Archive for the ‘ Kosmic Gnosis ’ Category

Cold Albion Abides


Imagine something stirring, shifting as it raises a hoary head. It huffs awake, breath simultaneously freezing and burning, and with rolling eyes and crack of jaw being opened we may see a tongue feverishly slither over dolmen-teeth. We may feel something stir in the fields, under the skin of valleys; rivers may flex in their beds and giants stir in their cliffs-beds.

Folks from all walks of life may begin to feel something stir in their bones as the pressures of life and the uncertainties of the future begin to gather on the horizons like ominous stormclouds. Some of those feeling the stirrings of something old and and terrible might try the old words out for size. Words like sovereignty, phrases like will of the people, making things great again. 

They might employ language, thought and image, to reawaken dark dreams of so-called purity and to summon up the root-stock of imperialism. Or they might speak of the times and tides of myriads of incomers absorbed into this land over the aeons, of inventiveness and the glorious variety which enriches us all.

Apparently wise and distant commentators might put the source of such a sudden profusion of narratives down to fear, down to a longing for some imagined golden age when everything was Right and Good – a nostalgia which is is being whipped up by various agents on all sides of the political spectrum, whether cynically or within a grounding  of fanaticism. Perhaps it is furthered by good-hearted folk swept up by tides of emotion and sentiment, who are so entranced by the felt-sense of being part of something larger that they fail to see the consequences.


Perhaps some, feeling this connection, this swelling of rawer experience, use its justification to embrace tribalism and primitivism, flirting coquettishly with savagery like unaffected tourists enjoying disaster tourism, right up until disaster irrupts into their lives – until they are unable to deny that some portion of the multitudinous hordes of Others, those barbarians they fear touches them and contaminates their own idea of purity.


Yet, in the face of the cracking of the veneer of so-called civilization, where climate change and surety of access to necessary resources combines with political uncertainty to create a heady cocktail of fear, uncertainty and anger, the roots remain embedded in the land. The land, and its Powers and Presences, remains. The stars, the cold night above, these remain, just as they always did, describing their own shapes and paths in Kosmic journeys which pull this planet along in train. The emmanations and radiations of such heavenly bodies bombard us with cosmic rays, absorbed by the atmosphere we are slowly poisoning.

While we may be now capable of disrupting the planet\’s own rhythms faster than ever before, we are still incapable of disrupting the stars in any meaningful fashion. To view ourselves as apart from the ever-living Pandaemonic kosmos is our fatal mistake – to view ourselves as not subject to the rhythms of our planet is not only the height of arrogance, but manifestly mistaken. This mistake is being corrected, slowly but surely, by circumstances.

Survival always has been about working within the interplay of these rhythms, In making use of one flow of energy to achieve another goal before feeding back the result. In order to do this, we must acknowledge that their are things larger than us, indisputably capable of disrupting our apparent environment.

Cries of sovereignty, urges to make things Great again? These are understandable reactions – urges to reassert the authority of a pre-existing order which is being confronted with a threat it cannot force to kotow. A stirring of giants, which are larger than the reductionisms of modernity and its children, a Hydra of chaotic complexity which erupts from beneath a mere half millennium of accreted arrogance.


A friend asked why British folklore and myth seemed resurgent. There are, of course, many reasons, but one of them is that myth and folklore develops out of the interaction between human and environment. The less certain, or wilder the environment becomes, the less certain a hegemony of a particular inflammation of perception becomes. People once again return to stories and narratives of the weird and strange because they are and were engendered when there were other ways of seeing and being.

Localized strains of epistemology compete for usefulness – the prominence of a particular epistemological oeuvre which has distinct localized origin combined with the legacy of colonialism is understandable when the political class appear to be awaking old reactionary dreams which provided justification for that same colonialism.

Yet, on a psycho-spiritual level, we might argue that despite competing dreams, what remains is not the immune response, but that which inspires it.

Whether that of fascistic isolationism or massively ableist so-called \”Green\” primitivism, or the wiser Albionic invocation and evocation of Foolish People\’s Armageddon Gospels, or the sidereal folkloric histories and ways of Hookland, and even the biting social satire of Scarfolk Council – all of these are inspired by memory and experience which was engendered by the interaction with the land and its human inhabitants.

These same inhabitants are shaped by their own histories, their own memories and stories, to act and react in certain ways, generating more stories which shape how the land and its Presences and Powers are reacted to.

This land has seen many a giant-killer in its time, and yet there\’s always one more that escapes. As a long distant cousin to young Jack the lad, Cornish giant-killer extraordinare, I know this as one Cornishman to another. Hell, even Odin didn\’t cull them all in Norse myth, and often tested his wisdom against theirs.

Reaching past and through the second hand stories to interact with the place we dwell, to live our lives by participating in  its rhythms, even if it\’s the things and beings in your house, your garden, your streets. To tell our own stories to each other, and understand how they interlink with the places and people we have been with, are with, and may yet be with.  To sit and feel and know that which manifests in our minds and bodies is to also do so with our environments; teeth filled with local isotypes, thirst quenched by coffee from distant lands brought from a local business who tells tales of the local farmers he interacts with on distant journey, brewed with water that has been drawn through local soil.

\”In such societies, the sacred and the mundane are not easily distinguished and may not even be seen as separable from one another. The land is often seen as being infused with the sacred history of the people living on it. It may, for example, contain metaphysical creation stories, such as those of a valley being formed from a god’s footprint, or a cliff being an ancient spirit turned to stone.

The community sees itself as sharing the landscape with the local flora and fauna, the dwelling places of their dead ancestors, and the sanctuaries of spirits and gods.

Stories and taboos are then used to explain and preserve this relationship between people, their history, and the seen and unseen landscape.

As a result, mundane farming techniques, political rituals, hunting practices, day-to-day life and interactions with the unseen go hand in hand. Mythology and history have no clear dividing line…Law, religion, and morality similarly are entwined with traditions and taboos that serve to maintain social and (the perceived) natural order.\”

– Ascending the Steps to Hliðskjálf The Cult of Óðinn in Early Scandinavian Aristocracy, Joshua Rood



The reason I have long witten about this, the reason I have called this place, this space and conflux of ideas, COLD ALBION is because it draws people in – one cannot exist with it passively. It is in interaction with that which inspires myth and folklore that we are nourished, that we may, if we are so inclined, develop and participate in rhythms and Mysteries which provide a continual upwelling and nourishment for the Soul. In an interconnected world, the nourishment of one, ultimately, leads to the nourishment of others – because one cannot survive without others.

So while uncertainties breed, and the complexities of chaos mathematics are revealed and show an interconnected world to those with eyes to see, our only certainty is in that same primordial ever-changing complexity which we inhabit and participate every day.

Albion abides. It was here before demagoguery. It was here before empires. It nourishes its inhabitants in subtle ways most do not notice, and for those who do, layer after layer of those who have gone before speak the lie to fixed eternities and civilizations. Its raw existence, its power to inspire exists without exertion.

To steal from two great creative forces, William Blake and J Michael Strazcynski, if the giant Albion were to speak I suspect it would echo the words of the inscrutable Ambassador Kosh in the tv show Babylon 5:

\”I have always been here.\”

It\’s also intriguing in this vein to consider his words to Captain Sheridan on repeated occasions, who can be seen as a metaphor for King Arthur in a fallen Camelot:

\”You have always been here.\”

As manifestation and agent of the Land, Arthur as sacral monarch who does not die but will awaken when needed, echoes various King in the Mountain myths, returning to the Land only to awaken at a special or needful time. Over and over again, mythic time is held to be that space-time which nourishes and regenerates in new, endlessly changing forms.

Eternity is endless spiralling flux.

Albion abides. The pavement cracks, the forest revealed in city streets and farms and valleys alike.

Then, when he had all the knowledge he needed, all the secret places, all
the unspoken promises, all the wished and fleshed depressions, the power
that lurked … surged free.
(It had been there all along.)
(Since the dawn of time, it had been there.)
(It had always existed.)

The universe moves toward godhood. It started there and it wishes to
return there.

— Harlan Ellison, \”The Region Between\”

Albion abides. Be seeing you.


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.)\"Lookc. 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 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.)\"Lookearly 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\”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.)\"LookOld 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.)\"LookOld 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.

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.


(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. 


Mother and Child. A primordial Mystery.

Think on that, perhaps.

Cast Down and Raised Up


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!


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.) \"Look1530s, \”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.) \"Look1820, \”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


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.) \"Look1520s, 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.) \"Looklate 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.


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.) \"Look1530s, \”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.


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.


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.)\"Look1560s, 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:

So. There I am, minding my own business, lying in my sickbed, surfing the painkiller tides, on Wednesday.  And what happens? I see Gordon post about Kingliness and Jupiter, and fall into reading a nice little back and forth betwixt him and Jason Miller here, and here. You should probably read them, because they\’re good posts with valid points, and if you\’re into those points, go and buy The Chaos Protocols and Financial Sorcery respectively. Then, for the triple? Get Money Magic: Mastering Prosperity in its True Element, by Frater UD.

Pipe those into your brainmeat, and then watch as your perception of influence gets reshaped. Because, quite succinctly, it\’s not about the money. (I don\’t get paid for plugging books, for one.)

Anyway, I\’m lying in bed on Wednesday, and I\’m reading the back and forth when, as sometimes happens, I find myself propelled into the realms of synchronicity – the Cosmic Coincidence Control Centre spoken of by Robert Anton Wilson seems to spend time favouring me with high density bursts of Meaning, every so often.

Dozing every now and then between the paragraphs, I found my mind drawn to a line from Tacitus that, if you\’re a Heathen, gets thrown about, quite a bit:

Mercury is the deity whom they chiefly worship, and on certain days they deem it right to sacrifice to him even with human victims. Hercules and Mars they appease with more lawful offerings. Tacitus, Germania

The barbarian Germanic tribes, being uncivilized oiks in the eyes of the Romans, didn\’t worship Jupiter. Instead, they chiefly worshipped Mercury – a figure that scholars generally agree was some Continental Wodan/Woden/Odin analogue, with Mars being Tyr/Tiw, and Hercules being Thor/Thunor/Donar  (it\’s the club/hammer, see?)

No Jupiter for them. Instead, we have a rather different scenario – note the remark about lawful offerings? Their chief deity enjoys offerings which are unlawful to the Romans, which isn\’t too far a stretch to regarding it as criminal. Now granted, this is almost certainly the classic blood-libel against outsiders, but still, there\’s something here.


It\’s something that\’s puzzled scholars for many a year too. After all, linguistically, Tyr is closer to Zeus – suggesting a Sky-Fatherdom might have been part of Indo-Europeam mythemes until something shifted:

Tuesday (n.)\"Lookthird day of the week, Old English tiwesdæg, from Tiwes, genitive of Tiw \”Tiu,\” from Proto-Germanic *Tiwaz \”god of the sky,\” the original supreme deity of ancient Germanic mythology, differentiated specifically as Tiu, ancient Germanic god of war, from PIE *deiwos \”god,\” from root *dyeu- \”to shine\” (see diurnal). Compare Old Frisian tiesdei, Old Norse tysdagr, Swedish tisdag, Old High German ziestag.

The day name (second element dæg, see day) is a translation of Latin dies Martis (source of Italian martedi, French Mardi) \”Day of Mars,\” from the Roman god of war, who was identified with Germanic Tiw (though etymologically Tiw is related to Zeus), itself a loan-translation of Greek Areos hemera. In cognate German Dienstag and Dutch Dinsdag, the first element would appear to be Germanic ding, þing \”public assembly,\” but it is now thought to be from Thinxus, one of the names of the war-god in Latin inscriptions.

Tiw/Tyr is there in Norse Myth, but the chief god as given by Snorri in the Eddas is Odin. To him is accorded the title Allfather, patron of kings, nobles, and poets – while archaeology suggests that the ancient Icelander common folk were more fond of Thor. Further confusing to some is that this Norse patriarch is, quite frankly, a dodgy geezer. While Zeus, as Jupiter\’s Greek forerunner, is fond of getting his end away with mortals, he\’s still a pater famillias  in some senses – guarantor of the social order.

Odin, by contrast, is a morally ambiguous conman.  A mad, murderous, shape-shifting, knowledge-hungry gender ambiguous necromancer, wizard and wisdombringer, who’s fond of getting laid and leading an undead band of hunters and/or warriors in some grand kosmic multilevel game which manifests variously as a battle, story, poetry, and liberation from the forces of oppression and ignorance.

Nor is this just a Norse thing – what little reference we have to the Anglo-Saxon Woden suggests he was a lone wanderer or traveler, unless he brought his band of undead hunters with him. Recent scholarship (2014) in the European Journal of Archaeology even suggests that the famous Sutton Hoo helmet may have had had analogues across Scandinavia, analogues which had, amongst other things, eyes struck out.

Neil Price and Paul Mortimer, in their paper An Eye For Odin: Divine Role-Playing In The Age of Sutton Hoo  raise the possibility of the helmet being one-eyed in certain light conditions – specifically the low-light conditions of a medieval mead-hall, and that the ruler as helm-bearer might mimic, symbolise, or somehow host the one-eyed god. When we add this to the realisation that certain Anglo-Saxon royal dynasties traced descent directly from Woden, we may begin to wonder what precisely kingship meant to these Germanic peoples. It seems a long way away from certain ideas of kingship we moderns have been fed by endless costume dramas, doesn\’t it?


Suddenly, it seems as if might have to challenge our assumptions. Even within so-called traditions of monarchy, things are far from what they first appear – as Gordon puts it:

I pass palaces on my way to work. I’ve attended the same parties as princes. They don’t dress like real estate agents in strip clubs. That’s what a poor person’s view of a rich person looks like, and I said as much to Sef the other year. (I’m an amazing friend.) You see pictures of the Queen tootling about Balmoral in her old Range Rover and she looks like a bag lady who just hotwired a student car. Which, funnily enough, she could actually do, being a war mechanic and all.

Unlike Gordon, for myself personally as a British magician, I\’m not allergic to gods. If I was allergic to gods, I\’d be sneezing all the bloody time, and the state of my skin would be absolutely terrible, because  this place is full of them. Just like it\’s full of sheep and rainy days and crumbling stately houses and megaliths that are five thousand years old. They\’re part of the furniture, part of the climate. To steal an analogy from certain Eastern philosophies, they\’re nothing special, nothing inherently superior. In the same way a tiger or the Ebola virus isn\’t superior, they just are – a particular order of beings.

Maybe it\’s because I\’m the son of a clergyman, and while not having visited palaces, I\’ve taken tea with the local landowning family that can trace its lineage back to god knows when, while on the same day drunk with farmers and fishermen and builders. Being Church-By-Association can get you rubbing elbows with unlikely folks – the Church and State are, just about, still a thing here. The Queen is, after all Defender of the Faith, initiated in a temple by a high priest.

If you start thinking mythically, and hence magically, things are a lot odder than one might first suppose.

So, it\’s Wednesday (not Tuesday, mark you) and I\’m lying in bed dealing with the pain of an unhealed wound.

(Yes. I know. The Fisher King resonances have been bugging me for years. Don\’t even get me started on the Lombards, the Quinotaur or the Merovingians.)


As is my wont when bedbound, I turn to Netflix for distraction, and currently am making my way through the BBC\’s Hustle, which is all about a gang of grifters, or con-men. (I am also, unsurprisingly, fond of the US show Leverage) I surface from another morphine-induced doze to find I\’ve missed the beginning of the third season, and now we\’re on episode 3, entitled:

Ties That Bind Us.

I come around specifically ,just as we\’re introduced to the character James Whitaker Wright III – grandson to a financier and conman who conned British banks in the 19th century by floating non-existent goldmines on the London Stock Exchange. The bank in particular he targeted is called Cornfoots – possibly a reference to Coutts, a real private bank founded in 1692 and patronised by the British Royal Family and other wealthy clients, including the company which owns the land my flat is on.

(Hurrah for paying ground rent the Right Sort TM(!))

So, the episode already has all the threes. Fair enough. Except, well…erm, yes. Forgive my terrible GIF-ing  but it\’s the only way to convey my surprise and mirth:


Bearded Man approaches young fellow about a ring? How very Gandalf meets Southern gent, I thought drowsily, amused at my own cleverness:


\”Try your hand against a real crossroader?\” Wait…what? I stopped, blinked, and hit rewind.

Nope, still said cross-roader.

\”Bite my own eye.\” Wait, this is a show about grifters, I know that con from somewhere, I\’m sure…It\’s not..? No…Can\’t be, surely?


Oh. Oh no. I don\’t believe it either, Danny.

\”I\’m there, minding my own business, and then he shows up.\” As pretty much every person I know who has interacted with the being I call the Old Man will testify, this description pretty much nails it.

Gordon again:

There is a reason The Chaos Protocols has a crossroad pact with the Devil in it. If you were to bundle up everything I don’t like about this world, about monoculture, and build a temple to it, it would be the temple to Jupiter I see in the Roman forum whenever I go there. (Or, at least, what little remains of it. Hail chaos.)

Now, see, in the book Gordon mentions Loki-as-trickster, but here\’s the thing – his blood-brother Odin is actually attested as taking crossroad pacts in 1692 in return for money, as well as data from 15th century witch-trials in Sweden. There\’s even a fourteenth century runestick which calls upon Odin as \”the greatest of all devils.\” Add to this, a story recorded  by a man born in 1926, of an an early 19th century hunter who was advised to make a pact with Odin to improve his hunting luck!

Even allowing for cultural shifts and Christianization, there is still a traceable link to Odin-at-crossroads-as-gallows-site from ancient times. Such things are attested in the Eddas – this god of Kings and Nobles is no Jupiter. The interpetatio romana  is accurate as far as it goes – Mercury is god of trade, thieves and wealth, so comparisons can be made. Yet for these barbarians, at least for a large swathe of history, this was the god greatest respect was paid to, to the extent of human sacrifice.

I\’ve little time for nationalism in the form of borders and politics. There\’s a reason this blog is called Cold Albion – it refers to the mythic poetic wild power which dwells in the land. I\’ve got a lot out of Jason\’s Strategic Sorcery course, but for me, if there\’s a kingness in this island, it\’s shot through with that barbarian grifterdom. London may be Roman, but it sits on older wellings of power.  Is it any wonder that the City is full of thieves and geezers in sharp suits? And is it any wonder that there are poor folk who still go to the crossroads, or magicians seeking knowledge?

Not, I think, too hard to comprehend this other Kingship when our psyches are also suffused with Arthur and his warband, only latterly civilised into knights. Not too hard when the god of kings is a lonely wanderer, an unexpected guest, leading his rowdy band into civilised homes and catapulting us out into adventures of terror and wonder.

You can keep your Pater Famillias, thanks. I\’ll stick with the grifter  god who comes on raven wings, bringing the storm as he walks between raindrops, the mad capricious fellow who makes and breaks kings. I\’ll keep the bloody Mercury with the bone grin, pipe and drum. The masked, strange-horned dancing devil with one eye who poses us the gnostic riddle of our own death.

He\’s been running the gig for thousands of years, after all.

Catch you at the crossroads, friends.



Not content with me residing in a morphine-based haze, Gordon\’s  gone and done a number on the back of my brain with his post entitled \”They Live In The Starlight.\” Go and read it, because I can\’t be arsed re-contextualising it fully. Suffice to say, his remarks about following the wrong birds and hence not eating for a week ring horribly true to me.

I call following the \’right\’ birds black bird magic  because of many reasons, but in actual fact, it\’s because in the particular grammar of my worldview, black birds are a multi-level multivalent symbol of meaning. Crows, ravens (and almost all corvids including rooks, jackdaws and magpies) and other black winged carrion-eaters and raptors such as vultures and eagles, all operate within a constellation of Importance.

On one level, it\’s quite simple – where there\’s a bunch of the black birds, there\’s usual something  going on Growing up in rural Cornwall, you\’d see great flocks of them congregate when the earth had been turned by farmers; to say nothing of the classic idea that they appear where dead things are. So already, we have the idea of chthonic, deathly revelation. What\’s hidden is revealed, what\’s under the earth is brought to the surface. Conversely, the seed put down into that earth attracts them, so they exist at that interface-point. Winged messengers descending from on high to consume the fruits of the earth and under the earth. They eat the dead things too – are at home in the trash stratum of Phil K Dick. Gaining nutrition from the excrement, from the rubbish, from what would be corrupt and rotting, they can make food out nearly anything.

That\’s just practical observation, except for the metaphor of the winged messengers, right? But lets cast ourselves back to the hunter-gatherer stage – where the black birds are, there\’s nutrition. Maybe we, as hunter-gatherers, can get some meat without having to expend so much energy running down prey, eh? Maybe there\’s a clump of nutritious plants nearby. You get the idea. They convey the message of import, the thing that allows you to survive.

And the weird thing is, they get to know you. They recognise the hunter-gatherer, the one who leaves them leftovers, the farmer who digs up those tasty worms and bugs. And if you listen to them, you could swear they\’re communicating complex ideas with each other (and it seems you\’d be right). So, the literal lived experience of the black birds occurs first. Then you dig down, and find that the raven\’s head – the caput mortuum or caput corvi – is associated with putrefaction. with nigredo in alchemy. Have you ever looked at a crow\’s feather ? Black as night, except when the light catches it just so. Then you see the whole rainbow, somehow hidden within the darkness.

Lived experience again.

Signs of death, of putrefaction, of potential nutrition. Of hidden light and colour. Signs that can solve problems, and that can speak..

Or, this full documentary is pretty good for a watch, talking about the communication and facial recognition:

The point being, these associations are logical extrapolations of lived experience – they do not come from nowhere. They are not made up out of whole cloth. Instead, they arise out of context and observation – all the magical correspondences you\’ve ever seen, all the narratives and systems, grew out of a moment when the kosmos connected with the human mind and in doing so evoked something, brought it forth. As Gordon says:

This brings us back to the ‘rainforest’ of ‘cultural symbolism’. Theoretically, the chaos magical use of cultural symbols can yield equivalent magical effects as using more traditional mythological systems, but only in certain instances. There is a naïve assumption -which I have repeatedly stressed was never there in chaos magic’s original formulation- that you can just use anything you want and they’re all the same. But if you go looking for apotheosis in the subtext of Everybody Loves Raymond rather than the X-Files then you are ‘following the wrong birds’ and your family won’t be eating pig that week. Or ever. The problem with so-called pop culture magic is not on the magic side… it’s on the fact that modern culture is mostly shit and getting worse. In fact, you are better off approaching any of this from an almost Alan Moore direction: art is always magic and sometimes popular culture. Find the art, not the pop.

This is no institutional theory of art, either. Rather than asking What is Art? the kind of art in question is that which induces, which affects, and produces effect. Let\’s take Star Wars as an example, or Lord Of The Rings. These did not come out of nowhere, but rather were deliberate attempts to evoke the power of myth, to bring forth the mechanisms of affect. When I sat in the cinema as The Two Towers came out, I was, in some sense, joining my childhood self reading the book, entering once again the world of Middle Earth. And that world was conceived in the mind of Tolkien, who himself drew on Norse myth and Anglo Saxon lore,

George Lucas worked Star Wars in such a way that it evoked themes as described by Joseph Campbell. Campbell himself developed his theory of mythic structure by distilling, comparing and contrasting myths from all over the world. There\’s a continuity there. As I sat in the cinema watching The Force Awakens  a second time, I thought about all the idiocy of those who said it was just a rehash of the original trilogy. Idiocy, because of course it revisits themes and story beats. Of course it tells the story of a family dynasty and rebels and outcasts and heroes.


Because myth is cyclical. Mythic time is cyclical. The reiteration of theme and shape occurs because these, like the black birds, are Symbols, signs and portents. The spoor of the numinous reaching out to catch the human mind, to coyly hint at its ever-presence.

portent (n.) 1560s, from Middle French portente, from Latin portentum \”a sign, token, omen; monster, monstrosity,\” noun use of neuter of portentus, past participle of portendre (see portend).

portend (v.) early 15c., from Latin portendere \”foretell, reveal; point out, indicate,\” originally \”to stretch forward,\” from por- (variant of pro-; see pro-) \”forth, forward\” + tendere \”to stretch, extend\” (see tenet). Related: Portended; portending.

tenet (n.) \”principle, opinion, or dogma maintained as true by a person, sect, school, etc.,\” properly \”a thing held (to be true),\” early 15c., from Latin tenet \”he holds,\” third person singular present indicative of tenere \”to hold, grasp, keep, have possession, maintain,\” also \”reach, gain, acquire, obtain; hold back, repress, restrain;\” figuratively \”hold in mind, take in, understand.\”

The Latin word is from PIE root *ten- \”to stretch\” (cognates: Sanskrit tantram \”loom,\” tanoti \”stretches, lasts;\” Persian tar \”string;\” Lithuanian tankus\”compact,\” i.e. \”tightened;\” Greek teinein \”to stretch,\” tasis \”a stretching, tension,\” tenos \”sinew,\” tetanos \”stiff, rigid,\” tonos \”string,\” hence \”sound, pitch;\” Latin tendere \”to stretch,\” tenuis \”thin, rare, fine;\” Old Church Slavonic tento \”cord;\” Old English þynne \”thin\”). Connecting notion between \”stretch\” and \”hold\” is \”cause to maintain.\” The modern sense is probably because tenet was used in Medieval Latin to introduce a statement of doctrine.

It strings us along, lays a thread for us to follow, like Ariadne leaving Theseus a thread so he could escape the Labyrinth after killing the Minotaur. We\’ll come back to Ariadne later, but for now, it\’s the thread which is important. The connecting sinew that binds us, that holds us, that possesses us.

This is something that we\’ve only recently forgotten about, in some senses. Ironically, it is this loss of memory which propels us to explore, to descend and learn and bring forth. Not only have we forgotten the things we once knew as magicians and wyrd folk, but we seem to think we can automatically do things better.  The cyclical, spiralling understanding, the back and forth  has been abandoned in favour of straight line, linear progress.

Now, I\’m not being so foolish as to say \’older is better.\’ Often, those older things have become moribund, hidebound pieces of ineffectiveness based on simple \”doing what has always been done\”. But, again like the birds and their Symbolism, it is often forgotten that these older, traditional systems, came forth out of lived experience. 

It\’s that experience, that becoming acquainted with, that gnosis  of the cross-roads meeting point, which we seek. The moment where something is summoned forth from Memory. Memory then, is not merely the act of recall, but the grasping and following of that thread.

Which brings us to a link passed my way by the good Dr. Al Cummins in a conversation on Mugtome,  It\’s an academic article on John of Morigny – a medieval scholar who wrote Liber Florum,  a text which was intended to \’destroy\’ the Solomonic grimoire known as Ars Notoria. Now, by \’destroy\’ we mean a series of prayers and rites designed to remove the demonic influence from the rites and preserve the holy core of knowledge which somehow remained in the Ars Notoria.

Except, good old John didn\’t actually write the purificatory text of Liber Florum – or rather, he wrote it but it had an otherworldy originator. Specifically, the Virgin Mary. From the article:

John petitioned the Virgin for the delivery of Liber florum\’s thirty central prayers for the explicit purpose of destroying the Ars Notoria, which John had come to regard as demonically corrupt. […] Though John aimed at destroying the Ars Notoria, he also stated he wished to preserve what was good and holy in it, and that he had plundered its divine words as the Hebrews had plundered the Egyptian treasure.


[R]eliance on an idea of  prelapsarian knowledge which is constituted primarily in a curriculum is perhaps the most important common feature of the two texts. Both open with general prayers for the faculties which enable absorption of learning: memory, perseverance, stability, eloquence. Both proceed via a series of prayers and figures through the seven liberal arts, first the trivium, then the quadrivium, leading to prayers and figures designed to take philosophy, and in the culminating stage, theology.

The seven liberal arts formed the basis of a medieval education, themselves passed down from the Graeco-Roman world, something they share in common with Hermetic philosophy. This article by John Michael Greer of the Art of Memory in Hermetica is worth a read to get some context, but I\’d like  to return to John of Morigny, in his own words:

On a certain night, I was placed in a kind of ecstasy, whether in the body or out of the body I know not, God knows. And lo, I saw a certain horrible figure, and it seemed to me absolutely certain that it was the enemy of the human race. And that figure rose up against me, wishing and craving to suffocate me. When I saw it, I fled aghast in great fear from its terrible face and it pursued me hither and thither and could not catch me, and yet pressed upon me as it followed, so that I left the house that I was in, fleeing from the face of my persecutor. And when I went outside, it did not cease to pursue me; and when it rose up hugely I stopped in my tracks and ran towards the church of the blessed Mary. I entered it through the right hand door of the main entrance on the west front , and when I was in the church, I immediately lifted my eyes – I was next to the door at some distance from it – towards the image of the blessed virgin Mary. And lo, suddenly the devoted virgin Mary counselled me sweetly with a sign of her arm that I should come to her. After seeing this, I ran to her quickly and fled as though to the true comfort and refuge of sinners.


As the article states, the iconic link between Mary and the liberal arts  is clear – and it is through purification of the soul that one may access the prelapsarian knowledge, for learning is said to be the uncovering and remembering of the knowledge. But this knowledge is not the knowledge of men, but of God – complete, whole and absolute. In this sense, it\’s displaying its Neoplatonic heritage. Track that back further, and what do we find but the pre-Socratic notion that knowledge is learnt from the gods, or in the case of Parmeneides – a Goddess.

Which brings us rather neatly back to Ariadne. In some versions of the myth, she is abandoned by Theseus, only to be be found by Dionysos and made his wife, raised to godhood. The same Dionysos whose maenads tore apart Orpheus. You know, the poet-singer who went to the underworld. The one who is supposed to have founded the tradition which left tablets instructing the initiate to identify themselves to the judges in the underworld as being of Earth and Starry Heaven. Doing this, gets them a drink from the well of the Mnemosyne – you know, the Titaness?

Oh, and the name of the Minotaur, at the centre of the underground Labyrinth? Asterion, or Starry.

All of this goes some way to show the recurring signs and symbols involved here. The Wyrd is a shameless flirt, a coquettish trickster leading us on in some erotic game. Onward, ever onward, except like a labyrinth, we end up circling back on ourselves, going ever deeper each time. And whether its the crazy furor guy driving us, or the utterly pure (arihagne) virgin, we are propelled into ecstasy. We are taken outside, set beside ourselves by that thread, by that noose.

Art is the propulsion method, the affector. Culture is an accretion, a stabilisation mechanism and mode of defence against the High Strangeness because we intuitively understand that there\’s a very real risk we might get torn apart by it. What\’s popular is often so diluted that it often has only the  tiniest morsel of it left, because anything more would threaten stability. The task then, is to mine, to dig, to follow the signs through and beyond the popular – run the risk of getting lost in the rainforest, dying of dysentery and snake\’s poison.

We enter into a world that is run on non-human logic, returning once more to a state which is variously described as primal, prelapsarian, pre-Adamic – Titanic in some senses. This is not popular. Not something that extends into realms of sociability. Because to find one\’s own relation to the neighbours, to the daemonic, is to become daemonic. There comes a time when one has dug down to a level where the raw affect leaves one uncivilised, shuddering and shaking, unmoored from what everyone else knows.

Nor is this hyper-individualism – one might start out worshiping Marvel\’s Thor because you like the character, or because you want to assume a godform of a thunder deity who millions have watched on screen, reasoning that its more relevant than some archaeological deity. But dig further and you\’ll find he was created by Jack Kirby, the mad bastard artist of comics, with a whole load of strange and paranormal associations under his belt. Then the blond guy with the hammer might shift in your perception to a burly redhead who drives a chariot of endlessly resurrecyted goats, until that day when thunder rolls and you see the lightning connect heaven and earth in an erotic charge. The thunder hammers your ears, shakes your bones, and suddenly you become aware of the beingness behind the medieval texts, the presence behind the thing your mind shapes like a man.

And boom. There\’s just you and a thing generations have called a god. It was never about you.

Because there\’s always More. To quote Michael Bertiaux:

¨In opposition to all humanistic culture, we are lured ever to the brink of chaos. We want to go where we are forbidden. We want to know what has been denied to us. We seek, in a word, the ‘more’.¨

If it\’s turtles all the way down, we become-as-turtle, in a erotic congress from which emerges Art itself. We re-birth Symbols, bring them forth in our own flesh, our own lives. We scavenge the mounds of trash, scavenging for the nuggest of nutrition, the shining gleam of the numinous. Ingesting it, we are inspired, intoxicated, and in ecstasy. It is within that ecstasy that we attend the sabbats, we take our place as co-creators of the world, affectors and affected.

Art doesn\’t belong to you. It belongs to all beings as a method to break us out of that humanistic fugue trance, if only for a moment. Art seizes, it possesses, it disrupts and reawakens.

And if the pop culture is the tamed, gentled version, then it is is time to voyage back along the ancestral tree, from the cute puppy to the feral direwolf  which may or may not walk like a man under all moons but the full. Back to the age of ice where naked hunters waited steaming in the blizzard, warmed by inner fires while their prey froze to death. Back to see what made them that way, and to touch it once more.

The fusional  chimeric mediating Being at the centre of the labyrinth is our own quixotic mirrored soul which reveals the immensity of the daemonic. Then it casts aside one mask after another and we realise that it is not us that possess Soul, but Soul who possesses us; the awe-inspiring, terrible ever-desiring, constantly creating pandaemonic All.

The bricolage of the magician draws its power from a well of Memory, until all events and objects can be re-membered, put together again, thrumming with might and potency as enlivened members of a whole. The well of Wyrd connects us all, and it is bottomless.

Down into the Underworld and out into the stars we must go.