Sunday, 22 February 2015

The History of Occulted Vectors Part 3: A Londinium Editorial



Continuing our series on the history of Occulted Vectors throughout its decade of intermittent existence, this entry concerns an editorial piece composed by notable contributor Jack Londinium. This first appeared in 1987, during his most active period of involvement with the publication. Written two years prior to his landmark essay Vistas of the Quilphoth, it displays a somewhat more jovial side to his interest in Magick and the Occult.Yet it nonetheless maintains the fortrightness of tone which would endure throughout much of his later writings.

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Encountering the familiar as the unfamiliar. That is magick. Once you’ve gone through all the bullshit of rituals and chanting in dead languages and blowing your mind out with drugs, that’s what it’s all about: encountering the familiar as the unfamiliar. How do you do that? You alter your perspective enough so that you see what you’ve always seen differently. What magick reveals to us was always already there, a world not so much hidden as unnoticed. Magickal practices enhance the senses, open the mind’s eyes (and ears, and mouth, and nose…and skin…) and allow it to register what it has not allowed itself to register before.


Take omens.

Shit happening
Omens are shit, and, as you know, shit happens (how’s that for a latter-day koan?). Suppose the following: you wake up one morning and go outside to get the milk off the step, because even sexy, deviant occultists need something to put in their tea, and you find a dead black cat at your door. Its guts have been ripped out, its blood has splashed over the door and the milk bottles. It’s recent, then, more recent than the milkman. What does it mean?

Black cat=witch. Dead cat=dead witch. I wish you were dead, witch-bitch or I will make you a dead witch-bitch or Watch your back witch, the universe is out to get you today. 

Magick is opening up to this kind of thinking, to ominous thinking. A dead cat is a dead cat, it doesn’t mean anything until you start to think it does. Magickal thinking creates the meaning, assembles it out of events. It’s learning to read the world with a different language.

Dead cats stop just being dead cats, they become symbols. Some symbols map back onto the world better than others. Or, if you prefer, some symbols have clearer meanings than others. Or, if that still doesn’t work for you, sometimes our creative power makes better symbols, sometimes worse ones. An omen is when a symbol maps the world accurately enough to take us by surprise with its clarity.

Magick doesn’t change the world outside of us, all it can do is change us, in that it changes how we allow the world to show itself to us. Magick is always self-directed. The ritual is just externalisation and reinforcement of internal thought processes. Properly understood, there is no difference between writing your problems on a sheet of paper and burning it, and weaving an elaborate curse. In a very real way, magick is the same as magic, it is illusions and trickery, only with magick we’re tricking ourselves.

Frontispiece from The Equinox, O.T.O 
Press, 1919.

The change in perspective that renders the familiar unfamiliar and thus occult can take one of two forms: it is the result of a long process, or a short-circuit. Needless to say, the line between the two can blur: a gradual change can prepare the way for a sudden shock, make us receptive to something that would have passed us by before, or the shock can put us on the path of gradual adjustment. There’s certainly something to be said for the slow-and-steady approach, and you should prepare yourself before you start pissing around with monsters, but…

You’re never really ready. Step 1 is realising that it’s stupid to think of magick in ‘steps’. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if you’ve read the whole of Crowley’s Equinox or you’ve just discovered acid and Robert Anton Wilson. If you just need to hurl yourself at it, or you need feel ‘prepared’, the end result is the same, and can only be described as shattering. That first encounter is like losing your virginity. It’s never what you thought it was going to be, and it probably won’t be comfortable either…

The world is never quite the same after you’ve started with this stuff, because you’re not quite the same. Nor will you ever be.

Power lines become modern ley lines. Traffic lights become a binary opposition of the mythical Green Man and Red Man. The movement of a flock of pigeons takes on divinatory significance. You start doing Gematria with the numbers on your paperwork and credit cards.

Be warned. It’s not for everyone.

 - Jack Londinium



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