Archive for January, 2013


There\’s a conspiracy afoot; mutterings and deals done by implication and whispering in a secret twilight language. Slips rope around your neck and yokes you to its own purposes, jerks you around like a marrionette. Even if you see the strings, you have very little chance of clambering up to see who\’s doing the pulling.

Unlike Jack.

You know Jack – everyone knows him. Knows how he sold his mother\’s cow for a handful of magic beans. Magic. Beans. How crap is that?

Imagine, you\’re so damn poor that you can\’t eat, can\’t even feed the cow which used to keep you alive. You are irrevocably screwed. This goes beyond stomach sticking to ribs territory

This is the Hunger curling like a beast around your bones, slicing away muscle, sucking you dry so that all you can do is stare hollow-eyed at the way the world seems to shift and twist like a live thing.

It\’s the Hunger that\’s grating your brain into fine powder, leaving thoughts as faint ghosts or hard, serrated knives that stab in you in time with the fanged spikes driven into your gut. It\’s Hunger that breathes mockery and foulness, swells your belly in violation of usual concepts of fullness.

Pain and weakness unending, leaving you stumbling and staggering – complexity becomes impossible as you dehydrate and waste away, bones tight against your skin. Famine peels off, surges ahead of his brothers to greet you with your own personal Apocalypse, your own revelation. You know Death is coming soon after – hell, you can see Him coming up from the Down Below every time you look in the mirror.

Riding up through flesh, patient and inexorable, becoming more and more visible as the day goes by. Even the fear of Him becomes attenuated, stretching thinner and thiner as the minutes slide into hours, slide into days. The hiss of sand in the hourglass becomes soothing, a familiar sound, ever-present as you count your last breaths.

Things narrow, and your last piece of focus, your last act is one of sacrifice – you must give up everything that maintained your life up to now. Must break the cycle, and gain new-minted coin to take you into a new world.

And Jack gets you Magic. Bloody. Beans.

It\’s all you can do not to kill him. In fact, you would kill him, had you the strength. But you\’re so damn weak, all you can do is gape at him, as he tells you the story:

As, says he, I led our beloved cow to market with my stomach all a-grumbling and a-growling. As I led her along the road to who knows where – whether it be green field, or red slaughterhouse – I chanced upon a traveller coming the other way. Richly dressed he was, in a tall black hat and bright be-ribboned clothes of the finest silk, and though he was wealthy, he walked while juggling three golden balls like a common clown.

I smiled at him politely, mindful of the need to get to market, and headed on my way. Yet, as we passed, he called out. \”Master Jack!\” said he. \”Why do you take this cow to market?\”

I stopped. \”You have the advantage of me, sir – you know me and yet you are unfamilliar. I take this beast to market for cold, hard coin.\”

He smiled and bowed, \”I thought as much – for you walk llike a scarecrow with knees all knobbly and face all thin. Allow me to introduce myself – I am Dr. Wolfkopf, conjurer and thaumaturgist exraordinare!\”

\”Begging your pardon doctor,\” I said, \”But I know of conjuring, yet naught of this thauma-whatsit. Pray tell…\”

\”Pray tell? Pray tell! Oh lad, you are a caution. A veritable caution. I am a thaumaturgist – a worker of wonders!\” He smiled widely. \”I take dreams and make them into coins, and take coin for making dreams!\”

He scratched Old Bessie on the nose and between the ears. \”Tell me master Jack, what is it that you dream of?\”

\”Why, a full belly!\” I said immediately, then a little later lest our beloved cow be upset, \”And a fine home for old Bessie, of course.\”

\”This I could do, and easily,\” said the doctor. \”But you have no coin…\” He brightened. \”Yet this old cow would fetch a pretty penny, no? Let\’s take out the middle man, young master Jack – I have need of milk, and you food. For her, I\’ll give you a full belly and riches beside. No coin needed.\”

What was I supposed to do? Jack asks you innocently.

Doomed and raging, too weak to really scream, you toss those damned beans away. You turn your face away from foolish Jack, and wait for death..

But you know how the story goes – you know about the beanstalk and the castle in the clouds. You know about the blood and the fee-fie-fo-fum, and grinding bones to make bread. You know about the golden goose and the fleeing from the realms above with gleaming wealth and fortune from magical wisdom.

You know the axe and the tumbling, falling tree-which-isn\’t-only-a-beanstalk. You know how Jack The Lad becomes Jack the Giant Killer – most feared slayer of monsters. You know the power and wisdoms of the giants and the other folks, the neighbours who don\’t live in the same time-stream as you.

All these you know by instinct – and so every once in a while, you find yourself asking, where have all the heroes gone? Where have all the bone-knowings gone, all the feelings and truths that you knew in childhood, before the world told you to shape up and fit into the normal skin.

You start to wonder if they never existed – or if they were \’just\’ stories.

So let me reassure you – you are indeed a victim of a conspiracy. Someone\’s pulling your strings, jerking you around. Click the link to embiggen the picture if you don\’t believe me.




Someone once said:

The border between the Real and the Unreal is not fixed, but just marks the last place where rival gangs of shamans fought each other to a standstill.

And that\’s an interesting thought to have, because if part of being a shaman is bringing back knowledge, in shaping and maintaining your people\’s relationship with In Here and Out There, then there\’s got to be story-telling involved. Storytelling is the transmission of culture, after all. Those who want to win a war often do so through shadow operations, pulling the strings from behind the scenes, acting through proxies. It\’s easier and more effective than a shooting match or a stand-up battle. Just have a look at how media influences politics, as I\’ve suggested many times before.

Remember how Jack cuts down the beanstalk, fells the tree? He seals the realm of the clouds away, burns the bridge between heaven and earth. You ask where all the heroes have gone – those human-divine hybrids, those children of gods, those changelings? These princes of the damn universe? Just think of that war for a second – think of a struggle that\’s so big, so complex that it isn\’t a war at all, that even the notion of friend and enemy begins to blur, if there was ever a distinction.

The advertisers and politicians Banksy and I have mentioned? They\’re using language and emotion to jerk you around, to manipulate your behaviour, but most of them are like extremely clever children aping absent parents. Because honestly, as with all conspiracies, there\’s another layer.

They say the greatest trick the Devil pulled was convincing people he didn\’t exist. Equally, they say that Punch beats the Devil – gets the Prince of Darkness kicking and swinging in the noose, while our favourite hunchback clown runs cackling into the night. Maybe you can hear that unmistakeable voice even now, nasal and grating: \”That\’s the way to do it!\”

He\’s right. Bend over – here it comes again, the Tragical Comedy.

They\’re just stories – they\’re not real, or so they\’d have you believe. Which is shorthand for Stories don\’t matter.

They don\’t matter, they\’re not real, so they can\’t have an effect.


Ask anyone who\’s ever been a child. Ask anyone who has had recurring nightmares. Ask anyone who has PTSD. Ask anyone who\’s been betrayed, or in love. Ask anyone who has been inspired.

Stories can hijack your flesh, can make you do things that no effort of your rational, conscious mind can prevent. They can even make people kill, can make people love. Yet you\’re told again and again that they don\’t matter. It doesn\’t matter that people live their lives by them, following their whims. Doesn\’t matter at all.

Stories are for entertainment purposes only. Don\’t mind as we make you want the latest product or shape your self-esteem. Those stories you tell yourself, your natural tendency to create narrative – it\’s not important, just cede the storytelling to us. You haven\’t lost anything.

But we haven\’t forgotten the war, have we:

Subtle! Subtle!
They become formless.
Mysterious! Mysterious!
They become soundless.
Therefore, they are the masters of the enemy\’s fate. – Sun Tzu

Imagine then, that they do this by degrees. Piece by piece they slide into the roles of entertainer and mountebank, of juggler. Until at last, the disgust and disbelief sets in. They vanish, slowly, surely from the world of man. First the heroes become \”nothing but stories.\” and then the storytellers slip away in their rags, unwanted and unlooked for.

They fade away, appearing only as anomalous figures, shades and nomads, moving like restless ghosts.

Magic. Bloody. Beans.

Here you are, starving for meaning; struggling to make sense of things, to scratch that itch, to fill that damn hole, wondering where the heroes have gone, and Jack goes and gets you magic beans. Worthless damn beans, worth less than a cup of over-priced  coffee in one of the endless corporate coffee-shops that fill your streets.

Jack\’s a Big Gorram Hero. The Giant-Slayer needs magic beans. Without the beans, without the magic cloak, he\’s nothing. All a damn pipedream, really. Just a story.

Except, if you know your wizards, pipe smoking isn\’t that out of character.  Neither is juggling. Bait and switch is bread and butter, y\’know? Because the heart of the conspiracy is this – even the word magic is a smokescreen. The notion that you can cut down the beanstalk, seal off the place where the Neighbours live, is wishful thinking.

The  Storyteller knows their weapons – they fought the first and only war, and know it isn\’t about winning or losing. They could tell you where the heroes have gone – they have drinks with them every night.

Yes. It is a conspiracy. From conspire. Which is an act of union – a breathing together.

You know the doctor, passing out his pills, his poultices. You know the doctor, the physician – the Miracle Man who can make you better. You know the power of a uniform; the white coat, or the medal encrusted chest – the badge and staff of office. The door\’s been slammed shut, the stars are no longer right, and yet you still have the knowing.

And they\’ve been shaping it, bending it to their own ends, for generations – cultivating, culturing you. Whispering about \”Good\” and \”Evil\”, trying to lock down this or that – to divide the In Here and Out There into their own petty fiefdoms.


Or maybe they retreated without retreating at all. Maybe the storytellers aren\’t in on the conspiracy at all. Maybe it\’s you that have been conspiring together, breathing as one?

Maybe you don\’t want to see the world as it really is, so you\’ve given what you have quite freely, so that things make sense. Think about Jack The Lad, being given the beans. Without them, he would never have climbed the beanstalk. Without the travelling doctor giving him those magic things, Jack would have sold the cow for coin, and when he did that, he and his mother would have perished when it ran out.

Instead, the good doctor Wolf-head – for that\’s what Wolfkopf means – broke the pattern, and changed things. That\’s what magicians and heroes do.

Magic. Bloody. Beans.

The ordinary turned extra-ordinary, that breaks the pattern. The mortal turned immortal – the lead turned to gold.

Time to grow your own, kids.


This too shall pass.

There is a story that when Moses was small, everybody loved him – and why wouldn\’t they? The Pharaoh\’s Daughter loved him as her own, this miracle prince that had been delivered to her by the Nile, source of all life. Everyone admired this handsome baby, even Pharaoh kissed his head and dandied him on his knee. Think about that for a second:

The living god, embodiment of the sun, ruler of all Egypt, called this child beautiful. The being who kept the kosmos of the world going, called this child special. He loved Moses.

Now, for the Egyptians, the kosmos was quite simply As Above, So Below. The Nile was the source of all life and being – its waters rose and fell, dictating the rhythm of the civilisation like a heartbeat. It was there, in their blood, in their bone and breath. Even the name, Khem meant \’The Black Land\’, for its soil was made black and fertile by the Nile\’s inundation.

So when the Egyptians raised their faces to the heavens and gave thanks to the gods, they not only saw the sun, but the god there, with them. When the sun set, when the glorious bright being began his nightly sojourn through the underworld along the Nile, they saw far more than we. Without the light pollution we have today, the stars were bright; millions of them shining in the heavenly vault, and winding through them was the ribbon of Milky Way – or perhaps, more accurately – winding through the infinite darkness was the Nile.

We are not speaking of representation or symbol – the peeling away, the notion that meaning operates at one remove. The Galactic River did not symbolise the Nile, or vice versa.

They were identical. A name was a person, and a person was their name. The Pharoah was Re, was the Sun, was Osiris/Assur. They were each other. Numinous beings all the way up, and down.

Imagine then, that you are a court counsellor, a priest-sorcerer schooled in the Mysteries. You understand the nuances and shifts in a way that uninitiated do not. You speak from your heart, your essence. You interpret dreams and manipulate Heka, the magical quality which infuses all things.

You see the Pharaoh as man and god both, with no dissonance at all. You know the man\’s actions are guided by the bright sun within him – you see the shining serpent wisdom gleam between his brows. You know the man must die, as the sun must set, to rise again – ever immortal. You understand, for you have seen the feather of Ma\’at and the dark twin of it in Mut\’s vulture plumage. You have heard the laughter of the grey wolf and the jackal; the wisdom unveiled by the Opener Of The Mouth.

You have listened to the scorpion, when it tells tales of how Isis/Aset gathered up the pieces of her beloved husband from the places where Sutekh had scattered them, and how she learned Re\’s secret name. How she used the knowledge of the name of the Hidden Sun to re-member her brother-husband, to make him whole once more.

You see the stars and know each is an immortal soul, an akh existing in its perfect fullness, requiring naught but itself. You have dressed gods and stripped them naked. You have pressed your flesh against theirs, eaten them up and laid in the beds of their handmaids. You have heard the voice of them amidst the sweet songs of praises, felt the truth of those words, the ineffable  quality there that set things in their proper places.

All this you have done,  and you know too the power of the Lord Of The Red Desert – the spear-carrier who slays Osiris and Apep both. You have felt Sutekh pass close in the hot wind, seen the power of his staff, gifted and mirrored to all the other gods in the was sceptre that all carry.

You have held conference with your colleague, who tells you he dreams of another life, another name, further down the River. He whispers a name:

Ankh-ef-en-Khonsu. He who lives for Khonsu – the traveller, the son of Mut.

Far and wide, like his lord, that priest walks, far downstream, near the end of things. He walks beside the Nile beneath the hawk\’s cry, smelling ash on the wind as the conquerors slowly but surely bring the Black Land to its knees. There, in that dream within in a dream, he watches the shining marble that clads the Pyramids crack and flake  – the gleam and shine of the immortal stars is stolen from the land, revealing only pitiless blank stone beneath. The fields are salted, the bright colours and Names hewn into living rock are eroded and broken, amidst a landscape of ruins and half-buried monoliths – the temples closed and shuttered.

Still onwards presses the traveller, heart heavy as he stalks unfamilliar streets, the Mysteries veiled in coarse shouts promising wonders in exchange for coin.  The  Hellenes and the Hyksos long gone now, invaders shifting like the tide in the Nile, swallowed up by Time, wisdoms as shining things cloaked in crude clay and dust.

On and on the nomad goes, turning and turning in the widening gyre; the spinning vortex, the rushing rapids of river-torrent. His heart mourns, each beat a wounding, each pulse a terrible spike of restlessness. Here, now, you feel the knowledge of it scratching at the back of your tongue like a stylus engraving; meat instead of wax, flesh instead of papyrus, blood instead of ink. The bitterness sluices through you, the redness staining all your fluids, poisoning all your waters like a plague.


Yet still you listen, still you must have the knowing of it, because otherwise, how may you offer counsel to your king? How otherwise may you lend and blend your arts to strengthen the kingdom, to pursue Ma\’at in whatever form her beauty may manifest?

He speaks with hushed voice, like wind whispering in the reeds – as if he fears the Great Devourer might surface in the river and pull him down, rolling, spinning; twisting and biting with its ancient jaws, gulping his souls down in an unending death-roll. As if his horrific journey might leave him torn in two, cloven apart and dispersed, forgotten in a howling gale.

The Nile rises and falls as ever, tombs broken open – the vehicles of the immortals ground up and consumed by hungry beasts, or imprisoned behind glass, to be slowly burned away to nothingness by a million hungry eys. Alien tongues stumble, corrupt and twist the language of the gods as smoke blots out the sky and clanking metal beasts tear across landscapes.

Through it all, the hawk screams, king of naught but desolation – and yet, the dreamer dreams  hands upon his thread, fingering the weave with curiosity. They reach out, fragments of Mystery arranged like potsherds, grasping for him, trying to feel the fibre of the dream\’s fabric, to pull back the curtain and reveal the will, the beingness of Ma\’at.

Cold stone and darkness as the hawk screams, like an enraged and gleeful child. The dream thickens and then, the fragments begin to gleam like whitest marble. Pyramid luminescence  shines out, the memory of reflected star-light all about him. Rising, like the sun, to emerge from the fragmentary darkness into somewhere new despite the horror.

He sees them grubbing through the dust, picking over the corpse of the Kingdom, digging in the dry soil, trying to crack it open to find the fertility beneath. He hears the echo then, sees them call on half-remembered gods, barely put together enough to find the essence of the names. Yet call they do, and it is the call that follows the River\’s course, bending back upon itself.

He sees himself in new flesh, this dream of a dreamer seeing the light within his eyes. The innocent light, all unrestrained, childlike and as immortal as the fixed stars. Fear ripples down the River bank, as if someone has tossed a stone beneath the waters. It laps at, and through both of them.

The light grows. It burns all things, the wind of its wings scouring skin from bones as the crowned and conquering child swoops in all hawk-headed.

All knew then, he says to you, in that dryest whisper. All within the dream perceived the prophecy – a million years of darkness, where even the stars were cloaked, where even the immortals hid their faces.  A million years of light, so long hidden, now unleashed in one moment – swelling to immensity from a single seed, as inescapable as Sekhmet, devouring all who comes before her. No escape from such light, do you understand? All reduced to ash, that glitters like the stars.

You understand of course. Even if you have not seen it, not known it as the dreamer knew it, you understand because you too have followed the River. You too have looked up at night and seen the stars, each one gleaming down upon you. You know of the sun, and the moon, and time and tide. of the secrets you keep, and the dreams you have, even when you don\’t remember them.

You know and you  understand this, and all that has gone before, because you\’ve stood in the throne room, watching Pharaoh dandy Moses on his knee, seen his chubby fingers reach for the golden crown, innocent and playful. You don\’t even have to imagine the chill racing up your spine, because it\’s always there, with the hair rising up on the back of your neck, as you recognise hidden things revealing themselves, yes?

Think about it, the echoes of someone else\’s dream still chilling you to the bone, folding together – disparate parts meeting and knitting themselves into the proper place, allowing you to remember, even now…

…Even now as you can see the child on the king\’s knee, the hawk stretching forth its talons…

So perhaps it\’s unsurprising that you\’re worried for things. After all, you don\’t want everything burned to ash – so you advise that the child be executed. One death, to avert a frankly horrific course of events. It\’s supremely logical, and you wouldn\’t be a proper counsellor if you didn\’t warn the king.

But of course, if Moses  had been killed as a child, then, well frankly, things would be very different. In an effort to preserve the child\’s life, so the story goes, his future father-in-law suggested that they put him to the test, to see if he understood what it was that he was doing.

Two piles were erected, one of gold, and the other of hot coals. It was determined that if the child reached for the gold, he had understanding, and if for the coals, he had none, and would survive. This was done, and Moses promptly reached towards the gold!

Fortunately for the Hebrews, and Moses (!), the angel Gabriel intervened, moving the gold away from the child and put the hot coal in Moses hand instead, which a surprised baby put into his mouth, as babies are wont to do. Needless to say, this burnt the child quite badly, and it is for this reason that Moses was said to be \’slow of speech\’ and let his brother do the talking.

Angels, eh?

But do you remember this?:

\”I am Moses your prophet to whom you have transmitted your mysteries celebrated by Israel; you have revealed the moist and the dry and all nourishment; hear me.\”

Or this:

\”…I am the mighty one who possesses the immortal fire; I am the truth who hates the fact that unjust deeds are done in the world; I am the one that makes the lightning flash and the thunder roll; I am the one whose sweat is the heavy rain which falls upon the earth that it might be inseminated; I am the one whose mouth is utterly aflame.\”

Remember the Crowned & Conquering Child of Thelema? Remember that the Crowley version of the above rite is said to be a pre-requisite for the Knowledge & Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel? You know, the thing that sets you off on the Great Work?

All these pieces, all these parts coming together, knitting into their proper place…running down down the river, with the ebbs and flows, the times and tides. The land fertilised by the great inundation of the Nile – Isis re-membering Osiris, bringing back the risen sun.

(Numinous beings all the way down, and up.)

And we can\’t forget Gabriel can we? The messenger of good news, the blower of the last trump. The angel of resurrection and judgement – and, what\’s this? The angel of Elemental Water in the Western Mystery Tradition, but associated with Fire in Jewish mysticism…

Fire upon the deep.  Have you ever seen water burn, or fire flow?

(\’The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.)

Careful now, lest you slide too far down the serpent\’s spine – get too carried away by the intoxicating liquor, drunk on the burning fluid, the cross-roads of Atziluth, Briah, pouring down, shaped by Yetzirah. Temperance is a virtue, but being tee-total is a vice!

Perhaps, as they say, Osiris is a black god – recall the scorpion\’s tale? Recall the venom with which Isis stung Old Man Re, until she had the secret of his Hidden Name?

There are whispers that Gabriel once gave Solomon a ring, a ring that gave him great wisdom, and it is with this wisdom that the great king could command demons and set them to build the Temple. They say Gabriel leads the soul down its path to the body, sliding in through the gate in the back of your head, lit by the light of the moon.

And Osiris sits in the Western Lands…

Pieces, fragments, all coming together, each part a potential path to the whole – for every man and woman is a star; be it supernova or black hole, blazing light or endless darkness, you are a star. You are Hadit, hiding at the heart of every atom, the centre of every circle. You are Behadet – the winged and risen sun that sits atop the staff of Hermes.

Have you seen a rainbow in the dark of the night? Seen the colours gleam, suddenly unveiled in a the wing of a carrion bird?


Bifrost bridges the gap between men and gods – the Rainbow Serpent writhes through the waters, slides down the Tree.

(IEOU PYR IOU IAŌT IAĒŌ IOOU ABRASAX SABRIAM OO YY EY OO YY ADŌNAIE, immediately, immediately, good messenger of God)

Papa Legba ouvri bayé pou mwen, ago é!
Atibon Legba ouvri bayé pou mwen,
Ouvri bayé pou mwen papa, pou m pasé,
Le\’m retounen map remesi lwa yo.

Being the messenger, the doorkeeper and storyteller, one can only lead. The choice is yours as to when exactly you will come forth and follow!

This too shall pass.

All I can do is whisper, show you the pieces and demonstrate the strange unity behind it all – to reveal as best I can the transitory nature of identity and flesh and bone, of the flux of thought and form, to show that the end is the beginning. To show that the whole may be found in any and all of the parts. To return you to the water that dissolves and creates. The water that burns and freezes to smoking breath beyond stage or state.

Fire, water, air and earth – elements all, pieces arranged in myriad different ways for infinite variety. The periodic table, full of elements too, born of stars.  There is no Great Work, but You. You are your Magnum Opus – the currents and movements of your life are yours and yours alone, and you cannot stop them. You cannot halt the river – cannot dam the Celestial Nile, cannot slay the serpent without being poisoned and changed by its blood.

You are Whole, by being a part. You are a member of some great body, some particle of supernova, a twinkle in the eye of the All. Play your part to the hilt – cease doing and start Being. You have all the pieces. Trust me.