Alright y’all, just like Jesus took a three day staycation in a cozy cave to get away from the hustle and bustle of the world and came back better than ever, so too have I returned from the wilderness feeling refreshed and full of the Holy Spirit.
DISCLAIMER: If you are either one of my parents, one of my older relatives, someone I haven’t seen since high school, or in any way supportive of the war on drugs I can pretty much guarantee that you are gonna want to skip this installment of Yama Yoga Story Time. Seriously. Stop reading, mom.
For those of you with the moral and intestinal fortitude to stick with the trouble; strap in/on, take some deep breaths, and get your assholes situated because I have got a hilarious, horrifying, horrendous, and true story that may cause some chafing as it goes down.
This all happened in the bad old days, around fifteen years ago. Let me set the scene; I’m in my mid-twenties and hopelessly addicted to oxycontin with a daily habit that would kill most horses, not to mention people. The assholes in charge realized that in their attempt to get the entire nation hooked on pharmaceutical-grade heroin they had overlooked the looming PR nightmare of tons of middle class white kids hooked on pharmaceutical-grade heroin and began pulling back on their campaign of over-prescription. This of course drove the street value of said pills through the goddamn roof. When I first cultivated my edgy, antihero, rockstar, drug-poet habit of snorting 320-400mg of oxy a day, I could get an 80mg pill for twenty fucking dollars. As far as deadly opiate habits are concerned, eighty dollars a day is a steal for the amount of fucked up it got me. I hear that krokodil is equally cheap and similarly intoxicating but the side effects always seemed just a tad over the top, with something like a 90% chance of contracting gangrene, plus, at the time, it was hard to find outside of eastern Europe.
I would highly recommend saving yourself the trouble of cleaning your own vomit off the screen of whatever device you're reading this post on by keeping the word "krokodil" out of your search history.
So here I am with a massive pill habit and all of a sudden my pills cost three to four times more than they did a month ago, from 80mg for twenty dollars to 80mg for eighty dollars. And I paid it, and I sold a few pills, and spent my savings until there weren’t any pills to buy and I started smoking heroin, and then very shortly after that I started shooting up.
I must in(ter)ject at this point a small factoid: heroin, that demonic concoction, is, at its average street purity, much less potent than oxycontin. Take it from someone who has done a shitload of both; heroin is milder by far and is much easier to come off of. As long as it has not been cut with fentanyl or carfentanil which are 100 and 10,000 times stronger than morphine, respectively. Trust me, the shit coming out of those pharmaceutical labs makes heroin look like ginger beer.
The scene is set: tons of middle class white kids are switching from oxycontin to heroin, the drug trade is booming, I know lots of people in said trade, and I myself have a massive heroin habit that I supplement daily with large doses of cocaine, and/or crack cocaine, and MDMA. The streets are flooded with high quality narcotics and affluent junkies, so I did what any lazy junky would do, I started selling drugs. And so, it is on a run north, to a major metropolitan area to purchase an objectively large quantity of narcotics, that our story takes place.
It had been about twelve hours since we started smoking crack. I had arrived at D’s waterfront apartment around 1:00pm, and as soon as I had traded my money for his drugs and shot up in the bathroom to shake off the sweats, he brought out the crack and the glass rose and the steal wool and we got down to business. It was around 2:00am and we were all out of crack.
This, as any crackhead will rapidly and aggressively inform you, is an untenable position.
“You should cook some up from what I sold you”, said D.
“You know that both of us are fucking garbage at cooking crack”, I replied, thinking back to all the times I had lost a gram of perfectly good coke because the shit popped out of the spoon and into the shag carpet when it finally became hydrophobic. (Crack cocaine got its fanciful and onomatopoeic moniker from the sound that cocaine makes when it converts from cocaine HCL [ standard issue powdered cocaine] to a solid, through the application of heat, plus water, and baking soda.)
“Let’s go buy some,” D blurted, after a long and thoughtful pause of 1/3 of one second.
“You know I gave you all the money I had. I’m perfectly happy to just shoot up,” I replied through the violent ups and downs of the narcotic cocktail jitterbugging through my shriveled veins.
After a lot more of this back and forth we both agreed that the smartest way to go about procuring more crack would be to drive downtown at 2:30am on a Tuesday with a guitar hero controller and trade it to someone D said that he knew.
Great. I love it when a plan comes together.
So off I drove into the night with felony amounts of two different narcotics, a scale, a spoon, and a fresh needle in the pockets of my shorts. Not to mention the car full of spent needles and mostly empty baggies barely camouflaged in the sea of fast food wrappers.
We drove around downtown for about a minute and a half before i realized that D did not know anyone down here and that what we were doing was driving around the shittiest part of town looking for a homeless crackhead to trade us some drugs for a guitar hero controller.
“Pull over here,” D shouted excitedly, over the pulsating sound of Justice grinding through the stereo.
So I pulled over and a very large woman walked up to the passenger window and asked what we wanted. D replied that we were looking for “soup”, which, apparently, is what the people in the streets call crack. She said she didn’t have any on her, but that if we waited right there for five minutes, she’d come back with someone who did and we could easily trade our video game controller for a rock. She turned to leave and reiterated that we were not to move until she got back.
“FUUUUUUUUUUUCK THIS. She is coming back with some big dudes to beat the shit out of us and steal everything we’ve got and, if we’re lucky, they’ll let us walk away. I am getting right the fuck out of here,” I said calmly, as soon as the giant woman was out of earshot.
So with much protesting from D, we drove on for another ten minutes until D told me to pull over again, this time in front of a very large, very sketchy looking alley way with two guys leaning on either side of the alley mouth. D rolled down his window and one of the guys ran over to the car and asked what we wanted. D asked for soup again and the alley-man assured us that he had what we needed and asked for money. D and I explained, in rapid fire unison, that we had no money and would instead prefer to trade this shiny and new guitar hero controller for some rocks. Alley-man, unfazed by this outlandish request, asked to see the controller.
And then in lightning fast slow motion, everything goes wrong.
D holds up the box with the controller in it. Alley-man reaches his wiry, monkey-strong crackhead arms into the car and grabs on to the box. D raises his voice and tells the guy to let go. Alley-man wrenches the box out of the frail hands of my companion, all the while reassuring him in a very calm voice for a robbery that if we just follow him to the back of the alley way we can get our precious rocks. D is out of the car at this point and has grabbed back on to the box, wrenching with all 120 of his sickly, fragile pounds, as the alley-man effortlessly pulls him into the darkness.
I finally snap into action and jump out of the car. Grabbing hold of D’s arm, I manage to convince him that getting beat to death for a guitar hero controller is probably not worth it. Alley-man is still beckoning us to join him in the darkness as I steer D back to the car.
Then I hear the single dumbest sentence I’ve ever heard in my life:
“Fuck that, I’m calling the cops.”
“Yeah right,” I laugh, “let’s go home, it’s cold as shit out here.”
But D’s not joking. Oh no. In fact, D already has his fucking phone out and, before i can slap it out of his hand, I hear two sentences that must be high on the list of all-time-dumbest things ever uttered by a junky:
“Yeah, is this the police? I’ve just been robbed.”
At this point my brain is about to explode. I hear D give dispatch the address of the corner we’re on and a brief description of the event and the perpetrator. He hangs up and starts shouting down the alley that the cops are coming and that alley-man is fucked and that he shouldn’t’ve messed with D.
My mouth is open and my brain has gone completely blank. I am standing on a corner in downtown Portland at 3:00am wearing basketball shorts, slippers, and a hoodie, it’s forty degrees outside, I have at least two felonies worth of drugs and paraphernalia on my person, I’m high out of my goddamn mind, and now I have to explain to a police officer how and why we just got robbed at the mouth of this fucking alley looking like we do.
I’m usually great in a crisis but this is a big fucking ask.
The cop car arrives in under five minutes. This is a terrible neighborhood full of junkies and homeless folks, so of course they show up instantly.
The cop asks D what happened and it quickly becomes apparent that I am going to have to do the talking. D, bless his heart, is not a great liar and is too wound up from the robbery and the twelve hours of crack smoking to keep any kind of story straight.
I, on the other hand, am a professional.
“So what, exactly, happened here?” asks the cop, surveying what, in any other circumstance would have been a hilarious scene.
“We got robbed,” I blurt out over D’s inept, cracked out nonsense.
“How?” replies the officer with a raised eyebrow.
“We were at the mini-mart over there,” I stutter, eyes darting wildly in an attempt to Keyser Söze some kind of narrative out of the scenery.
“That mini-mart there?”, asks the officer, pointing up the street.
“That’s the one,” I say, “we were buying cigarettes,” I add, with a touch of pride for the backstory I was improvising.
“That mini-mart that’s been closed since 11:00pm?”
“Yeah, you see what had happened was, we didn’t know it was closed so we went to check the hours on the door and left the windows down while we got out and this crackhead just ran up out of nowhere and snatched it out of the passenger side of the car.”
A very long pause, as the officer digests the strung out, machine gun fast, automatic verbiage that has just exploded through my teeth.
“OK, so what do you boys want to do about it?”
“Well, I don’t know, I was trying to tell D before he called that we should just…”
“We wanna go get that fucker!” Shouts D.
And with those six words I felt every drop of life I had in me run down the inside of my leg as the cop opened the passenger door of his cruiser for D and then, as casually and deliberately as a hangman he walked around the car, each footfall another nail in my coffin, to the back and opened up the door for me.
I stood for a very long time looking at the hard plastic seat with the grooves in the back for arms bound with cuffs and weighed my options: run and get caught and get raped to death in prison, or get in the back of a cop car with a whole fuckload of drugs and paraphernalia willingly and hope for the best.
After what was most likely a very suspicious amount of time, I clambered into the back.
We drove around for a while as D gave the officer increasingly less believable details and odd suggestions as to where “that fucker” could’ve got to. I was in a daze. I was fucked. I was in the back of a cop car with multiple ounces of two different class I narcotics and a scale and baggies and a spoon and a needle, high out of my mind, though, if I’m honest, getting into the back of a cop car is a real bracer and my buzz had been choked to death while shouting it couldn’t breath several times over by the events of the night. Nonetheless, I’m sure I looked the very picture of a junky; track marks, inappropriately dressed, wide eyes, greasy long hair, shifty, twitchy, and also oddly sleepy. I watched the world go by and halfheartedly daydreamed about eating the drugs in my pocket and overdosing before they could put me in jail.
And then a miracle occurred.
“Stop the car, that’s him!” Screamed D with all the fervor and none of the charm of a contestant on The Price is Right.
The cop pulled over next to a homeless camp and put the car spotlight in the general direction D was wagging his finger, got out of the car, and opened the door for me to get out, ostensibly to identify this fucker. I could’ve kissed him. I could’ve danced like a Dervish and slapped God in the mouth. I was free.
And holy shit, it really was that dirty, crackhead, alley-man fuck face that started this whole debacle.
D was incandescent, vibrating with joy and hate and righteous indignation. I don’t think he ever understood how close we were to going to prison that night.
“That’s him officer. That’s the guy!”
The cop swiveled his Mag Light on the crackhead and sure enough, it was indeed Alley-man. Calm as ever, sitting on a milk crate with a blanket over his lap, surrounded by a swarm of other denizens of the homeless drug population all bunched in together, sharing blankets against the cold, and staring at us with disdain.
“You take something from these boys?” the cop drawled.
“I’ve never seen these two faggots in my whole life,” sneered alley-man.
“Bullshit!” screamed D, “He’s got it under the blanket, I can see the fuckin’ outline!”
“What’s that under the blanket sir?” the cop asked as he reached out and, to Alley-man’s consternation, grabbed hold of the box for a guitar hero controller poorly concealed under the blanket on his lap.
The officer handed the box to D who quickly inspected his hard-won prize to make sure the cables and controller were still in there. Everything checked out and I start thinking that I might actually have a chance, a small chance, but a chance nonetheless, to get out of this without getting raped to death in prison.
“So, you got your game back, what do you boys wanna do?” asks the cop.
“I…” is all i get out before D screams,
“I wanna press charges! Fuck that guy!”
Quickly stepping in between D and the cop, I tell him that we are certainly not pressing charges and that, more than anything, we’d just like a ride back to my car and to go home. So into the back seat I climb once more, elated that I have so far beaten all the odds and eluded arrest.
The ride back was mostly quiet. D muttered to himself indignantly, while I tried to look innocent in the back seat of a cop car, my pockets brimming with drugs.
“You boys weren’t out here tonight... (a talented chauffeur could've driven four stretch Hummers through this pause) trying to buy drugs were you?” asked the cop with a slight arch to his eyebrow, as he caught my eye in the rearview mirror.
“Oh heavens, no” I spluttered much too quickly. “Like I said, we were just trying to get cigarettes when this whole thing spun out of control.”
“Uh huh…” was the skeptical reply “Well, you boys oughta get home, I don’t wanna see you down here again.”
“Certainly sir, no problem, we are going straight home to bed, this was more than enough excitement for one night.”
And with that the officer let us out at my car. We got in and drove back to D’s place. At which point I shat my pants in terror, scooped up my shit, slapped D in the face with it, and put a load of heroin in my arm to balance out the adrenaline… and the crack, slept for an hour or two and drove back home at first light.
And that is how the Yama Yoga do.
I would like to point out that if either my friend or I had had even a slight suntan, we would both likely still be in federal prison. The fact that my friend the drug dealer and I (both white, middle class dudes) got a ride in the back of a cop car looking and acting like we did, without so much as a frisk speaks volumes about the inequality present, especially in the justice system, in this country. Obviously I’m not complaining about how it turned out for me, as far as I’m concerned that night went about as well as it possibly could have. Just food for thought.
Hey y'all, this large picture of St. Expidite insisting that he gets shit done today (HODIE) while stepping on a crow shouting CRAS (tomorrow) that's meant to represent Satan (I think) seems a fitting image for my lack of blog post last week. I could give all kinds of totally reasonable excuses like; I started working again, or, it was my wife's birthday, both of which are factual, but the real reason is, I didn't want to write a blog post last week. I completely gave in to that squawking little bastard and said "fuck it, I'm taking a week off", and I'm super glad I did. I had a great week of adventuring and enjoying the company of my favorite person and I made good money at work.
"So when will we get new posts?" I hear all fifteen of you ask through the ether(net). Well for the next few weeks my posts will likely be a bit more sporadic as I reacclimate to being a working bartender and take advantage of the amazing Venus elections in the middle of this month: Venus is in Pisces, her exaltation, at the moment there's some space weather that's too good to pass up.
Never fear good denizens of Myrrhkwood, I shall return to a regular posting schedule soon, though, sadly it will be neither Hodie nor Cras.
Go out and honor the Fairer Benific by frolicking in the sunshine and spending time with the people, plants, animals, arts, non-human persons, activities, and places you love the most.
Gimme a group hug you glorious goonies of goodness! In an effort to avoid yet another post about grief and trudging through it with a sick sense of humor and an air of having been through worse while remembering that nothing is permanent and things tend to change for the better in my life, I am beginning a new series of posts called Yama Yoga Story Time.
“What the fuck is a Yama Yoga?” I hear you ask from the future as I type this at the last minute on a Wednesday. Yama Yoga, or “Death facing Combination” is an aspect in Jyotish (Vedic astrology) in which Mars and Saturn are conjoined or even just in close aspect to one another. If you want to know more, check out this article or this article by folks who knows a fuck load more about jyotish than I ever will. The gist is, when Saturn and Mars are in tight aspect to one another it gives the person the ability to, paraphrasing Austin Coppock, calmly walk through the killing fields. Bruce Lee had it, David Lynch has it, Madam Blavatsky had it, and, incidentally, my dad, both my brothers, two of my best friends, my wife, and I all have the Yama Yoga.
So what does that mean practically? In my experience, it means that my life has been filled with some gobsmackingly gnarly, fucked up shit which is mostly my own fault and, so far, I have strolled through it without losing my mind (permanently) and kept a lovely, gallows sense of humor about the whole thing. The stories I laugh at while regaling customers at the bar with my past exploits often result in looks of dumbstruck terror pimp-slapped across the faces of those within earshot. I know right away who I will really get along with because they’re the ones who will laugh with me and immediately serve up some fresh tales of horror from their own lives. And why not? It all happened, we can either laugh and rejoice in the fact that we’re still here, or cry and lament our past actions. It’s an easy choice for me.
Another benefit of Yama Yoga is the noticeable absence of the fear of death. Neither myself nor the army of crazies to whom I am related seem to fear dying. This is not bragging, not fearing death would be a super weird thing to brag about.
I should point out that I do fear things: large spiders upon my person in the night times, large crowds sometimes, pain, suffering, and shitting myself during an ayahuasca ceremony all rank pretty high on my fear-o-meter. Death, however, just seems like the gateway into the next phase, and a fucking cool adventure to be sure.
The folks I know with Yama Yoga are keenly aware of the impermanence of life and of everything else, they’ve endured pain and trauma that is genuinely shocking to the average bear, and, instead of adopting suicidal, nihilistic, or sociopathic tendencies, most of them choose to celebrate the joy of whatever is happening now and revel in the beautiful impermanence of everything. We’re kind of a fucked up cult of zen junkies making the world brighter and evoking joy in the present, by sharing, with a smile, how much worse it has been and how beautiful it is now. That sounds pretty self-aggrandizing and definitely makes us out to be more stable than most of us are. That said, those who have suffered the lowest lows tend to more easily find the inherent, ecstatic beauty in the mundane.
And then there's Mark Zuckerberg...
But try to imagine how bad it must have hurt when he pulled his own living brain out of his useless, fleshy-fleshy meat body and wired it up into whatever he is now. Or, holy shit, try to imagine how bad just living as a human must have hurt for him to have turned himself into a robot in the first place. I have experienced some very serious pain and trauma but it had never even occurred to me that cutting open my skull, ripping out my brain, and plopping it into a rejected prototype for a real Data-from-Star-Trek cyborg was an option. That’s Yama Yoga.
We also tend to spin a good line of bullshit and are fairly adept at justifying our choices or making the best of a situation that could only be described as totally fucked.
That seems like a solid place to leave it, images of a cryogenically frozen, brainless, Zucker-body floating peacefully in your heads. Until next time when we will likely dive into some actual Yama Yoga Stories.
Be well you crazy fucks. I love you all.
The Cards Don't Lie
Circle up team. I've got a short one for you for reasons that shall be elucidated in due course. Forgive the straightforward and under-flourished writing, the only creative style available to me right now is an amalgam of black humor and sarcasm and it tastes like bitter molasses, salt, and sambuca all threw up on a street corner covered in the discarded underwear of the homeless.
Still feeling the feels from the events of 2 weeks ago, topics for a blog post were not easy to come by. So I did what any self-respecting magical practitioner would do: I let some digital renderings of screen printed images on card stock tell me what to write about using a tarot-bot on discord.
Because I was too lazy to shuffle my actual cards. Because life is challenging right now. Because I’m grieving and I wanted a robot to tell me what the cards meant so I didn’t have to engage my intuitive or cognitive faculties. Quit judging me Deborah, your husband left you for your brother and you cried for sixty seven consecutive days and drank at least four bottles of wine on every one of those days. And until this moment I didn't say a fucking thing, so shut your wine-hole. Comparatively, I am thriving.
Alright, the query was; what should I write about this week. Here’s the spread: 3 of swords (Lord of Sorrow), The Wheel of Fortune (Lord of the Forces of Life), and Queen of Wands (Queen of the Thrones of Flame).
I used The Hermetic Tarot because, even filtered through a digital tarot-bot, this deck reads marvelously for me. I recommend it over just about anything else for daily reading practices. Unlike the Thoth deck, which tends to skew negative for me and focus on more big picture, karmic, epochal type trends and energies surrounding the query, The Hermetic Tarot gives me solid, accurate readings about the actual issues in question. As evidenced above.
I read that spread as “Write about what you’re going through and how you’re getting through it, genius.” Here’s why: 3 of Swords pretty obviously suggesting the pain and sorrows of two weeks ago, The Wheel of Fortune suggests the transience of all states and the coming of fortunes new, The Queen of Wands suggests courage, determination, and joy, and looks to me like a grotesque lion-headed phoenix rising from the flames.
So, thanks a bunch tarot-bot, I guess you want me to write about my sorrow and how it, and everything else are just temporary states to eventually be overcome by joy when we die and either wake up in another dimension realizing that life was all some kind of crazy video game, or merge back into the source of all things (heaven?) maybe to be reborn, or everything goes dark and that’s it. I find only two of these options palatable or realistic and it should be fairly obvious which two. Speaking of palatable, the idea of writing about what I’m going through again sounds about as palatable as using my tongue to wipe someone else’s ass. So I shall ignore the sagely advice of the tarot-bot and, instead, write about what I’m doing to stay sane.
Reading. Lots of reading. Some frivolous book purchases. Extra matras, prayers, and meditation. Research. Lots of research. I’ve been learning about new systems of magic and jailbreaking them down into usable bits to try later. The past two weeks have mostly been spent caring for my wife and myself and trying to keep my mind occupied so that it stays the fuck out of my grieving process. As a card carrying member of The Crustacean Crew, I feel things deeply and often for longer than is healthy, withdrawing into my protective shell, tuning out my mind and ego and allowing my natural healing process to do its thing. When the feels hit hard I do my best to feel them and acknowledge them without wallowing. Reminding myself that my life is, on the whole, amazing and that I have been through more painful and more harrowing situations more times than I care to count helps. Taking care of my body with nourishing food and exercise and sleep. Though I must admit, sleep has been in short supply. Applying talismanic oils from Sphere and Sundry when it’s felt right (mostly Son of Apollo, Sol in Leo, and the new Venus in Taurus Empress series). That’s it really. I’ve not done any magic to banish grief or anything else. Just doing my best to respect what comes up and stay positive. Which sounds gross, I know, but it’s all I got.
Love y’all. See you next time.
Huddle up, you mystical, magic-matted merkins. It’s gonna be a short post this week and I didn’t want to write it.
Some really challenging shit happened last Monday. Painful, uncomfortable, draining, devastating shit. The essence of this shit is for myself and my loved ones to know, all you need to know, dear reader, is that it fucking hurt to go through and I imagine it will hurt for a while longer.
This pain and the way it’s being processed and coped with now as opposed to ten years ago got me thinking about what it is to deal with pain in a “healthy” way. This is also the only thing I felt I could write about with any sort of integrity at the moment. So enjoy a brief rundown of how to cope when life gets painfully challenging.
The certainty of not being able to express this sentiment any better has crashed over me like a tsunami of liquid LSD and left me standing stark naked and bewildered at the brilliant, mad simplicity of that statement. Nonetheless, I must press on.
Ten years ago if something as painful as this had happened to me, it would have meant a large withdrawal from the bank, a massive purchase of murderous narcotics, weeks or months spent completely numb, and then, when the money ran out, another large withdrawal. This time in the form of three weeks with no sleep, uncontrollable weeping, truly impressive projectile excretions from all orifices and the certainty that my veins had been pumped full of furious, electrified fire-ants as my limbs twitched and writhed in agony.
Today dealing with the pain is sitting with it and feeling it but not allowing myself to fall into wallowing and depression which, for a person of my temperament with a penchant for depressants and a love of Jeff Buckley, is a very fine line indeed. Turning my formerly existential/nihilistic tendencies around and realizing that whatever happens in my life is exactly what is supposed to happen because the events in my life are always unfolding towards my highest good has been incredibly helpful. Knowing when it is OK to take a break from processing the pain and have an edible and relax and recuperate has been an invaluable tool this last week.
Life is fucking weird.
Not to worry, I'm a pro.
Thanks Uncle Hunter
Astro-Magic and Talismans pt.2
Here we are; astrological talismans and their creation by a rank amateur with no business calling forth the ancient and immensely powerful spirits of entire fucking planets. That’s right, if the glassy-eyed freak who freely admits to having a crush on David Bowie, and suggests that adding one’s own unique flair to the masturbatory process is a noble raison d’etre can create effective astrological talismans out of a hastily thrown together charm bag and some poorly drawn paper talismans, anyone can.
First off, the election: an astrological election is a time elected by an astrologer because of specific planetary and stellar alignments. Essentially, it’s a birthchart for the creation of an object or event and like a birthchart it dictates, to some degree, the general vibes of said person, place, or thing. For those of you interested in learning more from folks who know what the fuck it is they're doing here’s a link to Chris Brennan and Leisa Scheim talking for nearly three hours about electional astrology and all the other things that tie in with that. I have learned a whole truckload of super valuable and useful astrology things from The Astrology Podcast and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn about astrology for free plus how could you not enjoy a podcast hosted by this guy.
Fair warning, Chris’ voice hovers somewhere in between robotic monotone, partially reanimated corpse, exasperated emo teenager, and that teacher from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off; Ben Stein. For more magically inclined astrological podcastery check out the biannual astrology episodes of Rune Soup featuring the inimitable Austin Coppock, and Austin’s own podcast: Eavesdropping at Midnight.
The timing for my talismans fell, quite effortlessly, into my lap through forces I will never fully comprehend. Here’s the chart for the Venus talisman which, oddly enough, was so good that the brilliant Coppock’s who run Sphere and Sundry used it as well. Check it!. That said, they used the election to much greater effect and called in a total of 5 planetary spirits during their ritual and lined up the houses better than I did. All in all, though, for a first crack at astro-magic I’d say I did pretty well.
For those of you looking for solid elections this year, the Astrology Podcast gives away a free election every month with their astrology-of-the-month-ahead show and, if you become a patron at a certain tier they give you around 5 elections a month. Looking at those elections and the ones posted on Sphere and Sundry has been an incredibly valuable, free learning tool for me. Other options for finding elections include r/planetarymagic and various other forums dedicated to astro-magic. There are more classes available than I care to count, I believe Chris Warnock, co-author/translator of the Picatrix, still offers classes and astrological talismans at Renaissance Astrology and Austin Coppock has some prerecorded classes on his site. I’ve heard that starting with talismans of the lunar mansions, as outlined in The Picatrix, can be a decent intro to talismanic astro-magic though, as is my wont, I chose to forgo the intro and leap headfirst into the deep end. One could also make daily or weekly prayers and offerings of candles or incense to the planetary or stellar spirits one is looking to work with and see what happens. I have done this with spirits of many varieties and it works a treat.
Speaking of prayers, finding examples of traditional prayers to the spirit you wish to petition and using those as a template, or cribbing whole sections, and adding your own personal flair and language has worked superbly well for me. Also, being comfortable enough with the gist of the prayer to go totally off-book and freestyle if the mood strikes has yielded outstanding results in my own practice. Speaking from the heart seems to be a key factor in successful evocations. As Aleister Crowley said: “The whole secret may be summarized in these four words: “Inflame thyself in praying.”
This is easier than it may seem: It’s acting. Giving yourself completely to the words on the page, or in your heart, and feeling them “inflame” you creates a potent spiritual and magical environment conducive to inter-dimensional diplomacy and the achievement of magical goals.
Here are some examples of the the basic ritual shape and prayers I used to petition Mars and to empower my talismans.
- Purification by bathing and reading Psalm 51, especially verses 7-12.
- Calling of Personal Daimon from PGM
- Consecration of ground, and consecration of fire and incense from Drawing Spirits Into Crystals by psedo-Trithemius in Barret’s The Magus
- Prayer: Oh Mars, you who are an honored lord and are dry and hot, mighty, weighty, unshakable of nerve, firm of heart, spiller of blood. You are strong and hardy, acute, daring, shining, agile, skillful. The lord of battle who has no fear or contemplation of anything, who strikes by instinct and trained skill at the perfect moment both on the anvil and on the battlefield. Sole helper in all your effects and in investigations thereof, strong in calculation and will to conquer, indomitable of will and drive and endlessly seeking fortune. Cause of lawsuits and battles, doer of evil to weak and strong, lover of the sons of battle and vindicator of wicked people. King of the forge and the purifying fire, hot as molten rock and sturdy as the anvil. Harnesser of destruction, channeling explosions into pure forward drive. Inexorable progress, mowing down any and all who stand in your way. I ask of you and conjure you by your names and your qualities that exist in heaven; by your fire and progress, by your drive and purification and also by your petitions to the Lord God who placed power and strength in you, gathering them in you and separating them from other planets that you might have strength and power and victory over all with great vigor.
- Orphic Hymn to Mars
- Conjuration: I conjure you by all your names which are in Arabic Mirrih, in Latin Mars, in Persian Bahram, in Roman and Greek Aries, in Indian Angara, in Etruscan Maris, in Babylonian Nergal, in Vedic Mangal.
- Conjuration: I conjure you by the high God of the universe that you hear my prayer and attend to my petition and furthermore see my humility in the presence of your holy might and fill my petition. I conjure you by Samael who is the angel whom God set beside you to complete your effects and affairs.
- Conjuration: Mars I conjure you also by your spirit with which you have strength and potency in your works, I conjure you by your light and your radiance, by the red glow of your light and by the heart of the strong burning fire. You who are the embodiment of purification through fire and force of will, pure determination, the action and implementation of universal power, the bearer of wellfare and action through exploration and protection. Mars who is of the nature of the ardent flame, igniter of passion and reveler in battle. Commander of the forces of strength, drive, purification, protection, defending borders and expanding them through force, I conjure you by the High Throne of God and in the name of Tetragrammaton that you head my prayer in this your degree of exaltation and grant my petition and dedicate, bless, consecrate, and empower the items on this altar. Fill them with the might of your power in this your degree of exaltation and the height of your strength.
- Talisman Prep: Draw Mars symbols on paper or parchment or cloth or rocks, compound oils or waters or tinctures.
- Charm Bag: Draw Mars glyphs on bag and fill with plants and minerals sympathetic to Mars. Check Agrippa or Skinner or think about the qualities of Mars and what materials share those qualities: personal meaning adds a lot to these workings.
- Talisman Consecration and Empowerment: I conjure you mighty spirit of Mars and glorious archangel Samael, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to, with the indefatigable spirit of Mars, consecrate, bless, dedicate, and empower these talismans that they may shine forth with the glow of the forge and power of the hammer of Mars in his degree of exaltation. That they radiate the pure victorious drive and unstoppable courage, the inevitable success, heightened instincts and awareness, the indefatigable energy and iron will and flaming heart of Mars at his best, the right use of universal power and action through exploration. Fill them with the calculated, tactical striking power and purifying heat of the forge so that all those who hold them shall know victory and success, and that they may stand, solid as a block of iron, as a testament to your steadfast strength and power and serve as an everlasting tribute to your implementation of universal power without bringing any harm or unnecessary stress to the lives of those who hold them or the people within their spheres of influence.
- Talisman Enlivening: At this point I was about full to bursting of indescribable Martial power. My skin was hot and it felt like I had molten fire ants with jetpacks and rocket pants coursing through my veins instead of blood. My whole body was shaking with the raw power of this ancient, explosive power. I took a deep breath and focused all the power blasting through the room and my body into my core and lungs and hands, picked up my charm bag and pushed the glorious, fulminating, cataclysmic creative force into the bag with a forceful exhale, intending, all the while, to use the energy to enliven and empower the talisman. It was very obvious that it “woke up” immediately so I tied the bag closed with five knots and moved on to enliven the paper talismans.
- License to Depart: Thanking God and all the spirits who attended for their aid, requesting as they came in peace and power that they depart in the same fashion and return when called.
Image by Matthew Trupia
Wowzers! I got jittery and Martially (or Marshally) amped up to 11 just transcribing these prayers from my ritual notebook. Which makes sense considering that it was on or near the altar throughout the working and is likely a talisman in its own right.
For those of you thinking that Mars was a rather reckless first entity to petition for a talisman, you are right. That said, while Mars in it's degree of exaltation in Capricorn is more powerful, it is also much more stable. The whole thing came together rather quickly when, while making my standard Tuesday Mars prayers, I was struck with a massive surge of energy and the certainty that making a talisman was both within my power and a magical necessity. The surge of energy lasted from that Tuesday until the following Sunday providing more than enough maddening Martial motivation and energy to propel me, sleepless, through five straight days of research, magic, and ritual preparation.
That's all I've got for y'all this week. Let me know in the comments what you think and if you have had any interesting experiences with astrological magic, or magical magpie-ism, or anything else on your mind.
See y'all next time.
Sorry for the lateness of this post, it would have been posted last week on Wednesday only, a giant kingfisher pecked me into my duvet cover and then a frog stole my shoes. I’ve only just managed to wriggle out the bottom of my bed, tearing my last clean pair of jodhpurs on a magic hedgehog. Luckily the frog left me my slippers and a life in which shoes and jodhpurs optional.
To make up for my fecklessness I present to you part one of a long as post about astrological magic and magical magpie-ism. So circle up you miniaturized mercurial manta rays, you pulchritudinous potato poems for another journey through time and space...
A little less than a year ago in late March just as we in the USA were realizing that the shut down of the entire world also included us, I was called, quite loudly, to begin researching and preparing to make some astrological talismans in the style of The Picatrix. Astrological talismans and talismanic materia have been on my radar for a few years now thanks to Handsome Man-strologer Austin Coppock and his brilliant astro-sorceress wife Caitlin who run Sphere and Sundry. Making said talismans and materia had crossed my mind but, given my complete lack of astrology training and limited understanding of the ensorcelling required for the ritual, I figured it would have to be a project that some future-Tyler would sort out after present-Tyler did a whole shit-ton more research and learning. Not the case. As usual, going with my gut and studying the things I was nudged/called to study totally worked out because, as you will see below, I “randomly” stumbled on to an amazing magical election. Using the prayer and praxis from the Picatrix and some prayers and TEK from Drawing Spirits Into Crystals, and borrowing some of the beautiful wording from Jyotish planetary prayers I called forth, invoked, and petitioned the spirits of Mars and Venus as well as the angels and intelligences of their spheres and had them empower some talismans.
David Bowie, Marc Bolan, The Glitter Twins: Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Sir William Blake, Greg Traw, Sarah Eisenlohr, The Avalanches, Daft Punk, Justice, and Beck. These are all excellent examples of humans who borrow shiny bits and pieces from the world at large and recombine them into something completely new, something greater than the sum of its parts. A beautiful chimera, unique and futuristic, cobbled together from the glittering refuse of the past. These masterful, majestic magpies unmake and take apart the world we take for granted, they strip it down to its component parts and then they take the bits that speak to them and create the Frankenstein monster of the motherfucking future from the bombastic bones of the past.
Greg Traw's psychedelic magic masterpiece the Dracxiodos Tarot
All this is to say that while I appreciate the skills stances of grimoire purism and reconstructionism just as I appreciate the skills and stances of classical musicians; there is certainly value in traditionalism and reconstructing the rituals, and or concerts, of the past. It’s just not the way I roll. My whole life has been spent experimenting with what the different combinations of skittles in the packet taste like, adding brown gravy to my kalbi ribs and mac salad, and bravely combining drugs to test for synergy in the test tube that serves as my brain.
David Bowie has been a roll model/crush/idle/idol of mine for way longer than is appropriate. So it stands to reason that I would end up a musical, masticatory, and magical magpie as well. Magic is a living tradition and one of my favorite parts of being alive is innovation and finding what works for us as individuals, taking what we need and leaving the rest. Developing our own unique ways of being true to ourselves in whatever we do: magic, music, filing TPS reports, writing, delivering mail, dancing, eating, cooking, or masturbating seems like as noble a reason for living as any other.
Alright, in typical Myrrhkwood fashion, we started down a path headed for a clear and easily reachable destination and have become waylaid by the shiny fairy lights. That is, however, the very nature of the forest and Myrrhkwood is about as foresty as a forest can be: it may in fact be the forestyest forest that ever did forest… Damn it’s dark. Where did that trail go?
To be continued…
Well hello there my Microscopic Messianic Morris Days, my Breviloquent Bacterial Buddhas, my Lilliputian Light Bringers, and my Exiguous Enlightened ones. How’s everybody's 2021 going? Feeling that shift from the stability of the Earth cycle into the chaos of the Air cycle? Even I, atop my favorite tree in a densely wooded nature preserve surrounded by small mammals, the queen of the forest, and the crowned king of all birds, can feel the shift. Things are loosening, possibilities are blooming, chaos is here, and I am here for it. It’s been all over the news so I shan’t belabor the point but I don’t think a bunch of the rowdiest members of either party have stormed the capitol since they used to beat each other with canes and challenge one another to duels during senate debates. I’m pretty sure the whole thing was staged but even still; I don’t think that sort of political theater could have taken place in the era of dry, rigid Earth.
Things have become more fluid and flexible, fickly fluctuating forcibly faster as we move into the new mercurial mutability of the actual age of Aquarius. I am well aware that astrologically Aquarius is neither a mutable sign nor under the rulership Mercury and that Saturn is still in charge. That said, compared to Capricorn, Aquarius is the absolute avatar of all things airy and the exquisite emperor of electric exchange.
One of the most noticeable shifts I have experienced is a loosening of linear time. Time has always been fairly malleable around me and I’ve never been even partially sold on the idea of linear time. I have for most of my life been that asshole who’s excuse for being late is, “calm down; time is an illusion”.
Insert perfect segue here...
Since I was very small I have been able to dream the future. Never anything life shattering or even interesting; mostly they are dreams of totally mundane activities featuring people I have yet to meet and places I have yet to go. The common features are that upon waking I am very aware that I just had a “special” or prophetic dream, which is then stored very securely in my mind-tank, that I am completely astounded, and that official reality is outright obliterated for a time upon the fulfillment of said dream. This speaks directly to the malleability of time or at the very least our natural ability to move around in the current.
Speaking of skinny dipping in the streams of seconds and sometimes, here's a tiny piece of TEK from the sewage of the new age movement that I find super useful and which has become even more powerful since the grand conjunction. Praying or sending good energy to your past and future selves. This sounds super lame and cheesy but I promise it works and it takes 5 minutes. I try to stick to a set time every day to build up some thickness around the practice but any time you think of it is great. Just sit quietly and pray for your past self for a few minutes. You can think of a specific challenging time from your past, or a specific year or period in your life, or you can just shower all of your past selves with love and joy and comfort. The important part is really feeling the love, joy, comfort, or whatever you think past-you could use. Then spend a few minutes doing the same for your future-self. If you turn this into a daily practice then you can be sure that at any given moment your past and future selves are blasting you with love, joy, comfort, or whatever you’re into.
A great way to get a visceral feel for the obsolescence and utter nonsensical balderdashery of the notion of linear time is to take psychedelics. (I am in no way advocating the illegal purchase and consumption of any drug… I am, however strongly advocating the use of psychedelics as a whole so find a state, province, or country in which you can safely and legally do that).
I recently had the opportunity to participate in my third ayahuasca ceremony and the ludicrousness of linear time was one of the main things I was shown (that I could wrap my tiny mind around). Specifically, this irrationality was illustrated by elucidating the fact that everything is happening all at once by showing me what “time” was by removing me from it and folding the flimsy, static cube in on itself until it had shifted from a cube crawling with the unfathomable shifting patterns of life into a toroidal shape shimmering in the regalia of the Eternal Now.
This is a Torus
There is only one ceremony, and it’s always happening. During this most recent ceremony I was shown that it was inextricably linked to my first ceremony in September. I would open my eyes and be experiencing my first ceremony through/as my past-self in September. This experience connected with and made sense of some of the more obscure visions I had last year apparently because I was experiencing parts of my January ceremony in September.
Brain broken yet? Are you feeling the presence of the infinite cactus-bird king and the divine love of Ayahuasca? Can you feel its giant eye gazing upon your limited view of the world with boundless compassion? Have you given up all hope of understanding a fucking thing in this rambling, drug-addled, boondoggle of a blog post? Well let me bail you out by amending to the ending of this post which is a-wending through the time that we are spending and the veils which I am rending a small review of a book that is a-trending within the magical community I’m attending.
Aiden Wachter’s latest book “Weaving Fate” is exactly the right book for this moment in what we’re misapprehending as linear time. Published 08/31/2020, Weaving Fate outlines three or four practices which, with all of the chaos the air cycle is set to unleash, seem invaluable at this moment. This book seems geared toward beginners in that there are a lot of definitions of fairly basic words and concepts like “liminality” and explaining in great detail why the stories we tell ourselves about our past impact our present and future, which I must admit annoyed the absolute shit out of me when I first picked it up. Full disclosure, I had done a fairly involved Mars working earlier that day and it seems likely, if not certain, that my annoyance could be attributed to the god of war and short fuses. Even with my mounting Martial malcontentment I soldiered on, spurred forward by the scads of glowing reviews from the magical community. And I’m so glad I did. The TEK in this book is well worth the asking price. Basically, Weaving Fate is a step by step manual on creating a better life by fucking with time! This is achieved mainly through a dedicated hypersigil journal (The Black Book) in which we write about future events as if they had just happened, a “visualization” or journeying process (The Corridor) in which we visit our past selves and alter the past by providing love and support and advice or sometimes just a different perspective on, or reaction to, the things which hurt us, and another journeying practice in which we uncover traumas from our past and transmute and reclaim the energy that got stuck there (The Fever Stone). My only real issue with this book is that, because of how fucked up I made my life, I already knew a lot of the practices he outlines for dealing with past trauma. Said another way, this book wasn’t written specifically for me and because I was all maxed out on Mars Milk I got annoyed (boo-hoo). Even the heat of the Forge Master himself wasn’t enough to dissuade me from reading through the whole book in one sitting. Weaving Fate is a well written, informative, massively useful, infinitely accessible, magic book that I highly recommend to practitioners of any skill level or cosmology. Aiden Wachter’s instructions are clear and easy to follow, there is no dogma nor any specific deities necessary to this work, it comes jailbroken for the reader to insert whichever spirits or energies with whom they have an existing relationship. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it before this latest ceremony through a series of nudges from my guides and, as always it was the perfect thing for right now. We have an amazing opportunity in this moment of chaos and fluidity to change our past, change our present, and change our future and Aiden Wachter’s Weaving Fate has everything we need to get started.
I truly love magic books and books on magic, especially ones in which you can actually taste that magic is present, and as such I will likely be including more reviews of my favorites as the year unfolds.
Alright y’all, we did it. That’s all for this week. Stay healthy, stay joyful, and go out and fuck with every bit of time and space that you can get your spirit-fingers on. I’m pretty sure we’re here to have a good time and explore and experience this crazy universe or universe-simulator or whatever-the-fuck this is so, I dunno, go eat some (legal) psychedelics and see what you can do.
This is a Taurus Torus
2020 just couldn’t let us leave it behind without one last fuck you. One last slashing of the tires, brick through the window, flaming pile of dogshit in the passenger seat, a small man reported missing then left bound and gagged in the trunk while it trained a bird to shit on the bridge of your nose, and called your mother and told her that you actually missed thanksgiving to get high with your friends. 2020 ruined the times square ball drop with the fierceness and panache of a lion in platform high heels winning RuPauls drag race by eating half the contestants with its dick tucked.
I’ve never really cared about the NYC NYE nonsense. My early new years eves were spent with my family trying to stay awake while watching the disney channel’s NYE programming and, after I had discovered the blessed anesthesia of drugs, my adolescent and adult New Year’s plans usually consisted of experimenting with said anesthetics. The juxtaposition of wholesome Disney childhood and train spotting adulthood is a solid representation of my life as a whole: my two favorite movies being The Princess Bride and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I was told once that being able to hold two diametrically opposed thoughts in one’s head at the same time was an indication of intelligence or he might have said it was an indication of a chemical imbalance. Who remembers?
Moving on. If any of you missed the absolute Hindenburg that was NYE 2021 live coverage do yourself a favor and click this link and come back.
Now that you’re back or, having already seen the most depressing thing ever because you watched it live, are in the process of setting your hair on fire to cleanse your brain of the nightmares it has induced, let me point out something that struck me as horrifying beyond all reason. There are more wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men celebrating in times square than there are living human beings. When our plastic alien overlords watch whatever footage of this night that survives the great, wiggly uprising they will mark NYE 2021 as the moment that the wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men began their takeover of the USA. Herding the humans into pens and making them wear large madhatter-esque top hats emblazoned with Planet Fitness logos to brand them the property of their capering captors, as the wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-men danced, flailed, and jeered from the sidewalk creating an hilariously impenetrable border.
The few people there were in that human zoo were forced to smile and dance to sad harmonica music and old standards as the cameras panned between a grand total of 25 people over the course of the 5 hours of live coverage from Time Square. Shunning the typical Jock-Jams associated with New Years Eve in fear of provoking their inflatable captors, the music played that night seemed to vacillate between psych-ward-sleepy-time music and a suicidally depressed robot learning to play the harmonica. When the ball dropped, the plastic poo-bahs amped things up by playing the classic Sinatra jam, New York New York, followed by Somewhere over the Rainbow by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole.
The prisoners in their little pens were constantly sprayed with experimental hallucinogens and anti depressants and military grade amphetamines from the wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-gaurds to keep them placid, smiling, and dancing for the cameras. Which, again, had only 25 people to cut to.
Thanks and praise be to our plastic Planet Fitness overlords and their wacky-waving-inflatable-arm-flailing-enforcers. All hail the Boneless Old Gods of Planet Fitness!
Best. New Years. Ever.
Got a quick one for you this week so push in and don’t be shy you delightfully desecrated, semi-sentient, Christmas puddings while I reveal to you the genius that is… Blub Week.
But first, some history; Blub Week, as it is formally recognized today, began as a way to combat the anxiety, pain, anguish, and pre-pubescent, radioactive, roaming scooter gangs of toilet paper pirates that swept through the western world this year. It began, in June I believe, out of sheer exhaustion, having woke up one morning more drained and lethargic than when I had retired the previous night due to the immense and terrible vibes this year shat into its greasy hand and smeared all over everyone's face. On this fateful morning, I shambled from my bed and flopped down next to my equally exhausted, much better looking, wife upon the couch and declared, “I need a Blub Day”, not knowing that Urban Dictionary was well ahead of the game by defining “Blub” as “cute, chubby, or lethargic”.
Throughout the unmitigated diaper-fire that has been 2020, the Blub Day has become a staple of self-care in our household and, being that I am still here clacking on this keyboard and not hanging from a slowly spinning ceiling fan with a needle in my arm, a dick in my hand, and my pants around my ankles , I believe it has been a total success.
So what is Blub Week? The best analogy I can come up with is the week in between Christmas and New Years when I was still in primary school. No school, no schedule, no pressure, just playing with gifts, watching holiday movies, relaxing, and eating leftovers, decompressing from the crushing anxiety of the horrendous, blood orgy that is public school. Blub Week is a week to let go of the stress and bullshit of the year while making room for better things to come. So far it’s been amazing; we’ve ordered in a bunch of great food, hung out with wonderful weirdos, we’ve watched all our favorite Christmas movies at least twice, we’ve played with most of our new toys, we’ve done magic journeys and read tarot cards, and we have made time to heal from the actual trauma of this year and prioritized our wellbeing by rescheduling commitments.
So this year, as a gift to all you beautiful freaks who successfully made it through the weirdest year on record, I offer you Blub Week, the best end of year tradition since human sacrifice went out of style. Take some time to take care of yourselves because the world needs your weird now more than ever.