It’s a bright, sunny day in early May. Highway 460 is revealing delights I, who grew up along it, have never imagined. Soon-to-be pumpkin patches vie with tiny post offices for our attention. My wife and I are driving nearly two hours, from my empty childhood home, to visit my mother in the hospital. We’ve had a hard few days. I was in the hospital for some routine tests, which came at the end of days of fasting. Yesterday I thought my mother was dying, and we drove over three hours to see her, then two, at midnight, through deer-crossed night roads, to sleep. And we are discussing how lovely and remarkable old gospel music is. This is odd, because I am a vaguely heathen chaos magician and my wife is a Buddhist-flavored atheist.
In this second post, I’ll be writing some more about the magic in the Cattle Raid of Cooley. Last time I wrote about Cúchulainn’s evocation of the waters, as well as the other elements, to help defend a ford from invaders. This time I want to write about when Cúchulainn nearly dies and a fairy comes to help him.
I don’t mean an exhaustive list or anything. I just re-read The Táin and was surprised by a few instances of magic I’d totally forgotten. Both of them involve Cúchulainn in some way. One involves battle and the other healing.
…or how to make a diy ritual when the cookbook won’t do
The Summer Solstice approaches. This should be going out on the day before, but if you live ahead of EDT(US) then you may already be in there. If so, happy solstice! If, like me, you’re still waiting, happy solstice eve! The difficulty with the solar festivals, for me, is how exactly to celebrate them. Halloween, Yule, I know how to celebrate those. So, often, the solstices and equinoxes don’t get the same pomp and circumstance in my house. I wanted to change that this year.
What follows is a transcription of the picture above. In the best sort of magical exploratory way, I wrote through a difficulty contextualizing the Christian figure of Christ in magic. Most deities are specific in their roles. Christ is less so.
I’ve been struggling for years to get back into writing creative stuff — by that I mean poetry, fiction, so on. A friend once said I was one of the most prolific writers he knew, even though he is the most prolific writer I know. I tell you that to tell you this: since I finished my MFA I have completed maybe three short stories, and no poems. Or rather, every so often I will write a poem in the margin of a book or in a journal, but I never consider making it public in some way. This blog post serves as a companion, a non-fiction piece accompanying this poem. You should read it, but you can read this post first if you’d prefer. Or the poem. There’s no set order or anything, is what I’m saying.
Being convinced I play in Memphis.
Therapy -> equations in a computer.
Wife, friend, become a computer.
I knew how he felt about my birthday.
College campus as my own mind.
Gabriel Pomerand -> equations in the answers written here,
this journal this morning – Dad proud of mourning.
A game played in Florence, not Lexington.
The fear of a friend for shooting the two inch hole between rooms.
Wife still in bed as in a blind catechism, unheard unfelt.
Art, equations in Memphis.
Absolute certainty on these roads.
I came back to the fictional.
“Now, that song!”
Moon in Vietnam.
Attempt to write here, this journal this pen, a plastic bag.
The old 50s “atomic” sign.
I ended up memories apurpose.
There is a companion post to this poem here.
We have patterns in our heads. That’s not news, of course. If we didn’t have patterns, we wouldn’t be able to read, or drive a car, or cook a steak. We have instructions, recipes, how-tos, habits, Pavlovian responses, Freudian imaging, Jungian archetypes… We’ve got it all. Our heads are pretty crowded. So let me tell you about granola bars.
Apparently it came as a surprise (at least to someone) when I mentioned, in my about page, that I’m a practicing chaos magician. So. I am. There you are. I’m writing today not to talk about that generally but to talk about the practice of invocation specifically, and how it can be useful to you — as well as how it’s useful to dealing with stories and symbols.
This is probably my last post of 2015. It seems appropriate. I always meant to get around to writing about my dad dying. 2015 was not a great year. Terry Pratchett died. Christopher Lee died. Satoru Iwata died. My rabbit died. Two of my high school friends died. And my dad died. With the sort of vague, ambient irony the universe is sometimes fond of, it’s also the year I got married. But that’s another post. My dad died two months ago — I’m not here to tell you how I “got over it.” I’m just telling you an idea I encountered in the course of my living with it.