Gentlefolk: It is with great honour on this strange day that I announce the birthing of SANCTUM. Mine is the sixth(!) of twelve officially commissioned pieces, but there are 13 voices. In the words of the editors:

“As you follow us into these pages, the path will take you along the wild edges of belief, through the dream-space of myth and down the back alleys of history. A cave mouth stands open: enter it and you may find an entrance to the underworld, a philosopher’s allegory, or a woman who sits in meditation. The book itself becomes a space in which sanctuary is offered to parts of ourselves which we grew up learning to suppress.”

My piece entitled Cripples & Crooked Paths speaks about disability, Norse myth, and landscape.

The book as a whole is DAMN PRETTY. as you can see here. If you want to buy it, then click here.

As the blurb says:

What, if anything, is sacred?’ This is the question that opens SANCTUM, the twelfth Dark Mountain book – and, in the pages that follow, the reader is led along the wild edges of belief, through the dream-space of myth and down the back alleys of history.

The words come from the darkness of Rikers Island jail, where Sara Jolena Wolcott serves as a prison chaplain; from the Burmese monastery of Pa Auk Tawya, where Sayalay Anuttara uses meditation to investigate direct experience; and from a Cumbrian hillside where Craig ‘VI’ Slee’s friends lift his wheelchair over a locked gate to reach the site of an ancient ruin. John Michael Greer confronts the Cthulhucene and contemplates a future in which Man is no longer elevated to the role of deity, while Elizabeth Slade investigates the ‘god-shaped hole’ left by the collapse of institutional religion in much of the West, another set of ruins within which strange possibilities are growing.

Meanwhile, Thomas Keyes has brought together a gang of artists – part monastic scriptorium, part graffiti team – to illuminate the letters of the writers on parchment he has made from the skin of roadkill deer. And the margins of the book are taken over by Sylvia V. Linsteadt and Rima Staines, whose words and images summon the voice of the Sybil of Cumae to offer a commentary on the main text, before claiming the final words with her vision of the cave at the end – and beginning – of the world.

I’m extraordinarily glad to be part of this project, and hope mine and other voices can provoke some deep thoughts in all who hear them.

At a dinner party, there are many dishes and many guests. Conversation flows, along with the drinks, and relationships are formed and re-fomed. This is the metaphor you need to keep in mind for this post, the central axis about the whole thing turns. It’s being front-loaded like this, precisely because it’s something I want you to return to if you’re feeling lost – if you lose the point. Consider it the well-worn path through the forest – a thing of ritual that both strangers and friends may use, made so by long practice.

Do not ignore the fact that a dinner party is the province of the middle and upper classes. Do not ignore that the working class have been getting together and enjoying food and fellowship since time immemorial. Neither should you forget that, in some senses, a dinner party began as highly formalised. There is an etiquette – specialist crockery, cutlery, even sometimes in seating. All these are used to gain particular effects.

I’ll leave it to you to decide what those effects might be.

Nevertheless, every time Gordon brings up Big Table Animism, I have to work through the image of a dinner party. Though it’s an excellent coinage, a dinner party is what the phrase summons, and that’s deliberate. Many of us have little concept of  what a ritualised feast would  be like, after all. The closest we get is Christmas Dinner, or something similar. While for many, it and its equivalents may or may not take place on holy days, as modern Westerners we have few conceptions of ritual feasting  – unless one is say, Catholic and in a neighbourhood filled with folks who are not WASPs.

Sure there’s the Eucharist, a potent ritualised remembrance of a Pesach combined with deity sacrifice. But is it a feast?

feast (n.)Look up feast at Dictionary.comc. 1200, “secular celebration with feasting and entertainment” (often held on a church holiday); c. 1300, “religious anniversary characterized by rejoicing” (rather than fasting), from Old French feste “religious festival, holy day; holiday; market, fair; noise, racket; jest, fun” (12c., Modern French fête), from Vulgar Latin *festa (fem. singular; also source of Italian festa, Spanish fiesta), from Latin festa “holidays, feasts, festal banquets,” noun use of neuter plural of festus “festive, joyful, merry,” related to feriae “holiday” and fanum “temple,” from Proto-Italic *fasno- “temple,” from PIE *dhis-no- “divine, holy; consecrated place,” suffixed form of PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts.

Now, one might rejoice in the Mystery of the Resurrection, but the Old French feste clears things a little: market, fair; noise, racket; jest, fun. These are not genteel things, like Hyacinth Bucket’s “candlelight suppers”.

They are messy, noisy common things. And that commonality does not preclude Mystery, indeed, these are often the periods when the High Wyrd manifests throughout the community. The dinner party is for a select few, carefully invited. Even if those invited are merely family and friends, merely a group connected by occupation or acquaintance, the host invites  them to the table. That invite might be a religious initiation, a passphrase, an accident of birth, etc, but it is still there.

The reason the dinner party metaphor works is because all those invited are still small sections of the population. Monoculture as whole will not permit a feast,  a noisy festive, fuzzy, barbarous expression of irrational and primal urges.

It’s interesting to me that Gordon wrote the post that inspired this one, and that I’m writing, during the  Notting Hill Hill Carnival.  A famous celebration of London’s vibrant multiculturalism – arising out of attempts to deal with race-relations combining with street festivals. In its early years, and up until 1987, the police were severely antagonistic towards it, before taking a more conciliatory approach. Today, in 2017, the Guardian is running articles that the carnival is ‘unsafe‘ and about police crackdowns in the run-up to this event. But this kind of thing is nothing new:

“Carnival is not alien to British culture. Bartholomew Fair and Southwark Fair in the 18th century were moments of great festivity and release. There was juggling, pickpocketing, whoring, drinking, masquerade — people dressed up as the Archbishop of Canterbury and indulged in vulgar acts. It allowed people a space to free-up but it was banned for moral reasons and for the antiauthoritarian behaviour that went on like stoning of constables. Carnival allowed people to dramatise their grievances against the authorities on the street… Notting Hill Carnival single-handedly revived this tradition and is a great contribution to British cultural life.” – Professor David Dabydeen

As Gordon points out:

“It’s even worse among the Frenchies, of course. You get caught up in the Paris trap of Latour and the like: Turning your telephone into a scary monster, fetishising the ‘primitive’ yet finding spirits too icky so pretending you’re doing the opposite, making everything a natural-cultural hybrid so no one can disagree with you and still somehow end up with something that looks like the secular republic: ‘political animism as hyper-rationalism’. It’s idiotic at this point, held together only by its self-justification that everything can be a hybrid so anything goes. Over-written jibber-jabber. (Shout out to Dr Clever: This is the origin of Ingold’s suspicion of the hybrid, I surmise.) What are the hyper-rational, animist politics of the Fatima Incident?”

Earlier in the week, I got into this on tumblr, with Mother the Ever-AnimateExcept in my case, it wasn’t a telephone, but the keyboard I’m writing this on:

“You don’t have to “believe” in spirits to understand that all objects are capable of conjuring experience within human neurology when we interface with them. But what our enculturated epistemological frame has done is excise 95% of those felt-senses.by saying it is impossible for the interface between so-called “ordinary” objects and humans to generate meaningful felt-sense-experience.

To say “my laptop is alive” invites ridicule, because people naturally assume this is some kind of anthropomorphism. The laptop is patently not human.

This is anthropocentric reductionism and “inanimism” at it its finest.

But, if we approach the laptop, openly, pathically – in a state where we are open to all felt-sense-experiencesof it, then the ‘ordinary’ object becomes capable, within that context of conjuring, of Being itself.

If we managed to break free of the enculturation, all objects – all phenomena would be capable, would be revealed as enchanting us. That is, we are ensorcelled by our world; we act and react in response to it, though we know not why, because we have been *trained out* of the idea that the things we interact with act on us

[…]

As I type this now, opening myself to the felt-sense-totality of typing on this keyboard, I realise I am experiencing a charge of sort, an electric thrill, not unlike the moment you brush a lover’s hand for the first time – subtle tightening of the throat, subtle hair-raising of the scalp, the tingle in the spine.

There is something akin to desire there, to continue the complexity of the interaction. A feeling of being drawn in further, into a world of electric sparks and living plastic, metal and stone. Not human, not complex, but along with this, the knowledge of all the things we have created together, this keyboard and I – a desire to continue such conjurings.

Some might say I am projecting human emotions onto the keyboard – I disagree. I am not projecting. Rather I am experiencing, feeling, knowing. Sheer imagination though detractors might call it, nonetheless it has a biophysical effect on me, and as I go deeper, those sensations become richer, stranger – transporting me to a world where my sense of self is constantly being impressed-upon-and-impressing-on all phenomena.”

 

Now, you might read this and  wonder if I’m saying that my keyboard has a spirit. Actually, I’m not. What I’m describing above is a method of interaction with the kosmos. Some folks have replied to the original post questioning whether the keyboard is truly answering back or not – if it has a volition of its own. Here’s where we get technical, because an answer can come, even if there is no-one there to give it – it is the attitude of question which generates answer. In an interaction, the inter portion occurs through the action.

Technically the keyboard is a monster – in its original sense of portal, or marker, sign of divinity. But it’s not a hybrid – not two things slapped together, to make another.  It is its own thing, allowing “[T]he recognition of semiosis, language and communication in the ‘beyond the human’ world” as Gordon puts it.

It’s sort of like my shewstone, or ouija-board in a sense, a constructed thing that allows me to write thousands upon thousands of words, some of which, I admit, have been written when my consciousness was capable of communicating with ‘beyond the human world’. In the right state of mind, it becomes a ritual tool.

But it’s not a spirit, because animism isn’t simply saying that everything has a spirit. An individual or group engaging in animistic realpolitik recognises that:

  1.  The anthropocentric view appears very, very wrong.
  2.  There are other Beings or wights which are capable of thought, action and communication. These three things may, or may  sometimes very much not be like the human versions.
  3. Ockham’s Razor is like bringing a knife to a gunfight – any reductionism you apply will be shot full of holes by the Kosmos at large and any inhabitant you attempted to reduce to your map. Probably with a weird-looking AK-47, because those things are everywhere
  4. Understand that, not only is the map not the territory, you’re making it as a security blanket, investing it with talismanic power. Recognising this has its uses, but ultimately, it’s only a security blanket.
  5.  Relationships and pacts are not only useful but are in fact essential. Humans are not only social animals, we are daemonically social.

That daemonic sociability is fairly obvious in a carnival. Think of the masks, the floats with their effigies, the music, the dancing – all the things that Archontic forces would want to reduce, make ‘safe’. Think of the press of bodies, the rhythms. Think yes, of the psychoactive properties of them, of the drugs consumed on the sly, the offerings made, the entheogens interfacing with nervous systems.

Think of them, and then think of that route into the forest, I mentioned.

The politik part of animistic realpolitik is important here:

politic (adj.)Look up politic at Dictionary.comearly 15c., “pertaining to public affairs,” from Middle French politique “political” (14c.) and directly from Latin politicus “of citizens or the state, civil, civic,” from Greek politikos “of citizens, pertaining to the state and its administration; pertaining to public life,” from polites “citizen,” from polis “city” (see polis). Replaced in most adjectival senses by political. From mid-15c. as “prudent, judicious.”

polis (n.)Look up polis at Dictionary.com“ancient Greek city-state,” 1894, from Greek polisptolis “citadel, fort, city, one’s city; the state, community, citizens,” from PIE *tpolh- “citadel; enclosed space, often on high ground, hilltop” (source also of Sanskrit purpuram, genitive purah “city, citadel,” Lithuanian pilis “fortress”).

The high ground, the enclosed space – the body that is recognised as itself, the state as entity. All of these, at root, both imply the need for sociability, community, affairs of state. But such things cannot happen in isolation. The structure of the polis must, occasionally, with deliberate spontaneity (not actually a contradiction) come to resemble what is beyond it.

beyond (prep., adv.)Look up beyond at Dictionary.comOld English begeondan “on the other side of, from the farther side,” from be- “by,” here probably indicating position, + geond “yonder” (prep.); see yond. A compound not found elsewhere in Germanic. From late 14c. as “further on than,” 1530s as “out of reach of.” To be beyond (someone) “to pass (someone’s) comprehension” is by 1812.

yon (adj., pron.)Look up yon at Dictionary.comOld English geon “that (over there),” from Proto-Germanic *jaino- (source also of Old Frisian jen, Old Norse enn, Old High German ener, Middle Dutch ghens, German jener, Gothic jains “that, you”), from PIE pronominal stem *i- (source also of Sanskrit ena-, third person pronoun, anena “that;” Latin idem“the same,” id “it, that one;” Old Church Slavonic onu “he;” Lithuanian ans “he”). As an adverb from late 15c., a shortening of yonder.

The forest has roots and branches, an ecology all its own. There are in fact, many paths. Many ways to navigate it. You could even cut yourself a new one, but in doing so, you might get lost, or irritate one of the inhabitants. Creatures once confined to its environs might enter your city, as you encroach on their habitat, and thus change the polis‘ ecology.

But if we investigate the carnival route, the spontaneously generated, well-worn path, what do we find but a method of engaging with the Forest which it allows – for that well worn path was begun that way, very often, because there was a pre-existing route – where the difficulty gradient of travel was, if not easier, then had less complications.

BTA is, in a sense a coming-to-terms, with our own daemonic sociability. It is easy to say, well yes, humans are wights, are spirits too. But beyond that? Its implications and consequences are massive, philosophically, morally, and existentially. If one is able to summon spirits, to bind or make pacts with them, then what does that say about us? Are we operating, functioning through habitual behaviours due to the interconnections of our daemonic sociability – peculiarly contoured due to pacts made and interactions had by our ancestors, by those in our locations?

Have our cultures evolved in response, not just to ancient and modern environmental and physicalist ecologies, but to those we might call spiritual? Do we act and react in response to localised and ancient animistic realpolitik? 

If we suppose this is so, beyond Western New Age misinterpretations of karma, are we, as living entities, active or passive  participants in the Pandaemonium?

There is a sixth rule which should be borne in mind by those engaging in animistic realpolitik:

6. There is no such thing as being in control. There is only the possibility of negotiation

In Mama’s Carnival, the rules are very real. But they evolve out of politik-al expediency, custom, and experimentation.

Mother’s Words

This blog isn’t dead, y’know? Neither am I – just missing half a foot, expertly removed by a team of surgeons led by a South Asian-extracted flesh-wizard whose last name means doing/getting. The health problems that have plagued me, apparently solved by skill with the knife. The name seems a little on the nose, if you ask me.

And people talk about the death of the blogosphere, whatever that means. Everyone seems to have an email newsletter of some sort, something that isn’t necessarily automatically public. You have to subscribe, write your name on the line – sign below or in the form field. Make your pact, make your exchange.

Not surprising, given the sympathies between communications. commerce, and magic:

(Will the real bird-headed, staff-bearing, magician exemplar please stand up?)

I’m not dead, and the blog isn’t either, because this was never just a blog – never just a poorly updated personal website.. It was, and is, a public interface point for the concept of COLD ALBION. Albion-as-island; an island in the North, that gave rise to myth and legend. A land stuffed full of gods and  spirits and crazed magicians. Cold, because it is a cold medium in McLuhan’s sense; it requires engagement, interfacing-with. Only by that do we begin to understand, does it begin to come-forth.

concept (n.) Look up concept at Dictionary.com1550s, from Medieval Latin conceptum “draft, abstract,” in classical Latin “(a thing) conceived,” from concep-, past participle stem of concipere “to take in” (see conceive). In some 16c. cases a refashioning of conceit (perhaps to avoid negative connotations).

conceit (n.) Look up conceit at Dictionary.comlate 14c., “something formed in the mind, thought, notion,” from conceiven (see conceive) based on analogy of deceit and receipt. Sense evolved from “something formed in the mind,” to “fanciful or witty notion” (1510s), to “vanity” (c. 1600) through shortening of self-conceit (1580s).

conceive (v.) Look up conceive at Dictionary.comlate 13c., conceiven, “take (seed) into the womb, become pregnant,” from stem of Old French conceveir (Modern French concevoir), from Latin concipere (past participle conceptus) “to take in and hold; become pregnant,” from com-, intensive prefix (see com-), + comb. form of capere “to take,” from PIE root *kap- “to grasp.” Meaning “take into the mind” is from mid-14c., a figurative sense also found in the Old French and Latin words. Related: Conceived; conceiving.

As a concept COLD ALBION is where I take in the experience of existence on-and-with this island, and bring forth that which is born of the conception. In that sense, I give birth, I bring forth language, poetry, myth and memory:

What is knowledge to a pre-literate culture, but that which is held by memory; brought forth, shared-between, and returned? Rain falls, returning to the rivers, seas, and streams from which it evaporated. It wells up from the deep places to be hoisted to the heavens, only to drain back down, drawn by gravity to the centre of all things.

I am not dead, and neither is the blog. My mother is though.

She died, on the 29th of January 2017, in the ward next to mine, at 9:30 am. I’d been hoisted out of bed to see her, in the middle of the night, because we knew she wouldn’t make it. I spent four hours by her bedside, and she was unresponsive. I was in pain from the surgery – it had only been 5 days since the operation, after all.  Next month would have been her 63rd birthday.

Everything dies, and everyone is mortal- at best they become unrecognisable as themselves. They become other things, people and places.

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well

Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead

My Mother is now Memory. Memory is Mother.

I remember, she gave me words, held me close. Gave me language, told me stories. Handed me The Hobbit, introduced me to Asimov and Clarke, to Spock and Kirk, Picard, and of course the Doctor. She gave me the wandering wizards. When I was older, I gave her Rivers of London and others. Back and forth, forth and back – the weavings of a life well-lived. Though she died at 62, her lungs were just over 40, fruit of a rainslick-road – a motorcyclist’s gift.

Memory is Mother. Mother is Memory.

Within my blood, I carry her, within my bones. Within my heart and head, though she be amongst the dead. She carried me on her hip, in her womb. It is now my time to carry her, to bear her in my body, and to bring her forth when required.

I’m not dead, but neither am I as I was – for the knife cuts, but it does not heal. it is is not the thing that makes-whole. That is the body itself; bleeding, binding, pulsing. Electric arc along nerve, pumping wave of particles diffusing along concentration gradients, fluids dissolving, flowing solutions burning with the light of a hidden sun.

I’m not dead, but neither am I as I was – I am undergoing physiotherapy, orthotic and prosthetic appointments. I will need a new wheelchair. All these, before I am independent and functional – and I am at the mercy of those who can provide them. I have no idea when they are likely to happen, until they do. In this, I am a victim.

Many might deride this status – accuse one of running a so-called victim-script. The pernicious idea that we can and should be able to control our destinies absolutely, whether through magical or mundane means, that we might rise from the realm of the oppressed into the realm of the Archons? This reveals that a terrible con – a confidence trick – has been perpetrated on humanity as a whole.

con (adj.) Look up con at Dictionary.com“swindling,” 1889, American English, from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of “assurance based on insufficient grounds” dates from 1590s.

confidence (n.) Look up confidence at Dictionary.comearly 15c., from Middle French confidence or directly from Latin confidentia, from confidentem (nominative confidens) “firmly trusting, bold,” present participle of confidere “to have full trust or reliance,” from assimilated form of com, here probably an intensive prefix (see com-), + fidere “to trust” (see faith). For sense of “swindle” see con (adj.).

faith (n.) Look up faith at Dictionary.commid-13c., faith, feith, fei, fai “faithfulness to a trust or promise; loyalty to a person; honesty, truthfulness,” from Anglo-French and Old French feid, foi “faith, belief, trust, confidence; pledge” (11c.), from Latin fides “trust, faith, confidence, reliance, credence, belief,” from root of fidere “to trust,” from PIE root *bheidh- “to trust” (source also of Greek pistis “faith, confidence, honesty;” see bid). For sense evolution, see belief. Accommodated to other English abstract nouns in -th (truth, health, etc.).

From early 14c. as “assent of the mind to the truth of a statement for which there is incomplete evidence,” especially “belief in religious matters” (matched with hope and charity). Since mid-14c. in reference to the Christian church or religion; from late 14c. in reference to any religious persuasion.

And faith is neither the submission of the reason, nor is it the acceptance, simply and absolutely upon testimony, of what reason cannot reach. Faith is: the being able to cleave to a power of goodness appealing to our higher and real self, not to our lower and apparent self. [Matthew Arnold, “Literature & Dogma,” 1873]From late 14c. as “confidence in a person or thing with reference to truthfulness or reliability,” also “fidelity of one spouse to another.” Also in Middle English “a sworn oath,” hence its frequent use in Middle English oaths and asseverations (par ma fay, mid-13c.; bi my fay, c. 1300). 

The trick is this: that those Archons, those with power to move the world in certain ways, are masters, or rulers at all.  That the criteria for being what they claim is even correct. In good faith, we see these gleaming towers, these bundles of cash, the guns, bombs, and armies, and we think we see Masters. So, we must ask, who told us what Archons were, who told us “These are who you should aspire to be, in this way.” Who told us that they, and the way they do things, is even legitimate?

Who indeed?

What separates the Archon from the Victim? Wealth and power, is the obvious answer. The ability to have one’s needs met without effort, perhaps? Without suffering?

victim (n.) Look up victim at Dictionary.comlate 15c., “living creature killed and offered as a sacrifice to a deity or supernatural power,” from Latin victima “person or animal killed as a sacrifice.” Perhaps distantly connected to Old English wig “idol,” Gothic weihs “holy,” German weihen “consecrate” (compare Weihnachten “Christmas”) on notion of “a consecrated animal.” Sense of “person who is hurt, tortured, or killed by another” is recorded from 1650s; meaning “person oppressed by some power or situation” is from 1718. Weaker sense of “person taken advantage of” is recorded from 1781.

To whom is the victim sacrificed, how is it set apart? What is it set apart from?   Marked by difference, it is no longer subject to the same rules as everyone else. It must move, it must be in a different way to the rest of the herd – even, and especially if, that being  requires a different way of living and dying. Protections may be removed from it, or taboos and prohibitions might be applied.

I am a cripple with half a foot, who has lost virtually all his physical strength, is physiologically dependent on painkillers, who sleeps in his livingroom in a hospital bed because the hoist won’t fit his real bed, and whose partner has been sleeping on the sofa since  he came home from the hospital in February. It takes two people to get me up and put me to bed every morning and every night. I say this, not as a tale of woe. I do not want pity or sympathy, though I spent a year in agony as my foot [WARNING: following links contain grim photos] ulcerated, wept blood, and blackened before amputation – nerves screaming all the while.

I am now pain free thanks to painkillers, whereas before, I was still waking in the night screaming.

I personally know people who are in worse states than I – people whose daily lives I can barely imagine – and they survive. We live in such a way as to be living markers of what can happen to anyone. Even with the best medical care in the world, there is still the suffering, the pain.

There is still the disruption – the anomalous, the Black Swan that even the greatest cannot prepare for – a Great Flood that drowns all but a few. Those waters are more than a memory, they are Memory. The flood, the surge, the tide which swallows all into solution, dissolves it, makes everything part of it,

The waters are all-encompassing.

In ancient times, offerings were consigned to the place where the waters dissolved the solidity of the land; marshes, pools and rivers. In others, they were burnt, scent and ashes  rising up, only to fall again.

Where is the fire then? Where is that which causes those all-encompassing waters to rise, and by what power do they fall?

But that’s because they don’t understand language. They think words are things, that vocabulary is like a word-hoard full of pretty shiny baubles you can pick up and put down. They have forgotten the root of language. Forgotten that it’s made, brewed in the body and brought forth by the light of blood.

The above is part of something I wrote a week or so ago – the first thing that gripped me, that came forth without weariness. Because language comes from the body, from arrangements of it in particular ways as we respond to sensory experience, consciously and unconsciously. It is endless – experience generates a response experience which generates yet more…

Are we looking for a First Cause then? An igniter of the Primal Fire? A Luciferian, or Promethean figure?

Where and when did I stop being part of my mother? When did the chemical fire, the combustion of life become my own? Was it when I began to strangle, to choke as I hanged myself on the umbilicus? As the rope of nerve fibre and veins began to damage my brain through lack of oxygen? Was it when the surgeon sliced down and opened that womb to the world?

Was the knife, again, my FIAT LUX? My illumination by cutting?

All these questions are rhetorical devices, yes, but they are also genuine. Is this knife-gnosis, the knowing of the blade that separates?

In ancient times folk would consult an oracle, but all I have is me, here and now. And so we say that my mother is now Memory, and Memory is Mother. As we are conceived, so we are taken into the body,  and fused with that body. It, not we is the catalyst. Yet it is the interface betwixt us and the catalyst, which creates – that which brings forth.

So it is, that COLD ALBION acts upon us if we let it – language transmitting experience to be received. Such transmissions to be incubated in the flesh; ideas, oracles and images. Seed-syllables scattered hither and yon, waiting for fertile soil, deep dark earth. Engage with that which lies behind the words – see what happens to that which is left behind when the phoenix burns, that which emerges intact from the flaming waters.

As this island has nourished and shaped me, beyond all conception of race, nationality, or political boundary, so it lies quiet until you render yourself hospitable to it:

hospitable (adj.) Look up hospitable at Dictionary.com“kind and cordial to strangers or guests,” 1560s, from Middle French hospitable, which is formed as if from a Medieval Latin hospitabilis, from the stem of Latin hospitari “be a guest,” from hospes (genitive hospitis) “guest” (see host (n.1)). The Latin adjective was hospitalis, but this became a noun in Old French and entered English as hospital. Related: Hospitably

host (n.1) Look up host at Dictionary.com“person who receives guests,” especially for pay, late 13c., from Old French oste, hoste “guest, host, hostess, landlord” (12c., Modern French hôte), from Latin hospitem (nominative hospes) “guest, stranger, sojourner, visitor (hence also ‘foreigner’),” also “host; one bound by ties of hospitality.”

This appears to be from PIE *ghos-pot-, a compound meaning “guest-master” (compare Old Church Slavonic gospodi “lord, master,” literally “lord of strangers”), from the roots *ghosti- “stranger, guest, host” (source also of Old Church Slavonic gosti “guest, friend;” see guest (n.)) and *poti- “powerful; lord” (see potent). The etymological notion is of someone “with whom one has reciprocal duties of hospitality” [Watkins]:

The word ghos-ti- was thus the central expression of the guest-host relationship, a mutual exchange relationship highly important to ancient Indo-European society. A guest-friendship was a bond of trust between two people that was accompanied by ritualized gift-giving and created an obligation of mutual hospitality and friendship that, once established, could continue in perpetuity and be renewed years later by the same parties or their descendants. [Watkins, “American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots”]

My mother gave me words, and much more besides. She was my origin, and in return I shall carry her til the end, for there are some gifts which may never be repaid. She is now amongst all the mothers of Memory, all the way back to Before and After all things. Mum and island, dissolving into one. Assuming new shapes, new currents, in my blood and breath and bone.

And while the Knife marks boundary, eventually, it heals – it becomes part of the whole, while different.

A scar, a stump, a mound: all beacons, all signs, arrangements in the landscape.  Made by those who experience that landscape, to bring forth more; to become mediums and hosts to that which emerges. To gift it an eye, and receive Sight in return.

To make the pact of body and mind, to make oneself host to the Stranger, the wanderer, the alien God not of this bounded world – to be the gift that demands the gift by virtue of its existence alone.

This is how to speak Mother’s words.

Gnostic Infidels?

The Greek word pistis is not at all what we understand by believing; it means the loyalty to the fact of the experience. – Carl Jung

Pistis is also translated as faith, which is in the sense of being faithful. Having faith in a deity is being faithful to the fact of their existence, which is to say maintaining a status wherein whatever happens, one orients one’s existence in relation to that fact, like a planet around a sun.

Contrast this with Gnosis “knowing” which is not related to fidelity, faithfulness, or loyalty. To experience Gnosis is to partake of that existence and to be changed by it.

Those with Pistis are like ships or aeroplanes finding their way by constantly following the signal beacon which will lead them home to safe harbour. But the pistis is not ‘for’ the purpose of gaining safe harbour – it is loyalty to the signal’s fact, wherever it might lead, even if that be rocks.

The Gnostic is different; they are become a beacon in their own right, becoming aware by their knowing-of, of that which surrounds them. Their loyalty, their fidelity renders them aware of the duty they bear to themselves – the signal-lineage they carry – and its consequent  implication that they alone must chart their course, must orientate themselves completely by themselves.

This Kosmic Aloneness drives some Gnostics to wish to flee the world; this Nocturnal, oceanic all encompassing space seems to them to be smothering with its protean plasticity, its endless, all encompassing, and cloying touch. To them, this noisome and cacophonous Pandemonium is a prison.  They would seek a Pleroma where all is Signal, and noise never existed.

But there are others for whom the activation of the beacon within them, the lighting of the very blood itself, produces ecstasy – who are seized by that same furor, that daemoniac frenzy.

To those enthused, that darkness is as to wine, a rich draught which brings us into the embrace of the Mother of All, bejewelled and garlanded as  the dance of existence continues.

All-encompassing, All-infusing. Lover and Beloved; the Kosmos in all Hir play of form and absence. Origin and terminus.

Inescapable. The indomitable muse of all creativity. Wisdom itself.

Sophia. 

(Queens of Heavens and Hells. Lost souls begging you not to look back.

There, in Endless Night, we find the pulse and the polarity. Ten Thousand Tricksters, A Multiplicity of Madmen & Magicians, the Hunters Who Are Hunted.

Hear them sing, hear them roar – drunk now – Would you know yet more?)

“Darkness preceded Light – She is Mother.”

For those Gnostics of which we speak, that Matrix does not imprison, but instead brings-forth. 

Poiesis.

Mother and Child. A primordial Mystery.

Think on that, perhaps.

Cast Down and Raised Up

gobekli

This is probably going to get me a lot of trouble, and probably get me lumped in with the so-called “Piety Posse”of polytheists and magical types who I often violently disagree with, but I need to say this:

There’s a tendency I’ve noticed within the neopagan, magical, and polytheist communities on tumblr and the occult blogosphere – but also offline and on other platforms.

What is this tendency, I hear you ask?

It is, quite simply the tendency to automatically privilege the corporeal over the non corporeal. Because somewhere inside is the subconscious assumption that we can either a) remain inviolate and unaffected by incorporeal things or b) It’s all in the mind and we should be able to somehow ‘control’ our minds.

It’s like the assumption that words can’t hurt you, because they’re only words – when several millennia of war and hatred whipped up against one’s neighbor puts a lie to that.

Now, I can see a legion of people with active spiritual lives nodding their heads here, not to mention those who have intimate connections with gods or spirits, whether that be physically or otherwise.

But if I write the statement that, as an example, runs: People are more important than noncorporeal spirits then something interesting happens.

Because if I write that statement in a piece on spiritual discernment, those people I mention will be there, sagely nodding. Yet, if I write the above example in a piece about dealing with making sacrifices or offerings to one’s gods and spirits, and I suggest that cooking a large meal and then leaving it by the crossroads for the gods/wights/spirits is a waste, and one would be better off donating to a charity?

In that case I suspect many would get hot under the collar, wouldn’t they? After all, how dare I tell them how to practice their religion. How dare I position myself as gatekeeper over the methods by which they interact with their patrons!

Yet, if I wrote that in an article, and swapped out People for Animals then I’d risk the ire of several spiritist religions who perform animal sacrifices. Likewise, if I wrote: Non corporeal spirits are more important than people I would risk the ire of many folk; have messages and rebuttals thrown at me from all directions, from various quarters, not least from those who have suffered abuse by spirits or by so-called religious authorities. Perhaps I’d even be ‘called out’ on it for all the racism and atrocities committed in the name of non-corporeal beings, because actually they’re not real, they’re like, archetypes.

Perhaps, aye.

(Seriously, go and look up what Jung actually meant when he used the term. Really.)

Yet, for all the possibilities and difficulties associated with both versions of the example, we can see that context subtly shifts where the weight of communicated intent lies.

Of course it does – context is king. Blanket statements are by their nature designed to cover all eventualities. A world run on such axioms will soon come unstuck, purely because the actuality of existence is more important and more complex.

So, here is where I lay it on the line, so to speak. You see, it has been my experience that, while human perception is an imperfect metric for judging so-called ‘objective reality’, it seems as if the basis of existence arises out of the interactions between what we have we have previously and perhaps erroneously referred to as non-corporeal spirits.

To boil down the previous mouthful of a paragraph:

Everything we experience appears to be the result of and addition to, the interaction of entities we call spirits/daimones/wights (including gods therein).

Note that this does not, in fact, exclude people. People are wights too:

wight (n.) Old English wiht “living being, creature, person; something, anything,” from Proto-Germanic *wihti- (source also of Old Saxon wiht “thing, demon,” Dutchwicht “a little child,” Old High German wiht “thing, creature, demon,” German Wicht “creature, little child,” Old Norse vettr “thing, creature,” Swedishvätte “spirit of the earth, gnome,” Gothic waihts “something”), from PIE *wekti- “thing, creature” (source also of Old Church Slavonic vešti “a thing”).

Nor does it privilege one particular origin/creation narrative over another. In an Ensouled or animist kosmos, this also means that not only can the four(five?) fundamental forces of physics co-exist with Ymir’s dismemberment, or Qingu’s victory over Tiamat without contradiction, subatomic particles may happily co-exist with maggots-turned-dwarves.

Wights come in a variety of shapes – a variety of forms. Some have skin and hair, others bark and leaf, others are composed of energy fields which when they interact with humans, conjures sensory experience.

In an Ensouled kosmos, the keyboard I am typing on is not “dumb matter” – it exists on multiple levels. The electrons in the molecules of plastic which make up the keys interact with the electrons in the molecules of my fingertips in response to nervous impulses from my brain tensing muscle and tendon – thus is pressure produced.

The plastic itself is a child of the Earth – oil drawn up and polymers arranged just so by the firing neurons of a human mind which designed the machines which give it form. That same plastic is mated with metal, also drawn from Earth, while electrical impulses are converted to radio which is received by my computer, appearing here on the screen. And so on and so on for every object in my room, in my house, in my block, in my town, in my county, in my country, in the soil of my land once again.

And thus you see – not “dumb” matter at all, but myriad paths to recognise; multplicities of action and interaction.

In an Ensouled kosmos, we learn to recognise myriad ways of Being and Becoming. Rather than crude anthropomorphism, we instead open ourselves up to non-human Beingness, and in doing so cannot privilege our form as being more moral or better than another. We must accept that even categorical, axiomatic morality is contextual.

By acknowledging multiplicities, we are no longer hidebound, we are free to say that our morality is not handed to us passively, but by wilful agreement amongst ourselves.

In an Ensouled kosmos, what we conceive of as ourselves is enlarged to a huge, almost terrifying degree. For we are no longer individuals but multiplicities also. Mind and body entwined, together with our ancestors, the land on and in which we dwell, the food we eat, the water we drink and bathe in. All tied together, part knot part interference pattern, we interact-with, and are inter-acted-with. By necessity, in almost a direct confrontation with post modernity, our contact with other wights informs our morality – even going so far as to consult being older and potentially wiser than we.

(As a Heathen, who I am is influenced, not only by my daily life but interactions with my ancestors, spirits and gods. I am composed of all those interactions).

I not only becomes We, but also emerges from We.

In an Ensouled kosmos, I only exists for a moment – for that single duration in localised spacetime – as an event, an Image. We, on the other hand, while constantly coming together and breaking apart, is capable of appearing in all times and all places.

We is eternal – it can exist for ten thousand years, seemingly vanish from sight, only to re-emerge again in a new shape, composed of new body, new blood.

I dies constantly, only to be reborn in the next moment; it emerges from the Fire upon the Deep for the space of a breath, then sinks down again.

But through that unique manifestation of I, one can enter into the realm of an eternal re-Imagining. We are constantly refreshed, made new by that which makes us.

Creation is ongoing.

The sacred reality depicted in myth informs us and shapes us whether we like it or not. Myth-as-Image draws us into that space of Creation, infuses us with living vitality, which we bring forth by story, song, ritual and art.

Those wights we call spirits are part of the ecology of existence. Just like a bear is part of an ecology, and we do not say a person is more important than a bear, automatically, do we?

If this were so, there would be no nature preserves.

Yet even the foregoing resembles a paper tiger, designed to evoke a commodified sense of wilderness.

Instead, might we not say that Earthquakes are part of the ecology of California or Japan?

If this be so, then certainly the assertion that People are more important than earthquakes is ridiculous. Japan at least recognizes this, and builds so called earthquakeproof buildings on rollers.

Because the moment when an earthquake hits is inescapably, brutally real. You just have to ride it out, and see where you end up.

I find myself wondering how many in the neopagan/magical/polytheist community have ever felt that. Like an Earthquake sure, if you’re lucky you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off, maybe file an insurance claim and use it as an anecdote in the future.

But in the moment? It’s inescapable and social rankings and morality are the furthest thing from your mind. Thought vanishes and there is only Being.

How many even truly dare heal the split between mind and body, between song and rain, fire and wind? Far too few, I suspect.

And that, strangely enough, is why and how things like Fascism and Communism fail, where individuality is subsumed by the State or Nation. Because the State is not eternal, and actively resists changing shape and form. The Nazis committed horrific crimes in the name of purity, not realising that the very thing they sought was impossible, being only a momentary temporary thing born of maximum variety. Emerging from it, by Necessity. By nature messy, organic, and virtually, if not completely impossible to predict.

When they tried to turn Nietzsche’s work into a pro-Nazi rallying cry, they misunderstood the nature of the Ubermensch – he was never achievable for Man, because man is the bridge. When Hitler suggested that the best, the most pure, were those who were capable of overcoming, the unstoppable pure,untouched elite, what was forgotten is that Overcoming is but half – the other is Being Overcome.

But Being Overcome does not mean submission – not kowtowing. Rather, it is being seized, enthused.

Raised up and Cast Down. As real as blood. As real as bone. As real as breath

enthusiasm (n.) c. 1600, from Middle French enthousiasme (16c.) and directly from Late Latin enthusiasmus, from Greek enthousiasmos “divine inspiration, enthusiasm (produced by certain kinds of music, etc.),” from enthousiazein “be inspired or possessed by a god, be rapt, be in ecstasy,” from entheos “divinely inspired, possessed by a god,” from en “in” (see en- (2)) + theos “god” (see theo-). Acquired a derogatory sense of “excessive religious emotion through the conceit of special revelation from God” (1650s) under the Puritans.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of furious inspiration the Ensouled kosmos brings to me, rather than any Puritanical disparagement. And if you’re going to argue that’s not ‘Real’ enough to affect you, but the news is – well then I feel deeply sorry for you!

wheelchaircrap

This came to my attention earlier, on this scorching hot day in Albion. So as my first faltering steps towards Occult Uncle (Agony)1234 , here’s my slightly sweaty response to a rather important question that’s close to my heart:

So I’m curious, how does a person with physical disabilities perform movement intensive rituals like the LBRP or Pyramidos? I get that these can be performed astrally, but are there methodologies that can make these rites accessible for the physically disabled?

Short answer? Do the bits you can, and then work on sensory control so you can feel/see/hear yourself doing it with 90% ‘reality’ (the number is arbitrary. There’ll come a point when it ‘clicks’ and you’ll know)

Long Answer:

I’ve not done Pyramidos myself, but have used the LRBP and use the following technique myself as a physically disabled wheelchair user for various rites, and it seems to work:

Do this, [the bits you can] repeatedly, even if you don’t get results the first few times. I’m talking about doing it your temple space, not astrally. The point is to connect the body as much as you can. Do it on multiple occasions, even if you don’t get contact

After a ‘bit’ (a handwavy period of time) after those repetitions, you’ll get some kind of spirit contact. That is when, quite bluntly, you ask the spirit(s) what to do to improve contact.  They will usually give you some tweaks. Then you run the rite with the tweak, asking again. Repeat as many times as needed.

After a bit, (lovely time period, innit) when said spirits are satisfied with things you should have a workable rite that’s viable for you and they, even if there are significant changes made to the original.

Now, the reason I say run said rites ‘as much as you can/are able, then fill in with Imaginal fill-ins’? I think it’s Josephine McCarthy who has said (and I’m paraphrasing) that the ritual begins the moment you decide to do it.

Now, I could quote you some studies on psi, or even current neurology which suggests that decisions and actions are begun before we are consciously aware of it. I could do that rather than waffle about ‘the power of intent’, and I probbaly should, but here I will say something perhaps a little heretical to acertain brand of chaos magician:

MAGICAL INTENT IS BULLSHIT. 

Those Statements of Intent? Mean next to nothing. They’re just focusing tools for your consciousness. Intent has no oomph, no impetus at all. It’s just backward rationalization.

Now, apologies to Josephine MCarthy if I’m misunderstood/misquoted her ideas, because I’m sure it seems like I’ve just contradicted myself. After all, if Magical Intent Is Bullshit, then how can I say that the ritual begins the moment you decide to do it?

There’s a certain ambivalence towards the Arrow of Time in magic. On the whole, a magical universe tends to operate on circles, spirals and fractals, rather than linearity.

So when I say decide to do it both the decision and the action are ratified by the action. To quote a certain someone Do, or Do Not – There is no Try.

I could waffle on for ages, pontificating about retroactive enchantment, but, bluntly, it boils down to this The decision to do it, the ritual actions and the results themselves are a whole magical act.

They. Are. Not. Separate. Things.

Anyone who has had a bit of experience will tell you of rituals, the results of which, still reverberate years later. Across space and time, the act continues.

See, magic, in my experience, tends towards Wholeness, to Maximal Expression. This Wholeness is not a Singularity, but is in fact manifold, and varied. There’s plenty of coming-together-and-breaking apart.

So when dealing with physical disability and magic, well bluntly, in terms of population, there aren’t that many of us, which is to say, there’s more than you realize but perhaps less than you might like.

Secondly, and equally bluntly, if you’re physically disabled and doing magic, well, you’re kind of at the sharp end in terms of R&D because of the vast variety of differences in disability. Which is kind of cool, because there’s literallyno one like you in the game, except you.

(Until of course there is – or rather, was – but that’s another story)

Yes, yes every Man and Woman is A Star. We know.

But you, friend, suffer unique challenges, and have got round them in a statistically variant manner to the norm. Celebrate your difference.

Which leads me on to the fourth point – those repetitions and ‘make do’ imaginings? Waste of time. Except, y’know, NOT.

They are part of the magical act. But they’re also there to show the spirits involved that you’re serious, and you are trying desperately not to half-arse it. That you’re not some arsehole who thinks they know better.

It is, for want of better words, a show of good faith, with the added bonus that you develop your skills and begin the process of turning your body into your own particular magical machine/temple.

Always remember, humans are not the only ones playing this game, and sincerity goes a long way.

In 16 years, I’ve only ever ONCE had a spirit that wanted to work with me, and I it, insist on impossible so-called ‘traditional’ forms. In the end, I found another who was more willing to help me rig something up for the benefit of us both.

I’m not a ceremonial magician by nature, mind you – precisely because of such difficulties. That and I tend to ascribe to the notion of spirits having a stake in working with us, just as we do them..

Hope this helps.

Honoured Dead

May they rest,
May they rage,
May they strengthen
The arms of the living
Against injustice,

May they harden resolve
As their memory remains
May they soften hearts
As they pass beyond sorrow
In strength and power – honoured dead all

In life condemned by icy hearts
In death remembered warmly
Brightly burning beacons
Recalling us to humanity

Never Again.

Because these folks are like me. Because they will be wilfully forgotten. So I must speak, in some small way.

 

Ymir

I voted Remain in the UK’s EU Referendum. Let’s get that straight, from the beginning.

Let’s get it it straight from the beginning, because it’s the only thing about me, about this, which is. All is otherwise crippled and crooked – bent and labyrinthine are the roads we take now, as they have ever been and ever will be.

Let’s get that straight, because this is in actuality a thing of strange angles and sidelong looks, of visionary corner-glimpses. It’s the kind of thing where, were you to cut off my head in order to shut me up, I would somehow still speak.

It would be your biggest mistake, because freed from the idea of personhood, all you would get would be mad-memory-speech, flowing like a roaring and tumultuous river. Welling up like a freezing burn, it’d never stop, because you’d consigned me to the realms of the Dead.

Let’s get that straight, from the beginning. You would have brought me together with all the mad ones, all the marked ones – signed, sealed and delivered.

consign (v.) early 15c., “to ratify by a sign or seal,” from Middle French consigner (15c.), from Latin consignare “to seal, register,” originally “to mark with a sign,” from com- “together” (see com-) + signare “to sign, mark,” from signum “sign” (see sign (n.)). Commercial sense is from 1650s. Related: Consignee; consignor

sign (n.) early 13c., “gesture or motion of the hand,” especially one meant to communicate something, from Old French signe “sign, mark,” from Latin signum“identifying mark, token, indication, symbol; proof; military standard, ensign; a signal, an omen; sign in the heavens, constellation,” according to Watkins, literally “standard that one follows,” from PIE *sekw-no-, from root *sekw- (1) “to follow” (see sequel).

Ousted native token. Meaning “a mark or device having some special importance” is recorded from late 13c.; that of “a miracle” is from c. 1300. Zodiacal sense in English is from mid-14c. Sense of “characteristic device attached to the front of an inn, shop, etc., to distinguish it from others” is first recorded mid-15c. Meaning “token or signal of some condition” (late 13c.) is behind sign of the times (1520s). In some uses, the word probably is a shortening of ensign. Sign language is recorded from 1847; earlier hand-language (1670s).

And under the banner which remains ever-tattered by the winds of time, we the Followers-And-Foregoers, would mass together; every gesture, every mark, every sign and rune and sigil would bring forth that which follows. A veritable flood of  Memory and Meaning, Thought and Feeling.

person (n.) Look up person at Dictionary.comearly 13c., from Old French persone “human being, anyone, person” (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona “human being, person, personage; a part in a drama, assumed character,” originally “mask, false face,” such as those of wood or clay worn by the actors in later Roman theater. OED offers the general 19c. explanation of persona as “related to” Latin personare “to sound through” (i.e. the mask as something spoken through and perhaps amplifying the voice), “but the long o makes a difficulty ….” Klein and Barnhart say it is possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu “mask.” Klein goes on to say this is ultimately of Greek origin and compares Persephone.

Unmasked as roaring fury that washes away walls and divisions, the time and tide of poets, skalds, shapers and makers bursting its banks and rendering everything sodden with Soul once more.

soul (n.1) Look up soul at Dictionary.com“A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks and wills” [Century Dictionary], Old English sawol “spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence; life, living being,” from Proto-Germanic *saiwalo (source also of Old Saxon seola, Old Norse sala, Old Frisian sele, Middle Dutch siele, Dutch ziel, Old High German seula, German Seele, Gothic saiwala), of uncertain origin.

Sometimes said to mean originally “coming from or belonging to the sea,” because that was supposed to be the stopping place of the soul before birth or after death [Barnhart]; if so, it would be from Proto-Germanic *saiwaz (see sea). Klein explains this as “from the lake,” as a dwelling-place of souls in ancient northern Europe.

Meaning “spirit of a deceased person” is attested in Old English from 971. As a synonym for “person, individual, human being” (as in every living soul) it dates from early 14c. Soul-searching (n.) is attested from 1871, from the phrase used as a past participle adjective (1610s). Distinguishing soul from spirit is a matter best left to theologians.

Or perhaps this is not clear, for democracy is a funny thing. I voted Remain, as millions did. Millions more voted Leave, and so we find ourselves as a country, preparing to disengage from a political entity in which we’ve been engaged for 43 years.

So be it.

Now we deal with the consequences, with the waves and ripples, the potential tidal waves and tsunamis. A storm is coming, because there are things beyond politics. Things that connect us all, things that dictate our behaviours and reactions, though they were begun generations before we were born.

A storm is coming, because the storm is always here, living as the All-at-Once. The mask is being removed, the veneer of the political and the personal has cracked, revealing the flux beneath. We have become abruptly aware of the lie contained in the notion of peace and safety; the raw meat of homeostatic maintenance has been revealed.

Of course, in realising the universe has teeth and eyes outside the firelight, fear is a natural reaction. It’s a good reaction in many ways, because it sharpens reflexes, focuses bodily resources, puts the mind on high alert.

But that’s all it’s good for. That kicking things up a notch. Anything else is just fearporn – as much like unto fear as pornography is to sex:

pornography (n.) Look up pornography at Dictionary.com1843, “ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus,” from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos “(one) depicting prostitutes,” from porne “prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”), related to pernanai “to sell,” from PIE root *per- (5) “to traffic in, to sell” (see price (n.)) + graphein “to write” (see -graphy). A brothel in ancient Greek was a porneion

Fun for a while, but in no way resembling the real thing, and make no mistake, there are indeed Fear-Traffickers out there.

All ready to fill the next two years (as the UK works out how to exit the EU and hurriedly sign new treaties, implement new strategies and statutes etc) with fear and loathing for their own amusement or advantage.

Don’t sign on their dotted lines, don’t sell your Soul for words and counterfeit images. Don’t let them tell you with pious faces that the personal is political, as all the while, they laugh at you behind their masks of righteousness.

Cut off your own heads if you have to. Stare into the eyes of your own skull. Know your own fears, as distinct from those they peddle. Know them intimately, carnally. Know how they taste, how they smell, the colour of their adrenaline-spiking skins, their sharp teeth and lascivious obscene tongues which whisper terrible things to you.

I voted Remain, let’s get that straight in the beginning. Democracy had other ideas.

The Kosmos, on the other hand, the Pandaemonic All, gives little credence to the fear-swung pendulums of politics. It is neither democratic, tyrannical, left or right wing.

remain (v.) early 15c., from Anglo-French remayn-, Old French remain-, stressed stem of remanoir “stay, dwell, remain; be left; hold out,” from Latin remanere “to remain, to stay behind; be left behind; endure, abide, last” (source also of Old Spanish remaner, Italian rimanere), from re- “back” (see re-) + manere “to stay, remain” (see mansion). Related: Remained; remaining.

And:

leave (v.) Old English læfanto allow to remain in the same state or condition; to let remain, allow to survive; to have left (of a deceased person, in reference to heirs, etc.); to bequeath (a heritage),” from Proto-Germanic *laibijan (source also of Old Frisian leva “to leave,” Old Saxon farlebid “left over”), causative of *liban“remain” (source of Old English belifan, German bleiben, Gothic bileiban “to remain”), from root *laf- “remnant, what remains,” from PIE *leip- “to stick, adhere;” also “fat” (cognates: Greek lipos “fat;” Old English lifer “liver,” life).

The Germanic root seems to have had only the sense “remain, continue” (which was in Old English as well but has since become obsolete), which also is in Greek lipares “persevering, importunate.” But this usually is regarded as a development from the primary PIE sense of “adhere, be sticky” (compare Lithuanian lipti, Old Church Slavonic lipet “to adhere,” Greek lipos “grease,” Sanskrit rip-/lip- “to smear, adhere to.”

Originally a strong verb (past participle lifen), it early switched to a weak form. Meaning “go away, take one’s departure, depart from; leave behind” (c. 1200) comes from notion of “leave behind” (as in to leave the earth “to die;” to leave the field “retreat”). From c. 1200 as “to stop, cease; give up, relinquish, abstain from having to do with; discontinue, come to an end;” also “to omit, neglect; to abandon, forsake, desert; divorce;” also “allow (someone) to go.”

Colloquial use for “let, allow” is by 1840, said by OED to be chiefly American English. Not related to leave (n.). To leave out “omit” is from late 15c. To leave (something) alone is from c. 1400; to leave (something) be is from 1825. To leave (something/nothing) to be desired is from 1780. To leave it at that is from 1902. Leave off is from c. 1400 as “cease, desist” (transitive); early 15c. as “stop, make an end” (intransitive)

 

leave (n.) “permission, liberty granted to do something,” Old English leafe “leave, permission, license,” dative and accusative of leaf “permission,” from Proto-Germanic *laubo (source also of Old Norse leyfi “permission,” and, with prefix, Old Saxon orlof, Old Frisian orlof, German Urlaub “leave of absence”). This is conjectured to be from PIE root *leubh- “to care, desire, love, approve” (see love (n.)), the original idea being “approval resulting from pleasure.” It is a noun relative of lief “dear” (adj.); and compare belief. In the military sense, it is attested from 1771.

Note the ‘And’.

1024px-Frigg_and_Fulla_1874

Twin paths, with their roots in the same soil. Now, let us consider this with the eyes of the Soul; that Mercurial solvent rife with Primordial Salt:

This is being written on Friday, the day of either/or/and Freyja and Frigga. One, mistress of magic, battle, sexuality, who loves all comers as she wanders the world, soaring in her falcon-cloak as she has first pick of the battle slain. The latter, mistress of hearth, home, wise far-seeing keeper of her own counsel who knows much and says little; spinner of the weaves and bindings that mark responsibility and frith within kith and kin.

Two great goddesses, one faring forth in freedom, the other the uncontested and free mistress of all she surveys, the Lady of the Estate. Each, when seen with the eyes of the Soul, potent Powers with deep and ancient links to us. The dearly beloved that makes the heart sing; twin poles of inexorable magnetism, each providing us with a place to go forth-from-and-with, and also leave-love-and-return-to.

In the shadow of Them in this place and time, the notion of Where We Are From and Where We Are Going dissolves. We are here and now, with Them. As I said in my last post, we are here on this island, eating and drinking, swallowing its dirt.

Home then, safety even, is found only in confronting the possibility of our destruction, but also in our dissolution, in our liquefaction:

To souls it is death to become water, to water death to become earth, but from earth water is born, and from water soul.
– Heraclitus

Up we come from the earth then, not as persons but souls which are aflame. We emerge from the hidden springs, refreshed and burning, like bright figures springing forth from mounds, transfigured by the stuff of the dwellers in the earth. And what is earth but a giant?

earth (n.) Old English eorþe “ground, soil, dirt, dry land; country, district,” also used (along with middangeard) for “the (material) world, the abode of man” (as opposed to the heavens or the underworld), from Proto-Germanic *ertho (source also of Old Frisian erthe “earth,” Old Saxon ertha, Old Norse jörð, Middle Dutch eerde, Dutch aarde, Old High German erda, German Erde, Gothic airþa), from extended form of PIE root *er- (2) “earth, ground” (source also of Middle Irish -ert “earth”).

We understand then, the Mystery of the Giantborn – the beings sprung from the earth, sourcing our strength from the chthonic roots.

Cut off our heads, and still we speak. Cripple us and we still walk without walking, because we understand the simple fact that we are naught without the combined congeries of Living and Dead. We belong to the earth, not the other way around.

This simple fact frees us from the masks of personhood, from the notion of individuality-as-singular-entity. For those on this island who allow themselves to embrace it, the earth on which we rest, the earth which supports our every endeavour and keeps us close in encircling arms of gravity, becomes numinous power of incomparable beauty and power.

The waves and ripples, the potential tidal waves and tsunamis, which before were so fear-inducing, now become circumstances to be met and dealt with, come what may. And as everyone knows, giants subsist on a very different diet to people, and survive in very different ways.

We Remain, always:

Fee. Fie. Fo. Fum.

 

 

 

I’m sat here

In a country that’s dealing with an MP and mother of two being shot and stabbed to death by a man in the street in broad daylight. A man who, according to some witnesses, shouted “Britain First” before firing. A man who had a history of mental illness and had connections to Neo-Nazi and right wing groups, as well as books and materials in his home.

A man who obtained an illegal firearm and, just over a week before the Referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU. A country where the Daily Telegraph (one of the country’s most conservative newspapers) calls the murder “An Act of Far-Right Terrorism”.

I’m sat here, and all I can think of is all the neo-nazi scumbags in Heathenry, who rather than recognising that the elder heathen cultures valued hospitality and kindness to strangers, seek to expel and belittle people on grounds of sexuality, ethnicity, or physical ability.

All I can think is how wrong they are. How this island I call Albion has welcomed wave after wave of immigrants since the ice-age, including the Norse and the Anglo Saxons. How, for all the battles, the mixing of cultures occurred, how the people and land prospered together,

All I can think of is how unbelievable their fear must be, how much they must be certain that they are not enough, that they’re going to be swallowed up, everything they are is to be lost.

I’d call them frightened children, unable to face the possibility of Change’s elder brother, Death. I’d say they have no grasp of the old ways, of the knowledge that our ancestors knew – that there is no safety, and that the world is full of Life with its own agenda.

But that would, I think, be petty. Instead I wish more understanding upon them. Instead I wish revelation upon them, wondrous as it is – the knowing of the fact that we are inextricably bound together, across space and time. That all of us on the island are nourished by the same dirt, and the bones of all those incomers and outgoers. Those roots, our variegated multi-woven twining roots are what keep us alive in an uncertain world.

Our earth, our dirt.

Doesn’t matter where you come from, you eat the dirt, you’re welcome, y’know? Muslim, Black, Gay, Straight, Polish, Syrian….you eat her dirt in the food and the water and she’l take you, mix your bones with all the others yeah?

And the holders of those bones surround us – Roman cavalry from the Black Sea, African legionnaires on Hadrian’s wall, Brigantian tribesmen strengthening the arm of those who farm on holdings established by Norsemen a thousand years ago.

We’re bound together. That’s not hippy talk, but a fact of life and death. The ancients called it wyrd. And wyrd goes as it should.

It’s time to remember humans were made from trees, as in Norse myth. The land is us and we are the land.

Albion sang to William Blake once, gave him great visions and poetry of that vast giant. Its gods and goddesses, songs and stories, still remain, If we are to survive, we must do as our ancestors did, and learn to listen – to join our voices once more to the great song of adding and taking away. To go down Below and across the borders of Here and there. To answer the call to be watchers, singers, makers, dreamers and shapers again.

To drink from the well of Memory, and bring forth vitality from that freezing stream, to answer the Lady of the Lake, not with requests for swords, but with song and poetry and story.

I may be a cripple, I may me weak, but my heart beats under the skin, same as the mighty, and I have my Dead all about me. The lines and maps of men mean little, but the land remembers.

So we must learn to listen. To remember, and recall we were NEVER alone.

Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_-_Christ_and_the_Samaritan_Woman_-_Google_Art_Project

Let me share with you a vision:

A man lies in his bed, unable to move for pain. It consumes his consciousness, snaring thought and perception, cutting into awareness like a barbed wire noose. Like an animal, he seeks to escape, to rid himself of the constriction of a ring of knives and fire, but there is no escape. In fact, all his struggles are for naught; the more he struggles, the more it bites, and the more he becomes frantic in his efforts to escape.  Pain becomes all there is as he throws himself at the walls of his cell, the thorns of the encircling hedge.

All is fire and agony.

And like an animal caught in a trap, he goes limp. The reality of his situation does not so much set in, as wait patiently for the inevitability to dawn on him. Struggling does no good, and he is already exhausted. There is nothing to do but wait for whatever comes next. Which, ultimately, is death.

But here, the man and the animal differ. For the man, death is in the future. For the animal, there is no future. There is only now – escape may be possible, or it may not. This moment may, in fact, be the moment of death. Whatever the case, the animal will make the most of its options.

And in this vision there is a very particular awareness. An awareness of what both animal and man share, and what they do not – the animal does not, after all, possess the much vaunted “human consciousness”, instead being possessed of (by) its own form of Being in the World.  What both share however, is that animating quality we might call Life.

Both are constellations, manifestations, of that quality, though differently arranged in space and time.

animate (v.) Look up animate at Dictionary.com1530s, “to fill with boldness or courage,” from Latin animatus past participle of animare “give breath to,” also “to endow with a particular spirit, to give courage to,” from anima “life, breath” (see animus). Sense of “give life to” in English attested from 1742. Related: Animated; animating.

animus (n.) Look up animus at Dictionary.com1820, “temper” (usually in a hostile sense), from Latin animus “rational soul, mind, life, mental powers; courage, desire,” related to anima “living being, soul, mind, disposition, passion, courage, anger, spirit, feeling,” from PIE root *ane- “to blow, to breathe” (cognates: Greek anemos “wind,” Sanskrit aniti“breathes,” Old Irish anal, Welsh anadl “breath,” Old Irish animm “soul,” Gothic uzanan “to exhale,” Old Norse anda “to breathe,” Old English eðian “to breathe,” Old Church Slavonic vonja “smell, breath,” Armenian anjn “soul”). It has no plural. As a term in Jungian psychology for the masculine component of a feminine personality, it dates from 1923.

Now, what kind of animal is ensnared in this vision, I wonder? What manner of creature do you envisage, lying exhausted and quiescent? Think on that, for a moment. We’ll come back to it

Nornsweaving

Let me share something else, too:

The great difference between Renaissance Neoplatonism and animism is that Man does not stand in the middle of this energetic onion, having all the forces of the universe beaming down into us, with the rest of Creation relegated to supporting cast status or background greenery. (This is incidentally what Bruno railed against and why he thought they were all idiots. An infinite universe, a cosmos lit with countless little lamps extending into infinity is directly opposed to the magical onion worldview of Neoplatonic/planetary spheres. He was a rock star space shaman.)

That’s from Gordon’s post entitled  Gnosticism is the Map. Animism is the Territory. So:

map (n.) Look up map at Dictionary.com1520s, shortening of Middle English mapemounde “map of the world” (late 14c.), and in part from Middle French mappe, shortening of Old Frenchmapemonde, both English and French words from Medieval Latin mappa mundi “map of the world;” first element from Latin mappa “napkin, cloth” (on which maps were drawn), “tablecloth, signal-cloth, flag,” said by Quintilian to be of Punic origin (compare Talmudic Hebrew mappa, contraction of Mishnaic menaphah “a fluttering banner, streaming cloth”) + Latin mundi “of the world,” from mundus “universe, world” (see mundane). Commonly used 17c. in a figurative sense of “epitome; detailed representation.” To put (something) on the map “bring it to wide attention” is from 1913.

territory (n.) Look up territory at Dictionary.comlate 14c., “land under the jurisdiction of a town, state, etc.,” probably from Latin territorium “land around a town, domain, district,” from terra “earth, land” (see terrain) + -orium, suffix denoting place (see -ory). Sense of “any tract of land, district, region” is first attested c. 1600. Specific U.S. sense of “organized self-governing region not yet a state” is from 1799. Of regions defended by animals from 1774.

“Since -torium is a productive suffix only after verbal stems, the rise of terri-torium is unexplained” [Michiel de Vaan, “Etymological Dictionary of Latin and the other Italic Languages”]. An alternative theory, somewhat supported by the vowels of the original Latin word, suggests derivation from terrere “to frighten” (see terrible); thus territorium would mean “a place from which people are warned off.” 

The map is a flag, a cloth full of signs and symbols – engines and operators, transporters which work in concert with that much vaunted “human consciousness”. It is a banner, a thing that snaps, moves, shifts, moving and billowing as the breeze dictates. Without that, it hangs slack, meaningless.

It is a cloth, yes.

OrteliusWorldMap1570

A cloth for covering, for laying over the world. What lies beneath, under the colours and signs of human make? When we lay a cloth on a table, on a body, we cover and protect what is covered. We produce a layer that lies-between. Consider then, that such a cloth is a method of distancing, whether by producing distance between objects and experience, or by creating a protective boundary between what lies above/outside the covering, and what lies beneath.

A map produces distance between the world and the perceiver. In effect, it provides a bird’s-eye view, a top-down perception which influences feelings of importance. From On High, we can survey all of our domain – all the enclosed space which is ‘ours’ by virtue of perception. Distant, we have time to prepare, to marshal our resources and operate from a position of “strength” and “might”. The map provides a sense of optionality – it provides us with the illusion of choice, time to plan, the luxury of room-to-move. The cloth provides us with defence against the cold, it breaks the line-of sight, shielding the covered object from prying eyes, so that only the ‘proper’ owner may know what lies beneath (unless it becomes uncovered, of course).

The map is the tyranny of knowledge (tyranny in its technical, philosophical sense, rather than as pejorative). It is the singular view, held in fixity, in stable, easily parsable manner.

The territory, on the other hand, does not imply distance. Even at its most jurisdictional, it deals directly with the land, with the earth itself.

Contrast the heavenly map with the earthly territory.

Consider the place of terror to the distant On High.

There is a vibrancy here, an intimacy born of necessity. Rather than being apart from the world, we are embedded in it. The map gives us a sense of distance from the world, turning us into giants. Distances that would take months to cross might be measured, covered, by the span of a thumb. The world recedes, held at arm’s length, perspective shifting. Provides us with escape-as-optionality, the illusion of freedom.

The map is a cloth, yes.

And cloth is woven, thread taken over and under, in the warp and the weft. The individual spun threads are pulled, tightened – the gaps are closed up, covered. Here is the irony though – the cloth only matters in relation to something outside itself, whether that be what it covers, or what it holds apart. Without the animating breeze, it hangs slack and useless. Without the earth, the very existence of that which it depicts/represents, it has no purpose. All that remains is an illusory echo – the map of the Neoplatonists matters only to those who perceive it. It is useless, unless some benefit is gained from it. To be fair, it must generate some benefit to those who use it – that echo must in some way satisfy an urge or need.

But what distance does it create?

If Man strives to the pinnacle, to refine its consciousness to that of some distant On High, then so be it. If Man seeks to end suffering, so be it. But we must recall that the map is a covering, a machine-for-distance. If it enables us to be giants, to cover thousands of miles with a thumb, so be it. But this does not negate the thousands of miles, the hundreds of microclimates, ecologies, realms and neighbourhoods of beingness which lie beneath the thumb.

No matter how much Man-as-humankind might wish otherwise, the territory exists in all its terrific variety, all its inescapable shapes and forms. It cannot be known from a distance. It must be experienced, come what may. Indeed, it cannot be avoided, no matter what the map says.

Some might skim the variety of Gnostic schools and conclude that all were matter-world hating dualists, the very epitome of those who sought distance from the world. But in that surface skim, they would perhaps miss the sheer variety of Gnostic perspectives, might forget that gnosis is the root of to know.  To know the world as it truly is, this is the gnostic impulse, even if we regard the fact of ultimate certain knowledge as impossible.

To no longer kowtow to those On High who dispense the maps of-how-things-are, but to go out and explore, for ourselves, to get the dirt under our fingernails, to acknowledge our constant lack of knowing and let that drive us, hungry and in love  with the world, to discover and to experience the More which we instinctively feel a call to, which lies covered and hidden.

occult (adj.) Look up occult at Dictionary.com1530s, “secret, not divulged,” from Middle French occulte and directly from Latin occultus “hidden, concealed, secret,” past participle of occulere “cover over, conceal,” from ob “over” (see ob-) + a verb related to celare “to hide,” from PIE root *kel- (2) “to cover, conceal” (see cell). Meaning “not apprehended by the mind, beyond the range of understanding” is from 1540s. The association with the supernatural sciences (magic, alchemy, astrology, etc.) dates from 1630s.

This then, is the knowing, not by maps and distance, but by heart’s-blood, by coming-together with-and-breaking apart. In this, the we resemble less Man possessed of the much vaunted “human intelligence”, than the animal possessed by the animal intelligence.

In a Kosmos filled with Life, it is only sensible to regard the multitude of Forms of Being which we encounter as Beings-In-And-Of-Themselves, precisely because they are constellations of Life. It doesn’t matter whether or not we are ‘projecting’, only that we accord the possibility of Life to all things, since we ourselves are constellations of Life, and are acted upon by the world at large. This is no the same as anthropocentrism – we do not regard all Beings as human, merely possessed of the animating quality we call Life.

In immersing ourselves in the Gnostic impulse, we seek that which lies below/beyond/within the map – the creative impulse, the enthusing Powers which weave the cloth, in ourselves and in the wider world. We do not seek to solely know what lies On High, but those Powers which weave the complex web of interrelations which make up the Kosmos. Not only that, we seek to become aware of our own participation in the weaving – that which we were previously unconscious of.

Faroe_stamp_428_The_Prophet

In various ancient cultures, the importance of weaving and spinning was well understood, and associated with magic. The Norse volva held an iron staff, modelled on a distaff, and the goddess Frigga, wife of Odin and knower of many things, was associated too. All this, and also the Nornir, three giantmaids held to weave the wyrd of men and gods. The classical Fates also come to mind.

In each case, the imagery of threads being woven together applies; the various inputs and responses, interconnexions, relationships and feedbacks come together to form a whole – each Being connected, or entangled with each other – something that quantum physics is showing exists at the very smallest level of existence.

Nor is this notion of interconnection limited to Norse myth – the notion of Indra’s net as a metaphor for the interconnected nature of the universe existed long before the mediaeval transcription of Norse myth:

Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each “eye” of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering “like” stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring.

Recall what Gordon said about Bruno?

An infinite universe, a cosmos lit with countless little lamps extending into infinity.

If each of us is a lamp-jewel, reflecting all others in the Kosmos, what then?

 

And so, to return to the vision to the trapped man and animal – I told you we’d be back, didn’t I?

The man lies there, encircled in his agony. He waits for death, but the animal? The animal, possessed by its intelligence in distinction to Man’s distant possessing of  it’s intelligence, does not wait for some imagined future. Instead, it takes events as it comes.

The man lies there exhausted, unable to escape, convinced there is only death to wait for. But, in his agony, he has forgotten he is embedded in the world. Even his cell, even in his pain, there is Life.

In an animistic universe, all is Life – even, and especially, the air we breathe, is full of it. Recall that the root of animate, is breath.

So let us imagine, for a moment, that the man in the vision is quite ordinary, but for one thing – he is a magician.

And as a magician, rather than merely wait  for death, he has made it a habit to regularly contemplate his own demise. On some occasions, he sees and feels himself die violently by war, accident, by flame, drowning or weapon. On others he sees and feels a sickness devour him from within, or the weight of old age drag him into the grave.

And so, to pass the time, as he breathes, he begins to notice the feel of the air against his skin; the way it touches him always, the way it feels and tastes as it enters and exits his lungs, ever-present for every moment of his life. Slowly, surely, he realises he is surrounded cocooned by the breath, by the warmth of the sun and the earth, just as he was surrounded by amniotic fluid in the womb.

It occurs then, that he seems to recall wombtime; floating in warm darkness, life moving in and out of him through the navel, wastes and nutrition passing through him, moving within and without like the tides.

Immersed in that Kosmic ocean, he becomes aware that every piece of him is connected to every other piece, and that all these pieces are connected to everything else in the Kosmos. He knows there are those who wish him and others well, and so, as he abides, he allows his mind to dwell on those connexions, on all those who would wish an end to pain and suffering. He adds his own existence to the weight of all others, allows himself to become enthused with Life. His body adjusts, his pain remaining, but no longer the centre of his world.

Instead. it as if he is entangled with everything else. His every molecule attached to every other, his pain, his thought linked inextricably to all things. To move a hand, his hand, is to alter a world, to stir the waters, sending out ripples. To speak a word is to influence the entire Kosmos.

Understand, in this vision, there is no sense of conventional power, no mighty exertion. Only existing. Only Being. Moment to moment. All thought devoted to experience and flowing, rushing movement as Life enters and exits, runs through its infinite possibility.

1024px-Frigg_and_Fulla_1874

What was a man lays aside the distance of “human intelligence” and becomes as-animal. That is, he allows himself to become fully animated, releasing his grip on any a particular shape of thought and form. He sinks deeper into the Waters, and finds their wellspring. He descends into the Well of Memory, moving beyond his personal history, his personal embodiment.

Perhaps he might be described as one of those jewels in Indra’s net, quietly being reflected upon by, and reflecting back, the Kosmos?

Perhaps he might meet the one of the keepers of the well?

Who can say.

What is able to be spoken is that the breath is in his body and blood. Whether that be mere oxygen or something more esoteric, the fact remains – what lies within, lies without – and vice-versa. In an animist universe, the animation exists within us and without us. And if each of us is a jewel (or a star) reflecting all others, then are we in fact living lamps?

Can we not, if we care to, cultivate that light within our blood, becoming enthused beings who do not seek distance or escape, but rather to meet with and have communion with all experiences, Powers and Beings? Can we not discover the Life in all things, the Pleroma  unveiled?

What use static maps? What use the diktats from distant On High, from monocultural overlords?

Stamp your feet to the rhythm of your blood, to the pulse of Life. The Gnostic impulse is to know things, not on the terms of others, but from your own experience, from the union of yourself with Life in all its terror, beauty and vitality. The Primordial is an existence filled with a Pandaemonium, a cornucopia of Beingness. It is ‘Their’ world only insofar as we are not Them.

Except of course we are as Them. We are as animal, as strange and daemonic, as estranged from “human intelligence” as anything in the Kosmos. Two fingers (or one if you’re American) up to the Archons, be they human, or otherwise.

We’re coming back to the feral banquet, to the furious sabbat of Being. We’re waking up to the orgy of Life.

orgy (n.)Look up orgy at Dictionary.com1560s, orgies (plural) “secret rites in the worship of certain Greek and Roman gods,” especially Dionysus, from Middle French orgies (c. 1500, from Latinorgia), and directly from Greek orgia (plural) “secret rites,” especially those of Bacchus, from PIE root *werg- “to do” (see organ). The singular, orgy, was first used in English 1660s for the extended sense of “any licentious revelry.” OED says of the ancient rites that they were “celebrated with extravagant dancing, singing, drinking, etc.,” which gives “etc.” quite a workout.

Time to remember – and:
partyon