Archive for January, 2011


Look at that: it\’s beautiful, yes? In fact I invite you to click on the image and enjoy it full size, then come back and read on. I\’ll wait while you soak it up and experience a little awe in the face of natural beauty!


Such images are all around us, and unfortunately it\’s often the case that we don\’t notice, because they\’re not situated as singular things – they\’re part of a rushing continuum of sense experience. But, if they\’re divorced from that surging river, framed as frozen moments – as icebergs that are above the surface, they become something that draws you in.

Framed correctly, you can appreciate them as themselves, as a piece of art, as an extra-ordinary impression and experience, or simply a memory. And here\’s the thing – how we frame things dictates our behaviour. If we frame an event as a pleasant one, we react differently to it than if we frame it as unpleasant.

It makes sense really, because people are extremely well hard-wired to avoid discomfort, and you\’re wired that way because in some immeasurably distant time, an ancestor of yours  responded to dangerous and hostile conditions by simply not being in them if they didn\’t have to. Because of this, that ancestor prospered really quite well, lived long and reproduced probably quite a lot, which ultimately culminated in you reading this.

And next time you start to want to avoid do something, instead of getting annoyed or frustrated with yourself, simply take a moment to thank your ancestor for that reflex because without it? You probably wouldn\’t be alive to enjoy the  lovely and wonderfully enjoyable things you have planned out anyway.

Which would certainly  be, as they say, a bit of a bugger for reasons you can no doubt imagine.

There\’s an argument in the philosophy of aesthetics called the Institutional Theory of Art which can be summed up as follows:

\”A work of art in the classificatory sense is 1) an artifact 2) upon which some person or persons acting on behalf of a certain social institution (the artworld) has conferred the status of candidate for appreciation.\” – George Dickie, Aesthetics, An Introduction

Basically, philosophising aside, it suggests that it\’s situation and context that makes an object art – which is why objects in an art gallery are art, because people who inhabit the \’art world\’ say that it is of that world. Now, anybody with half a brain can can see the issues with this but that\’s not the point. The point is, it illustrates something intriguing about culture, authority, communication and human culture in general.

If an expert in a field declares something to be their field, it\’s generally accepted, unless other experts contest the assertion. Media pundits ride the same current – if you can get on television, or in print, you\’re elevated above normal mortals. Because you\’re Media:you partake of the role of channel of communication.

Media is the plural of medium. Think about that – the middle, the in-between.

The go-between.

Gordon\’s written a couple of interesting posts on Exorcism and Summoning Ghosts which play off this nicely. It\’s these figures that inhabit both worlds which are given a peculiar power over the human mind. Just as how people like Oprah, Glenn Beck, Martha Stewart – and for the Brits, Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson – wield a strange sort of influence.

People listen to them don\’t they? They accept what they say, invite them into their brains, their homes, to speak to them from newspapers, from the tv screens and the web. You let in the ideas spoken of, the words written on the screen, and they slip into your mind and quietly, furiously, replicate.

Everyone does it. You\’re doing it now, and as you\’re reading, words are intermingling with your subconscious, linking with autonomic processes. Because that\’s what language actually does; bridging the gap between two worlds, it utilises shared structures and rapidly, speedily, it bypasses concious perception and definition and uses the vast ocean of experience to keep us on the same page.

The fascinating thing is, it does this almost instantaneously.


The pundits and the Media? They communicate with you, shape the happenings of a global world beyond your office and your living room into something you can comprehend. They\’re in the middle, and so they speak a language you can understand, a closer tongue to your own. Now, Gordon\’s done precisely that with his post on Summoning Ghosts The Old Fashioned Way. He\’s given you modern analogues for ancient processes, and he\’s done it in such a way that you look at it and see which subconscious ideas each portion of the rite plays off.

This then, is at the heart of the movement that eventually became known as Chaos Magic. Results-based work stripped right down to basic principles and then rebuilt in a way that is relevant and potent for the here and now. What\’s more, I\’m pretty damn sure Gordon knows exactly what I mean when I talk about regarding media and influence, being as he\’s not…unacquainted with that sphere.

A disclaimer here: I\’ve never actually met Gordon, this is just from reading Runesoup so I may be way off.  (That said guv, if I\’m ever down south and in the Smoke, and if you\’re of a mind to, wouldn\’t mind a natter and a drink…or six!).

Whether I\’m casting aspersions on our favourite Antipodean Magus or not, it\’s obvious that the role of Messenger/Pundit still has potency. And as folks who are interested in the deep roots of these sort of things, it\’s fairly certain that the mediator, the hedge-sitter, the in-between, liminal role has always had resonance.

Mercury and Hermes, Woden or Odin, Enoch and Raven.

All these are speakers, communicators, middle-men. The medium and the message. Some argue that the art and the artist are inseparable, and that makes sense doesn\’t it? To become a living embodiment of that, to be able to shift your shape, to alter your methodology or jargon as the need arises to develop near-perfect communication?

We can often read words by outline and shape alone, and at the risk of getting repetitive, I\’m going to connect this to another of Gordon\’s posts – his love letter to Pete Carroll, A Definitive Review of the Octavo, and once more we\’ll reach into the arena of Chaos Magic Theory.

And before I do that, I\’d like to recount a little tale that arose out of a discussion with a fellow known internationally for his wizardly ways – some folks may recall him being mentioned in an article of Pete\’s, for example. It\’s a short story, and it\’s designed to go straight past your conscious mind and into the fertile soil, so with an apology for sneakily lodging things firmly in your deep mind, I\’ll begin…

Once upon a time, when the world was a little quieter, when the cold was crisper in the winter and the summers smelt of warm grass, there was a Master Carpenter. Now this Master Carpenter lived in a small village at the edge of an ancient wildwood, and though he was far from civilisation, word of his craftsmanship had spread far and wide, even to the biggest cities.

So much so in fact, that wealthy merchants would send send messengers on fast horses out into the wilds where the Master Carpenter lived. But those messengers would soon be forced to dismount and walk their mounts along the almost non-existent trails, lest they fall and break an ankle and then die there as food for the wolves that still roamed the lands in those days.

And as ever, when they finally arrived, travel-stained and weary as they were, the Master Carpenter would welcome them to his home. He would stable their horses with his own calloused hands, and pour them a drink from his own still. Invariably, the messengers were terribly confused, for all knew that the Master Carpenter\’s work fetched only the highest prices, and yet he dwelt in a small homely house with no sign of the vast riches he must surely have amassed.

They always became even more perplexed when his wife arrived from the kitchen to kiss him lovingly on the cheek and ask them of their home city and the wider world. And  what, I hear you ask, was the source of their perplexity? Why, it was simply this:

The face of the Master Carpenter\’s wife matched exactly that of a beautiful princess, a princess of whom it had been said that she was the most beautiful woman in all the land. Larger still was their surprise when dinner was served and they found the exquisitely carven table marked with the royal coat of arms and the table linen bearing the royal seal.

By the end of the dinner, curiosity always won out over politeness, and the resemblance was remarked upon. Always, she would smile graciously while the Master Carpenter watched in amusement. And always, the answer was given that it was not merely  a resemblance, but that in fact she was truly Princess Sophia, daughter to he who held the Oaken Throne.


Curiosity still raging with unspoken questions, silence would then reign. It would reign until Sophia would refill their cups and quietly tell of the day that the King had set forth to find a master craftsman to make the mark of his rule upon that very same throne. For, as all know, the Oaken Throne was immeasurably ancient, hacked from the body of the First Tree in elder days. And all know that each monarch makes his mark upon that timeless wood – generations of kings have turned that black-faced seat into a creation of purest art, layer upon layer.

\”And a Master did my father find,\” Sophia would always say, with a fond smile towards her husband. For his part, he would shrug modestly, eyes twinkling as she told the tale.

In her honeyed voice she wove their first meeting. She recalled her father\’s impatience with the Carpenter who seemed so reluctant to leave his paltry village despite the promise of royal patronage and wealth. She set air to throng with memory of quiet nights with a man so unlike others in the royal court, a man who had never left his home in all his life, or so the locals said.

And so it was that the messengers would learn of her persuasion, which brought her husband to work upon the Oaken Throne in the shining city of her birth. Of how he worked upon that wood, alone and at night in the fabulous hall of the king, whistling a simple tune – the kind children make at play.

Blushing slightly, the lovely princess would confess to watching him work, veiled from his sight by rich tapestries full of scenes of battle and heroism. It was then, she would explain, that she knew she  loved him. For from her hiding place she could see that he glowed brighter than gold in the night as he worked.

\”Complete and whole,\” she\’d say, \”Like a river running or the moon gleaming, full to the brim and flowing over with it, so that it made the room even greater, the sight of everything truer and clear.\”

Then she would tell them of his return home, and her eventual nocturnal flight from the palace to join him. She spoke fiercely of her resistance to the idea of return, and of how the very wildwood seemed to devour the men her father had sent to bring her back, and how the very Oaken Throne had burned beneath her father until he had consented to do as she wished.

Oftentimes at this point, the messengers would be watching the Master Carpenter warily, lest he curse them with foul sorcery or burn their buttocks as in the tale.

And always the Master Carpenter would chide his wife for scaring the visitors, and explain that he meant no harm to no thing, living or dead, or wood or stone.

\”Be that as it may husband mine,\” Sophia would say \”Harm comes to those who mean you ill, whether by your hand or by what lies in their hearts. It matters not which.\”

Once again, silence would reign, until the bravest of the messengers would ask the Master Carpenter how he came by his skill, and who had been his teacher.

At this he would smile, and it was the kind of smile you would find \’pon the lips of a mischievous boy who has been caught, and is in no way sorry for the trick he has played.

\”When I was a boy,\” he would say to them, \”I was as clumsy as an ox and my fingers stumbled over the wood and stained it with blood, for the tools were always hungry. My father despaired of me ever having any skill at all, for nothing would help. Neither beatings nor kindnesses, guiding hands or simple pieces to practice on helped. It all eluded me. So I took to fleeing into the wildwood and walking amidst the green, fighting imaginary enemies and rescuing Princesses from jealous kings, that sort of thing.\”

At this, he would smile widely, full of honest mirth while his wife watched him levelly over the rim of her cup. He would spin more of his wanderings in the wood for a little while, until his listeners began shift uneasily. Then he would pause and tell of the day he met the Hooded Man, there amidst the green.

Tall he was, all cloaked in shadow and dappled sunlight; patchwork leather – some stained brightly, with other portions of more dusky hue – made up his clothes. His face was hidden, as all the stories say.

And in a voice like croaking ravens and rumbling earth he spoke to the boy in the wood:

\”Boy, I have need of sure hands and clear sight, will you aid me?\”

\”I\’m no craftsman sir,\” the tale-teller would recount. \”My father is back a-ways, perhaps he could help?\”

\”No, boy. I cannot come to those whose minds are fast as iron. Yours, I can see, may bend like a bough in the breeze, or run as quick as deer. To your father I am nothing but a demon of the wood, to be kept back with fire and fence and metal. He will carve me and cut me to fit such a form, and thus I will be naught but that.\”

The boy was thoughtful, and there at the table the Master Carpenter would grin at his guests like a cat. After a moment, he always continued:

\”But you\’re the Hooded Man, just like the stories say.\”

\”That I am boy, that I am. What do you think lies under my hood?\”

\”Don\’t know. Could be anything, couldn\’t it? Maybe that\’s the point – to keep people wondering? So they keep telling stories about you?\”

At this, the Hooded Man, Lord of all the Wildling Bands, be they Light or Dark, laughed loud and long.

\”Perhaps you\’re right boy, and perhaps I\’ll let you look so you\’ll have a story to tell about me, if you\’ll help me?\”

And agree the Master Carpenter did. For days and days he gathered fallen wood as the Hooded Man bade him, and in the noisy night of the wildwood, he wove and carved with stone and vine he found there, until at last there stood a great lintel strung between two trees as doorposts, and a patchwork of animal-hide hanging over the door-frame.

Though rickety and rude, it seemed to please the Hooded Man beyond measure; the faces the boy had carved in the wood of the lintel seemed to gape and grin with a strange life all their own, the kind of leering, sinister childishness that unnerves the righteous. All bulbous and grotesque, features knobbly and moss-spotted, they looked down upon the boy as he worked, until he finally stopped.

And when he stopped, he said quite gravely, in the fashion of small boys everywhere:

\”I think it\’s mostly done for now, sir. I could do more, but I might make it look silly, and I don\’t want to do that.\”

The Hooded Man loomed out of the shadows and prowled around the forest door, poked the hide and scratched at the wood, checking the boy\’s work. At length, the darkness beneath the hood seemed to smile somehow, and the tall figure gave a slow nod.

\”It\’ll do boy. It\’ll do.\”

\”Sir, what is it for?\”

\”Why, it\’s a door. What are doors for but opening and closing?\”

\”But sir, there\’s just the wildwood. It doesn\’t go anywhere.\”

\”Of course it does boy. It\’s a door, same as a hood\’s a hood. Doors always go somewhere, otherwise there\’d be no need for them, would there?\”

\”No sir, I suppose not.\”

\”Would you like to see what lies beyond the door you\’ve built, boy?\”

\”Well sir, if it\’s all the same to you, may I see your face? I mean I\’d like to see if there\’s anything on the other side, but you sort of, maybe, promised?\”

\”Yes, I did indeed sort of, maybe, didn\’t I?\”

And with one hand the Hooded Man pulled aside the hide that closed the forest door to reveal the lands beyond, while with the other he pulled back his hood…

Now, at this point in the tale the Master Carpenter had his audience on the edge of their seats, desperate to know what he had seen. Yet, without fail, every single time he would shrug minutely, saying only:

\”And thus I gained my skill.\”

No amount of cajoling or pressing would draw anything more from the Master Carpenter. No offers of bribes, or uttered threats would make him yield. Many were the times the messengers passed the nights sleepless and wondering, while the luckier ones dreamed strange and troubling dreams.

Always without fail, the next morning, there would be a letter of acceptance or rejection of their master\’s proposal resting on that fine table, words written in a lovely feminine hand. Their horses would be waiting for them, and the lady of the house would bid them farewell, explaining that the Master Carpenter was a-bed, as he had been working all night.

The bravest or most troubled of the messengers would sometimes pluck up the courage to ask the princess what her husband had seen. But their questions were met with gentle resistance, for she would only say this:

\”What the Master Carpenter sees is in the grain of the wood and the heart of all things. It remains with, or without him, yet you can only see it because he does as you ask.\”

And so it was that the messengers carried back tales of the Master Carpenter and his wife, back to civilisation. I heard one, and now you have heard one, and so the legend spreads. This is the way of things, is it not?

So, how does the Master Carpenter link to anything? Well, if anything can be said of the Chaos Magic philosophy, it\’s that it originated as a practical toolkit. Gordon\’s stated that his review is a love letter, and that\’s no bad thing. Because it echoes the idea that it\’s not actually a rational undertaking. Carroll\’s attempt to bring magic into the realm of science is laudable. But for me it\’s not laudable because it is pure and clean and Science! which removes us from the dark fog of ignorance.

It is at best, one man\’s attempt to make sense of the vast oddness of the universe. Mathematics is about relationships, just as language is. Communication and comprehension increase the richness of experience, and certainly I liked the Apophenion for its implicit (some might say explicit) acknowledgement that there is an human urge to make connections, even where there are none to be made.

No, Carroll\’s work is laudable because it is, at is core, the gloriously irrational labour of love which is attempting to have a world that makes sense. So the Octavo, as with much that has arisen out of the original Chaos Magic ethos over the past thirty-odd years, is a fantastic piece of contouring and shaping, albeit one born of an irrational urge.

Making sense of chaos might sound like an oxymoron, but humans have been doing it since the beginning, so Pete Carroll is in good company. If reductionism helps you, so be it. If you take comfort in the idea that everything is accurately intelligible to the human mind, I\’m not going to tell you that you are wrong.

What we perceive is defined by the method of perception. The way things appear is contingent on how we re-cognise them –  which is not a typographic error, by the way.

If you like your Chaos with probability scores, then Pete\’s weltanschauung is probably more easily inhabited. As a medium he proposes theoretical constants and shapes – takes head-bendy maths and physics and brings it into the world of the occult. For that alone he should be regarded as partaking of the magician role.

Myself, I\’m not going to try and explain what truly lies beyond the door-frame. Because in my view, it only relates to the door, and not what it is, in and of itself.

I may tell you some beautiful and terrible lies about it though!

Blatant Whorebaggery below. I\’m proud to be part of this, even if I might disagree with some of the other contributors. Because that\’s what keeps minds open. Additionally, from February I will be contributing to the blog, which I hope my readers might like to comment on and get things really going in the comments section!


For Immediate Release: London, 17th of January 2011


Weaponized is proud to announce the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’, an anthology arranged by James Curcio of Mythos Media. This anthology includes conversations, art and articles with those in the process of creating myth now, from up-and-comers and long-time underground myth-makers to celebrated artists such as Laurie Lipton and David Mack.

It will be published by Weaponized and available in print through major retailers and in Kindle and other eBook formats from July 2011.

About ‘The Immanence of Myth’:

Thinkers such as Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade, Karl Kerenyi, and many others have helped to popularize an awareness of the psychological significance of archaic myth inside, as well as outside, the ivory tower of academia. However, the vast majority of their work has been focused on understanding and legitimizing the myths of the past.

Yet myth is an immanent, ongoing dialogue, an assemblage that interconnects us all. Joseph Campbell made it a part of his life’s work to emphasize the central importance an understanding of myth plays for the artist, and it is a perspective that arguably has been lost in many corners of the modern art world. This makes this investigation essential for artists (and would-be artists), regardless of their medium.

However, myth’s central importance does not end with art. Our beliefs and ideas about the world determine how we treat the world, how we engage with it and enter into it. Far from being archaic relics of the past, myths will affect the future for all of us. Even if we are unaware of them, they will continue to affect us.

Nearly half of this five-hundred page book was written by James Curcio, a writer and art director with extensive independent media experience. Since getting involved in media production as co-founder of Evolving Media in 2000—the first in many media/arts collectives he helped organize—he has built engaging narratives, utilizing the mediums best suited to the task.

He says, “I am excited to be building a platform for the exploration of the subject of mythology in a modern light, both through the release of this book and the website, and believe that Weaponized is the perfect partner to bring this to fruition. I hope that this continues to be a springboard for the much-needed discussion of the role that myth plays in all our lives, as well as the creation of new media which builds upon this knowledge.”

John Harrigan of Weaponized says “One of the key reasons FoolishPeople founded the Weaponized imprint was to ensure that important works such as ‘The Immanence of Myth’ are published and made widely available. Now more than ever the subject of Myth is of vital importance to the very nature of humanity and we’re proud to publish this book.”

We must invent our myths—or re-invent them—ourselves. If you haven’t already, take this as a wake-up call to join in and become a myth-maker of the 21st century.

About Weaponized:

Weaponized publishes experimental forms of fiction, prose and art that offer new ways to experience stories and myth. They are passionately committed to finding unique narrative hybrids that challenge, engage, inform and inspire readers.

The imprint was founded by FoolishPeople, a group that has been creating theatre, collaborative events, live art, books, music and film for over fifteen years. FoolishPeople combine mythology, shamanism, drama therapy, strategic forecasting and open source collaboration in the creation of this work.

Since its launch in August 2010 Weaponized has  published FoolishPeople scripts ‘Cirxus’ and ‘Dead Language’ by John Harrigan, ‘The Sparky Show’ by Xanadu Xero and ‘Forum’ by Richard Webb.

Amongst other titles scheduled in 2011 Weaponized will publish ‘Citizen Y’ written by John Harrigan and James Curcio in April.

Starting in February and leading up to the publication of ‘The Immanence of Myth’ in July, James Curcio’s and will feature writing and interviews with contributors featured in ‘The Immanence of Myth’.


For further information please email

Invisible Narratives


Do you know something? I never had an invisible friend as a child. Not so strange perhaps, except there\’s this thing about me. I\’m fairly certain that if you have read any of my stuff, you\’ll know what that thing is so I\’m not going to say exactly what it is yet. Hell, you may even work it out as you read on, on the off-chance you don\’t already know, or this is the first time you\’ve read my words.

But, as a child, I did as most children did, and played games. I imagined things, played out stories in areas that weren\’t necessarily conducive to being a cowboy, a super intelligent android, a barbarian hero, a starship pilot or a being of phenomenal cosmic power.

(Cardboard boxes, behind the sofa, in concrete playgrounds and under the dining room table for example).

The raw power of this always amazes me now, the fact that children can manufacture and incorporate disparate pieces of environment into a coherent whole. The creativity of it is stunning – the effortless conjuring up  of alternate existences for the purposes of exploration, understanding, and above all of these, sheer unadulterated fun.

Of course, adultery, adulteration; all these words have their roots in violation, alteration and corruption. Etymologically they emerge from alter:

alter (v.) \"Look
late 14c., \”to change (something),\” from O.Fr. alterer \”change, alter,\” from M.L. alterare \”to change,\” from L. alter \”the other (of the two),\” from PIE *al- \”beyond\” + comp. suffix -ter (cf. other). Intransitive sense \”to become otherwise\” first recorded 1580s. Related: Altered; altering.

An adult world is a complete world. Adulthood is the culmination of development, the completeness, the crystalisation of a full person. This is what is subtly taught in our culture. School trains us to think in terms of \’work\’ and \’play\’. Play is something children do, permitted because you are incomplete. It\’s seen as a trial stage, a way of learning before the actual business of life begins.

We even ascribe play to juvenile animals, as practice for hunting or social interactions. It\’s a dry run, the testing phase. To play as a child is acceptable, and as we grow older, the time for play becomes smaller, eventually morphing into a \’break\’ from work; a necessary sanctioned interrupt, rather than what it was before.

It\’s interesting how things change, isn\’t it?  It\’s okay to goof off on your break, but not too much because you\’re still at work, right? Certain things are Not Safe For Work, and I\’m not just talking about porn here, am I? For some people this blog is NSFW – being spotted reading a site like this might range from the totally fine to outing one as alternative and slightly odd, worst, some kind of crazy person or sinister black magician.

Exposure of one\’s nature as an alternative sort of person isn\’t always the best thing – everybody knows that. From pogroms to social snubbing and mockery, the gauntlet can be a little annoying and frankly unpleasant. Not \’taking things seriously\’ can be levelled as an insult, a criticism or worse.

Have you ever been in a situation when the word \’immature\’ has been used? I\’m sure you have, haven\’t you?


You\’re not old enough, ready or willing enough to understand what I\’m talking about.


You have yet to reach the level of understanding and advancement that I have, have you? You\’ve not gained enough experience to level up.

This is a grownup thing, only discoverable by highly spiritually aware persons…

(Even writing that made me feel dirty, that and want to laugh, by the way).

You get the idea though, don\’t you? This is the kind of thing that\’s there all the time, the glass ceiling, the pay grade barrier, the security clearance. Sometimes, there is honestly a reason for it – certain information is necessary or maybe specific training. That\’s not what we\’re referring to though.

No, what we\’re talking about and thinking about here, you and I, is the way there\’s always another hoop to jump through, some illusionary threshold held up.  Once you cross it, you\’ll be OK. You\’ll be there, you\’ll be accepted.

And to do that, to form yourself correctly, you accept certain things as true. It\’s a social reciprocity. We learn it as kids, collaborating with others if we play with them. For the duration of the game, we accept that the cardboard box is the fortressspaceshiphousegaolbedroomspaceofinfinitepossibility.

But to echo the late, great, Bill Hicks:

\”It\’s just a ride.\”

Just a game, and when it\’s over we can do something else. Except people forget, don\’t they – and they forget because they\’ve been trained to look for the next stage in some kind of progression towards…something. Something complete, something ultimate. Something ripe and ready that will answer all your problems.

And you know, that\’s how power works.

\”Stick with me kid, and you\’ll go far.\”

Mimic the cool, the successful the wealthy; strive towards some halcyon thing that allows you to entertain the reptile-brain dream of a post-scarcity existence; essentials whenever and wherever you want. Glorious unaging immortality, avoiding the nasty business of flux and struggle and eventual death.

Ah, promises, promises.

Kids know the game ends eventually, because their world is one of eternal incompleteness. That\’s fine, because they fill in the gaps with will and imagination. You were a kid once, and you know what it was like. Remember that simple decision to treat something in a particular way, just because you could?

I\’m a trained philosopher – undergraduate and postgraduate too, and I\’ve studied Aristotle, Plato, and a host of other dead people from various places and times. I\’ve even done it with some living people too.

That was fun.

Really fun, playing with the fundamentals of the universe, chopping and changing premises like some manic six-year old who\’s found the joy of playing dress-up in their elders\’ clothes.

It\’s so much fun, I do it all the time. I\’m doing it now. That\’s what this is. That\’s what I\’m about, and you\’re here with me, playing along.

Are we having fun yet, or do you want to look away, to stop reading because somewhere, there\’s an itch in your mind? And that\’s part of it, that itch.

The very concept of \’Is\’? Blame Aristotle for most of the roots of thought on Being and Is. That\’s a game too, by the way. It\’s not even neurologically accurate. If we wanted to be accurate we\’d have to say \’It seems to me.\’ every time we use \’Is.\’

What a mouthful. It\’s a pity we don\’t have a \’Find and Replace\’ mechanism for our thoughts, a Copy \’N Paste Brain. Or is it?

Austin Spare would talk about the power of \’as if\’.

Suppose you treat everything as having a goal? Wouldn\’t that mean that rambling, labyrinthine posts have a point? And that reminds me of a story.

This is how it goes:

Once upon a time, there was a King and there were some gods. These gods, being much less ineffable than the one that lurks in the back corner of the modern Western mind, liked gifts. We can all get that, right? We\’re all aware that we might be more kindly disposed to those who just plain nice to us, yes?

And just as we like gifts to be unequivocally ours, so these gods liked that too. They had certain things they liked humans to do, so that the gifts were marked as theirs. So these marks were obvious to the universe, like a nametag, or a sticky label on the tupperware box which your lunch is in while your store it in the fridge at work.

One of the gods, Poseidon, was rather nice to the King, who happened to be called Minos. In return for being rather nice, there was a great white bull which the god liked very much and put his mark on. Now, this was an extraordinarily handsome specimen of taurean flesh. Snow white it was, and shining like the seafoam; its breath was as fierce as a roaring storm and the sound of its hooves was like the crash and boom of a thousand thunderous breakers

This bull was, in short, the shiznit; it was the zenith, the veritable peak of bovine brilliance, trust me on that. Its flanks gleamed brighter than the moon. It was tasty, tasty, very very tasty, if you catch my drift? Everyone knew it, even King Minos, in fact, especially King Minos. It was the gourmet leftovers in the fridge of life, the ones that somehow smell and look delicious despite being neatly sealed and tidily labelled. Makes your stomach growl so it does, sets the mouth to water like a stream. We\’ve all been there, and it\’s all the more delicious because you can\’t have it, because it\’s just beyond your reach, isn\’t it?

Sometimes people idly entertain nicking a little bit don\’t they – the owner won\’t really notice a spoonful gone, that sort of thing. It\’s a very human thing to do. King Minos was very human, which is always nice because that means you have someone to identify with in this story, and that always helps. Plus, humans do slightly silly things when we\’re enamoured of something – and we\’ve all done that.

Now, Minos was a King, and by ancient definition, being a King meant you were a bit larger than life; you turned things up a notch or six. In fact, you might say Minos turned it all the way to eleven in the silliness stakes, because despite that bull being marked, very clearly, in big black capitals as POSEIDON\’S BULL  – DO NOT TOUCH: MORTALS THIS MEANS YOU! Minos raided the divine fridge. Not just a spoonful either.

No, Minos pilfered the entire lot for his very own self.

(Many a courtier was plagued by the sound of nonchalant whistling from the royal chamber for days after, let me tell you!)

Having brazenly stolen from a god, well, as I\’m sure you\’d understand if some uppity git had nicked your gear, King Minos\’ name was mud as far as your average divinity was concerned. So much so that Aphrodite, stunning, beautiful, vindictive, vicious Aphrodite – the lovely lady who emerged from the sea-foam, decided to give King Minos a bit of a slap for his temerity on behalf of her oceanic colleague.

So it was that goddess of love did her thing, wove her way over King Minos lady wife – who since you ask, was named Pasiphae. For if Minos so desperately wanted god-stuff in his life, she\’d give it to him – and how! Gods you see, though they walked among men, were way beyond what most mortals could handle. They sort of made normal life impossible if you bumped into them. Your average mortal just went pop – mad, dead, cursed, or all of the above and worse, times ten.

Let me tell you, many\’s the folks been changed by contact with those things that lie beyond the human world. Divine attention was not necessarily what you wanted. Most kept their head down and made sure they did enough to keep the folks on Olympus pleasantly disinterested. Rare was the individual who stuck their head above the parapet, y\’know?

King Minos however? He\’d not just stuck his head above the parapet. No, he\’d dropped his trousers and hung his naked arse over it for everyone to see. Not, as I\’m sure you\’re aware, the best thing to do when there\’s an inhuman immortal who nurses a grudge looking your way, is it?

So Aphrodite, she caused Pasiphae to find the bull mighty fine, if you know what I mean? If there was anybody around then and there who could make you want a bit of bull in every way you could, and several you couldn\’t but were going to try anyway, it was Aphrodite.

But Pasiphae, she wasn\’t some empty-headed bimbo. No, she was one smart lady, albeit maddened by divinely inspired lust. She knew there were going to be some anatomical…issues. So she commissioned Daedalus – yes, that Daedalus – to make here a hollow cow she could be inside so that the whole business would be…more interesting.

And Daedalus, more of a mechanical genius than Leonardo Da Vinci plus Archimedes, multiplied by the incomparable Montgomery Scott, does so. It\’s a mighty fine cow, for a mighty fine bull, and the inevitable soft focus and seventies soundtrack occurs. In due time, there\’s a child, a sprog, some bullspawn.

These days he\’s mostly known as the Minotaur, but his name is Asterion and his mother loved him very much, despite the head and the tail of the bull poking from his little bastard rump. Now you may think a bit of adultery is a mild punishment for thieving Minos, but there\’s more.

The divine violence wrought on Minos continues, for ickle baby Asterion not only provides a reminder of his wife\’s infidelity and rampant zoophilia, the  little star – for Asterion means \’starry\’- possesses some distinctly inhuman appetites. Asterion you see, grew not by normal human methods of nourishment. Mother\’s milk did not sustain him, no. He grew and grew and grew, becoming huge and terrible and hungry for human flesh.

Such a thing was really rather unpleasant for Minos, as the hungry beast seemed never to be sated, and if there\’s something worse than a bull in a china shop, it\’s a monstrous hybrid spawned by divine ire and lust. So Minos, thoroughly sick of his impossible stepson and his violation of human order, called on the supergenius Daedalus, who built a prison for Asterion in the form of a maze – the Labyrinth.

(You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. They have nothing to do with David Bowie or his sock. Or maybe they do…)

Asterion is killed by Theseus after Minos\’ daughter helps him through the Labyrinth, but that is another tale, to be sure, one which precedes the flight of Icarus. The events continue on, there is never really and end to storytime. It is endless and shifting, nested, layer upon layer, spooled like a ball of twine given to Theseus by Ariadne.

So lets play in storytime.

Imagine yourself in the Labyrinth; at the centre sits the Minotaur Asterion. In the night of the looping tunnels, the enclosed, claustrophobic spaces, air stirs. The echo of his father\’s breath roars past your cheek, warm and stifling.

> N
It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.
> what is a grue?
The grue is a sinister, lurking presence in the dark places of the earth. Its favorite diet is adventurers, but its insatiable appetite is tempered by its fear of light. No grue has ever been seen by the light of day, and few have survived its fearsome jaws to tell the tale.

Is the  Minotaur a grue? A monstrous star in the dark? Why put such a bright thing in the mazelike place? Are you fearful or are you an adventurer? What secrets might Asterion hold, his feasting never finished, his hunger never sated, where might the endless tunnels lead?

The Labyrinth holds endless potential in its darkness, just as the blank page or badge conceal possibilities. If the senses are deprived of things to grasp, what then? A half-seen, twilight world, phantasmal and yet absolutely real and totally immersive when experienced. Such is the stuff of dreams, of hopes, of aspirations and of nightmares.

Incomplete and in total flux, Heraclitan in the extreme.

For those of you who have read The Invisibles, there is a reason I go by VI. The elegant turncoat.

\”I just met the Secret Chiefs of the Invisible Order. They’re as alien as the space between your bloody fingers and I mean that.\”

The space between, the potential multiplicity. What happens if we introduce many gods instead of one, just as an idea, just as play, just as a method of exploration. Play with serious things, like Love and Justice and Honour and Integrity. Especially morality. What if we could imagine that all the gods that were, in a vast company, at a party?

Allah and YHVH discussing literary criticism with Vishnu. Dionysus and Tammuz chewing cornstalks and getting drunk on homebrewed beer? What if, after thousands of years, the Devil picks himself up from his prat-Fall and twirls his Chaplin umbrella? Or Jesus and Astarte nip off into a corner for a spot of tantric sex?

If you don\’t exist, then what\’s wrong with dying? If nothing is what it seems then a thing can be anything and everything. The flesh and blood of man can embody the entire universe, after all – the incomparable vastness of the All present within the space of a hands-span.

Aristotle gets drunk, and IS shifts into SEEMS TO BE. It\’s all bleary and smeared and I LOVE YOU MAN.

Let us experiment rigorously, ruthlessly, for SCIENCE! Let us experience completely and furiously, caught up in the awe and terror of Aphrodite, the rage of the roaring sea  – the hieros gamos – carnal and full of lust.

Experi! Experi! To Try, to Play!

The same word root, the root of being human. And that\’s not human is, it\’s human-seems-to-me! Come dance in the Harlequinade – turn your coat inside out and stand on your head.

\”The Invisibles is an immune program: triggered by the Barbelith buoy when the game crashed and embedded the player.\”

Do you know something? I never had an invisible friend as a child.

Would you like to come and play with us? We\’ll back in time for tea.

Be seeing you.