itself, is already distinct from being taught by a coven); a special relationship to the spirit world (that can be forged in a number of ways, within a group or not); sacrifice (which ultimately means prioritizing your craft - that can simply be time and dedication, sometimes it is more literal). This is just what came to my mind in that moment. What I'm saying plainly now is that I like conversing, not indulging others' projections. I can see a case for this argument, and I respect it. But isn't witchcraft being secret (or hidden I suppose, as the secrecy of magical processes themselves seems to be universal) a fairly recent, highly localized state of affairs (namely: that of the Modern West)? That seems to have all but destroyed the apprenticeship model of training, which turned reading into our primary way of learning. Which isn't necessarily all bad. Here's something I wouldn't apply in my everyday life, but that I believe on a macro level: there's power and efficacy in hiding in plain sight. If the concern with how available information is is the endangerment of the craft, I think it's as protected behind a wall of secrecy as it is behind a stream of "content". But since I believe the craft protects itself, I see no problem with either situation.
  5. Hmmm I see what you mean, but I feel like all magical systems have built-in safeguards. A complete beginner could theoretically go through the motions of an advanced ritual in any number of magical traditions after a quick internet search but I don't see how they could be doing much more than that. The pattern they would half-assedly try to copy might simply be unrecognizable, so the system could just not respond, lock them out, or perhaps punish them if it can be bothered. I believe there's an intangible component to any ritual, something I might term authority, that in some traditions you gain through initiation or a special relationship with the spirit world or sacrifice etc, but that is always earned. Same thing for practices that might appear much more pared down and which are as widely appropriated as, say, smudging: I don't believe a bundle of sage would work with you just because you're mimicking something you've read/seen. Who even are you? So yeah, I think that distinction between reading and learning is fundamental. I'm often guilty of taking one for the other, I think it's commonplace hubris (but hubris nonetheless). Learning is something profound and slow that can be aided by cultivating the right conditions. Ultimately, though, it's a process one has no direct control over, imo. Like digestion or decomposition. To learn something, for me, is to incorporate it in a very literal sense, and so the body has to get involved beyond just moving your eyes across a page; even if it is just sitting with it for as long as necessary (there's a reason behind all those stock phrases). That's why I just don't believe it's possible to cut corners in magic, no matter how widely you read.
  6. Interesting question. I willingly admit that I would be a very different person without search algorithms (plus, 2000s piracy shaped my young mind much more than any formal education, or so I like to think). For now, for me, witchcraft is a way of relating to the world(s) (a definition so wide and vague it's probably useless to anyone but me at this moment). I found my way there through philosophy and poetry, and now through history, anthropology and ethnography (as well as general witchcraft and magic books of course but they're actually the ones I could do without if I really had to! so really this whole post might be off topic since I'm less interested in "specific practices of withcraft" than in sorcerous worldviews, from which practices, to me, naturally emerge). All sources I could've found without the internet, but its (sadly eroding) serendipity facilitated the process considerably - magically, in a way. And I treasure the informal sources the internet affords us: forums such as this one, conversational podcasts, small blogs... They're the last bastions of serendipity on the corporate internet. They help me think. As to the question of can vs. should when it comes to "consuming" information, I think anything is worth reading, and that's an important distinction. There are tons of different ways to read. Reading between, of course, but it's also perfectly possible to read against (though, in this day of algorithmically curated "feeds", that practice might be less familiar). I might go so far as to say that reading a bad source is more formative than reading something "good", if you really ponder its failings and shortcomings, constructing a counter-source as you go. That might be the teacher in me talking but there's no better learning tool than correcting an error or expanding on a shortcoming. So, I believe that it's much more about how you read than what or how much you read (which is an old argument in an old debate). Certain forms of reading are encouraged by the internet as it exists today because they're profitable for corporations: consuming in circles in chambers generated by algorithms for ad profiles (not people). But that doesn't mean that other forms of reading are not possible, even within the mass of information afforded by the contemporary internet. My 2c on the issue in the form of a tip: do everything you can to be a reader, not a consumer. That means being active as you go through information: read with a pencil and paper (or whatever digital annotation tool), underline stuff, write in the margins, journal about what you read, write responses, discuss it with other people, confront your source with others etc. All practices that are alive and well in witchcraft spaces, which makes me very happy. (sidenote: I find the reading and writing practices in modern witchcraft fascinating, it would be such an interesting case study for the sociology of reading.) But reading is not learning so I'm a bit thrown off by the wording here. I feel like your choice of the word "learn" is significant, what do you mean by it?
  7. Phagos, that's what I meant to address in the last part of my original post but the forums still won't let me post it. Even now in a reply to a brand new comment! I'll just try to post screenshots at this stage I can't think of anything else. (I disagree that the system of astrology looks completely different today though, modern Western astrology looks a lot more like Graeco-Roman astrology than Graeco-Roman astrology looked like Mesopotamian astrology for instance, because of the techniques and uses they fixed in the Western tradition. They basically invented natal astrology and its attendant techniques wholesale, which has since become the dominant branch by far. The revival of astrological magic and even electional astrology, the dominant forms of astrology in the ancient world, is a very recent blip in Western history).
  8. Ok let me try posting again (feel free to delete my previous buggy posts!): I don't know that associations/correspondences are subjective, they are the product of tradition and systematization. I'm sure your example was a shortcut and I get what you mean by it, but Mars doesn't get its significations from its color: it gets it from a series of attributes, mostly gender and temperament. (Funnily enough, passion is totally within the realm of Mars. A dignified, well-aspected Mars, meaning a functional Mars, can denote a passionate character in the best - and worst - sense of the term - I should know ;).) Before giving the planet the name of a god, the Greeks (who did that before the Romans btw) named them according to the way they shone in the night sky. Mars for instance was "the Fiery One" (source: Hellenistic Astrology by Chris Brennan). So, the planet-god associations happened after the planets’ significations coalesced into a system: the gods and planets match to some extent, they certainly overlap, but they are not synonymous. Someone well versed in Graeco-Roman mythology but who doesn’t know astrology might get somewhere by interpreting the planet-as-gods… but not very far at all. Astrology totally evolved after the Romans; it's still evolving today! The most significant modern innovation (conceptually) is the "psychological turn" in Western astrology in the 20th century: that looks nothing like what the Ancients practiced, and yet it's still recognizably the same discipline. And, of course, astrology has evolved alongside astronomy: the Ancients used only the visible planets (obviously), but most Western astrologers today use Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to some extent. Some also use asteroids, and new ones are discovered very regularly. Significant conceptual evolutions happen every few centuries: in the Renaissance, a whole new branch of astrology was invented, for instance (horary astrology, where you cast a chart and interpret it to answer a question).
  9. @Lauvitra These are beautiful! I'm very into the weaving metaphor for magic, storytelling, and so much of human activity - to make intricate patterns and solid form emerge from thread is just amazing to me.
  10. That's a really cool craft! And a beautiful pattern
  11. Very interesting site, I hope it continues to grow into the great resource it can become. I'll read through some of the articles when I have more time, I'll probably have questions!
  12. Love this. Big fan of the weaving analogy. tbh I think I have energy fatigue (😎👉) I'm guilty of using it because it's so damn convenient but that's precisely the issue: it's a little too convenient a term, it's incredibly vague, it lumps things that definitely feel and act differently together (or makes them up wholesale - is my suspicion sometimes), it's weirdly unagentive for a word that describes literal power... So it makes for lazy conceptualization and half the time I have no idea what the people telling me about it are on about. Another issue I have with the term is that it's oddly mechanical. A huge pet peeve of mine (and like, actual philosophical issue lol) in witchy circles is the use of mechanical (especially computing) metaphors to describe the fucking numinous. Like reducing spirit communication to "downloads". Like the witch or medium cultivating conversations with spirits is actually the passive recipient of a few megabytes of binary. Like tending to your body-mind to develop sensitivity and receptivity is the same thing as plugging yourself into the right socket. I consider it my duty as a witch to eradicate these lines of thoughts, to restore the vocabulary (and thus the cosmology, I'd go as far as to say the ecology) of crafting. Hence my soft spot for the weaving analogy (which, funnily enough, computing is based on as well - and oh the irony, since the term deprogramming would be apt to describe what I'm trying to do). I was curious to see when that word, energy, entered the English language, where it came from and what it meant if anything outside of engineering before the industrial revolution. Apparently it came into English via French (from Greek via Latin) in the 1590s with a mistake: "Used by Aristotle with a sense of "actuality, reality, existence" (opposed to "potential") but this was misunderstood in Late Latin and afterward as "force of expression," as the power which calls up realistic mental pictures." I really like this meaning. It's actually apt for what we seem to be talking about when we talk about energy in the metaphysical sense. But there's no denying that it has been entirely polluted by its scientific meaning and it's impossible to change the set of associations we Moderns have with it. So I'm just really fascinated by the paradox that started the thread:
  13. Oh yeah in my earlier post I sort of glossed over the key word "compass" haha. Good... point that above and below are also points. I definitely believe that magic circles in general are designed to bring one in alignment with the cosmos to tell it into being (more as in telling a story than in telling it what to do haha). The "sun's path" rationale is the only one I find convincing personally - it's also the most ancient and explains how few divergences there are in directional associations (with elements, themes, types of magic), and why they're so comparatively modern.
  14. Ancestor veneration seems to be making a big comeback in the wider "alternative spiritualities" world and most altars or recommendations for altars I see floating around seem to be boveda inspired. I have no experience with this but I find it interesting that it's in the air at the moment. Watching this topic.
  15. Damn I'm really impressed by people with good enough memories that they can retrace their own steps like that. When I was at uni I used to work myself up into a panic (barely exaggerating lol) thinking of past students who didn't have searchable archives, books, notes... I would be a very different person without search algorithms lol
  16. @Michele, precisely, it's all these nuances and different conceptualizations that I find so enriching. Thank you for sharing!
  17. Here my beliefs align with yours. But I believe the energy of the plant (I would go farther and term it its personhood, or simply being - to me that it is an important distinction that breaks the Idealistic model and restores agency to whatever it is one is working with, which all too often is absent from the equation) is inextricable from its specific embodiment. Simply put, that the plant is not an expression of some purely immaterial principle but that the plant, like every thing, exists as a physical thing with a spirtual - or energetic, I suppose - dimension. I also agree that these associations build up and strengthen over time. This is why it's so comparatively easy to work with vervain, to take this example again: my specific plant and I are building on covenants dating back millenia; the plant is used to all sorts of magicians and vice versa. I may have misread your first post and this may appear as nitpicking over semantics but to me they're defining elements of a craft, and that's why I'm so interested in comparing my understanding with that of other practitioners.
  18. I keep having clearer ideas of how to express my thoughts right after I post smh... Michele, it's probably not how you intended it, but do you see how in your theory the plant is a sort of passive portal to something other (implicitly greater)? I believe the plant has just as much of an agenda as the witch and that often, the craft is about negotiating and harmonizing these agendas to bring about an outcome desirable to both parties. In short, I believe in a world of material and metaphysical relations, not of (philosophical) Idealism.
  19. Oh that's interesting. Personally I don't believe that's what's happening at all. For instance, I don't think that "inspiration" somehow exists somewhere and that vervain is just an interface for me to access this energy. I believe these things work by the laws of sympathy, not ontology: that things are defined by their relative closeness and distance, not by their own separate existence (with possible links between them). So, in my example, I believe that vervain, because it has such a pleasant, fresh smell, gently stimulates the mind and the imagination; that its purplish flowers resonate with Venus, meaning it is invested in harmony: works of beauty that bring people together. So it follows that vervain would help one compose works of art, music in particular (the plant's freshness evokes the air element, and of course: harmony), especially ones that are well-balanced and classically beautiful. So, in my view, vervain is inspiring; it's not a gateway to an energy we have come to understood as inspiration.
  20. I have two nice hardcover books with sturdy paper (nothing extravagant, just above average quality so ink doesn't bleed through and I'm semi-confident the paper and binding will stand the test of time) where I record rituals I've performed, tools and various blends etc I've made and information about ingredients I've acquired. One is for general magic and one is for the astrological variety in particular, as that's a big chunk of what I do. I'm very bad at keeping them updated but my process is flexible enough that I can do it in big batches when motivation strikes: it's where I consolidate the various scraps about the Goings-On. (I used to be very self-conscious because my penmanship is horrid and I can't draw or make anything pretty to save my life but I've gotten over that, thankfully. Any full book looks awesome whatever way it was filled anyway.) I have a trusty, thicker Rhodia book that is sturdy enough to travel around: it's where I record every tarot reading. Feedback is absolutely essential to developing your skill, I learned that all too late in my relatively long journey with divination. This one I maintain dutifully. I peruse it at regular intervals and add new insights that have emerged or correct what was confirmed to be erroneous interpreations. Then I have a random notebook that I use to write a few lines after meditation (how long I meditated, a few words about how I feel afterwards). I try to go back periodically and see if anything that happened matches weird things that may have emerged during meditation to learn to acknowledge premonitions as what they are. I use the back of the book for occasional 'brain dumps'. I have another whatever book where I try to collect all the random notes I take when I'm working on things etc. I think of it as an exercise book but I'm bad at using it when there's always some barely usable scrap of paper lying around... Oh, and I have a Honeycomb personal almanach - it's a planner with all the astrological information you could dream of needing, with mundane transits customized for your location as well as transits to your own natal chart. An absolute godsend. I use it as the resource it is for pretty much everything and I write a brief paragraph about each day to track transits and see how they affect me/my life. Incredibly useful. I'm going through some major life transits so I think its usefulness will only increase with time, as I look back. As for readings notes etc it's all digital. I use the free open-source software Obsidian to collect highlights and notes on everything I read and to break them down into concepts I can relate to other things I've learned and experienced. I'm always raving about this small but oh so mighty piece of software. It's like a commonplace book of yore except it's hyperlinked, which makes it dizzyingly powerful. I use MyMind (paid subscription unfortunately - I'm on the student plan which is fairly affordable for what you get) to collect bits and bobs of inspiration. That's how I used tumblr back in the day, although this is much more efficient (and stable, and confidential). It keeps me creative and engaged to have a place where I can explore things that caught my eye in a serendipitous manner. Learning and creating is all about making links, for me, so I'm glad tools like this one are appearing - a really beautiful use of AI, I wish all were as benevolent... I think of myself as terminally disorganized and forgetful but I've managed to write a horribly long post about what appears to be a pretty functional system! That's actually heartening! Always curious to hear about others' systems, so I'm bumping.
  21. Fascinating practice and thread. Interesting bit of synchronicity too as I was reading a discussion about children and necromancy elsewhere earlier (notably, the traditional role of children as scryers), which led to someone sharing this captivating extract from an essay in Howlings, a Scarlet Imprint anthology about Goetia that's long out of print ("Sex in the Circle" by Thea Faye). Oh, it appears I can't attach the screenshot however much I downsize the picture... The author touches on the taboo of practicing magic (especially any type of evocation) while pregnant and explains how it actually was the period of her life where she made the greatest magical progress.
  22. Mind slightly blown that I never thought of smoking the herbs I spend time with... even though I inhale their smoke when I burn them and I do smoke tobacco! This sounds much better than inahling the smoke of the charcoal disk with everything else. Thanks for the great blend ideas everyone, I love finding these little nuggets of insight and inspiration through random searches.
  23. Death and the Maiden is sooooo 1500, how about Death and the Crone?
  24. I believe you can buy all of Sacred Texts' archive on a thumb drive or CD. A nice way to support the outstanding work they're doing with this archive. Books sold this way are precisely that: archives (or encyclopedies). It's a huge amount of raw material, perfect for research but you have to know what you're getting yourself into - it won't be a nicely compiled volume on a clearly defined topic. Otherwise format doesn't determine quality obviously. So it really depends on what your purpose is acquiring the material.
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