The great lesson of Folk Magick has always been that magick was right at hand, that you didn’t need a library of books or special clothes and wands to do it. In Hoodoo a quick trip to the grocery store and some significant places around town will allow you to hurl just about anything at people. When I’m particularly stuck for an ingredient I always go Journeying into the Spirit World and ask my friends there what might do the trick. And often the most powerful gifts are the simplest.
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A Site of Beautiful Resistance
I came to read playing cards, to cast my eyes into the twisting nether realm of probability and possibility not through some online course nor through paid lessons from a teacher. I went down to the crossroads for nine nights around 11:45pm and called out to the One Who Dwells There to teach me, the only sacrifice being the time I spent there. And teach me He did. I found whole new ways of looking at the cards, as books and ideas seemed to drop into my view from all over; I read what I could, but the biggest advances seemed to come from just being out there, alone and in the dark, hearing whispers in my head and seeing symbols dance before my eyes. I read the cards now with great accuracy, with my window into the shifting seas of potentiality amounting to an admission fee of one dollar.
But I do not rest on my laurels. I read, I study, I speak with those around me. I consider myself the advance guard, the agent behind enemy lines. I gather folks of like mind around me and we plan, we plot, we create pockets of resistance and freedom. We are the first cells of the revolution you see, mitochondria that will one day evolve into a greater being. We put pamphlets, we put up posters, we engage in Direct Action. Rather then wait for ‘THE Revolution” I’ll do what I can here and now, building “the new world in the shell of the old.”
Those that simply wait for monumental change, or worse vote in the hopes it will come, display a distinctly unmagical air about them: they don’t believe anything can change unless everything does, they can’t imagine that their actions could move even the tiniest mole hill, they huff that the time is never quite ripe, that until some Unknown Messiah arrives we’d best simply hope for change.
Surely we, through direct experience, know better then this?
Can’t a hidden gesture or half-mumbled phrase move someone’s mind? Won’t a fervent prayer, a simple oil, and an intensity of Will attract unseen hands to guide you? Doesn’t the simplest mix of red pepper, black pepper, and sulpher cause the flames of hell to leap up at our command? You can’t have it both ways: either you and your allies can literally shift the movin’ and shakin’s of the luck plane as well as this artifice we call physical reality, or it’s all a sham.
Magic presupposes we can change the foundations of the world around us. Why do our political beliefs so often not follow this maxim? Why are we waiting for some Vanguard, some Party, some Candidate, to rip up the noxious weeds of Capitalism and The State? Did we come by any of our magical knowledge by waiting or did we simply go out and start doing what we could? Wasn’t every bump in the road a lesson, every victory a confirmation that even against the odds we can win?
My tradition courses through the land and was born in struggle: against the State, against the Boss, against the Police. Under candle light and shroud of burning herbs I can feel the air thick with those that whispered or sang prayers in other times; they know, they understand: the battles may be different, the symbols may have changed, but the struggle has not.
What else is magic but the metaphysical embodiment of Anarchism, of politics on a spiritual plane? Road Opener work or Revolution, what’s the difference?