This isn’t for you. This isn’t for you, if you dream of wealth and power. This isn’t for you if you want to experience a transcendent reality that will allow you to escape your woes and live in bliss. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, all right?

Because I what I am going to talk about now is dirty. It’s black and hard and cold and inescapable. It’ll break and remake you into something different. Something that not everyone is going to like, because it will bring change to the way you think and feel. It will drive you to crave a kind of absolute being, to do it or die. I’m saying this now, up front, so you can’t tell me I gave you any false promises, that I didn’t warn you about this road.

Are we clear? Are we clear that this is something to pursue without mercy, without flinching? Are we clear that you will gain strength and wisdom from sources others regard as nothing more than useless waste? Do you understand that what I’m going to share with you?

Maybe you do, or maybe you merely want to. It doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is sharing this, in giving you the bare bones of it, because it is needful to do so. Because there is more to the world than is permitted by our culture. Because somewhere, in the night, in the wilderness, in the desert of their lives, someone is crying out. Someone needs this, even these fragments. Maybe it’s you. Maybe not.

Nevertheless, this must be done.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.\”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.  I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. – Ezekiel 37:4-9

Imagine, for a moment, that you can do this. That you can stir life where there was none before, put meat on bones and give people new lives.

Imagine you knew some Art, some skill of taking the divine breath, the animating spirit, and giving it to things. Or perhaps imagine, as you breathe, as you take the breath into your lungs, that you are but one part of the vast web of life which connects all things. Imagine that you could manipulate that breath, that force, could wield it like a weapon, to harm or heal?

Imagine if that Art, that use of breath was the very thing that drove both poets and kings, heroes and monsters. That shaped dreams and laid low your enemies, summoned spirits and brought you to the tables of the gods themselves? Perhaps even an Art which inspired every inventive, creative, curious act that the species had ever performed?

Inspiration. Yes. Just that – and the Art is the use of the same, the use of that principle which makes cells divide, makes hearts beat and stars burn. The principle that drives your lungs like bellows fanning the flame of your existence. And what an Art it is, that allows you to modulate your breath and body, to sing songs and tell stories!

To speak and place your thoughts, your emotions, your pictures in someone else’s mind, irrespective of distance. If they sense this Art, you may touch them!

That’s the poetic part – the shimmering vision conjured into being for you. It may seem airy-fairy, but if you’ve ever been caught by the wind, you know what I mean. You know that the wind knifes and burns, carries the cold in to steal your breath. You know how you want to hurry to shelter, to get out of its grip, to be shielded against its howling fury.

Maybe some of you have experienced a tornado, or even a hurricane or blizzard. What could you do, except hunker down and wait for it to pass?

“I said now, no hidin\’ place
When the water start boilin\’, no hidin\’ place
World catch on fire, no hidin\’ place
Down here, no hidin\’ place
Yeah, I went to the rock to hide my face
But the rock cried out no, no, no, no hidin\’ place down here.”

Nothing to do, but pray, to hope for the best, that your life wouldn’t be torn apart by forces you could never, ever hope to control. Forces that were here, long before any creature crawled out of the ocean. Forces against which the strongest nations, the richest 1% were as helpless as the poorest homeless person. So it’s not about how powerful you are, or how weak. How rich, or poor.

All those are part of the bulwarks of culture, the walls of the house we erect against the storm, or the creeping knowledge that we’re all going to end up as dust and void eventually.

And what of that Art? The Art that can take anything and use it to make you thrive. The Art that is afragile, that takes the inescapable and thrives on it?

Me, I call that blackest sorcery there is. The kind that will get you what you need, in situations where others are totally, utterly lost. Where they have no frame of reference because they’re not in Kansas any more, and they turn to you, because you can open doors and make things happen.

You can guide them in the dark, because you gave up trying to see like them years ago. Because you rely on a different sense, that faculty of Art which allows you to increase your influence, to manipulate circumstances in your favour, and the favour of those you care about.

The Art that understands that though you may think you need to go There & Back Again, you don’t and indeed, you can’t.

There is no escape.

So, this is the introduction to a series of posts which lay out the bare bones of that Art, to the basic skills you’ll need, and things you’ll need to think about, if you want to incorporate and use storytelling in your magic/spiritual work. It’s the bare bones because it needs doing and I haven’t seen any other magicians other than Alan Moore & Grant Morrison touch this with a damn barge pole, and even then not practically. When I am told that people want more than these posts, I shall share more – though not necessarily for free.

I say that because there is value to this, and because I can teach this stuff. But I have to be asked – them’s the rules.

See you on Wednesday for the next post.