MAGIC(K) CALLS

Psychic Surveillance: Hi-tech wizardry and ESP come together at this mystic parlor in Stockton, CA. How can you augment your powers of perception?


Applied Magic(k): Magic(k) Calls
by the Center for Tactical Magic

Originally published in Arthur No. 24 (August 2006), available from The Arthur Store

The ancient oracles of Greece, which served as messaging centers between the gods and the mortals, did not shy away from associating metaphysical affairs with technological wizardry. Visitors to the oracles marveled as doors opened, fountains poured forth, and lights flickered all of the their own accord, thanks to an innovative use of hydraulics, pneumatics, levers, weights and balances. Such high-tech engineering (for the times, anyway) not only served to set an appropriate magical tone, but also held the potential to assist in conveying messages from the gods. Although more than 2,000 years old, this blend of magic(k) and tech stands in stark contrast to many of today’s expressions of magic(k). What is it about technology and magic(k) that leaves so many magic(k) practitioners hiding in the folds of their anachronistic robes and tuxedos?

Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the inventor credited with the notion of global satellite communications, once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” At the surface, such an assertion may seem simple enough; however, there are a few layers to excavate here. Some interpret this to mean we have reached an age where we are quite impressed by our own inventions. The workings of our gadgets have become increasingly imperceptible, if not due to sheer miniaturized size of the parts, then surely due to the veils of specialized knowledge. In the end, we don’t know how a given technology, a cell phone for instance, even works nor do we particularly care so long as we can talk on it when we need to. We take it for granted that there is a technical logic behind the engineering of a cell phone.

For some, that brief insignificant moment of faith in technology is comparable to magic(k)—after all, many (if not most) magic tricks are successfully performed along these very lines. Any enchantment whatsoever is overpowered by the puzzle that remains to be solved. The audience does not wonder if it is “real” magic(k); they wonder at how it is accomplished. While the overall effect may still be enough to satisfy and entertain, the method remains cloaked in secrecy and illusion. Likewise, when a technology performs its prescribed function, we tend not to ask any questions, and thus the mysteries of its inner workings are obscured to all but those with specialized knowledge. This certainly has some parallels with the way some view magic(k), equally in the realms of the occult, entertainment, and perhaps politics as well.

However, the magic(k) of a “sufficiently advanced technology” is not simply manifested solely by its ability to perform its prescribed function without one’s understanding of how it works. Magic(k) teases questions of “what?” and “why” just as much as “how?” Aside from the general mystery of its inner workings, a cell phone appears to be no more magical than a wristwatch or a solar-powered calculator largely because of our familiarity with it and the banal circumstances under which it is used. But when we take a moment to really consider what a cell phone does, we begin to scrape away at another layer of meaning. Continue reading

DONUT POWER

Applied Magic(k): Donut Power
by the Center for Tactical Magic

Originally published in Arthur No. 22 (April 2006), available from The Arthur Store

Although people often associate the word “occult” with secret magical orders, demon-worshipers and ancient alchemical scrawlings, its root definition is simply “secret, concealed, or hidden.” But strangely enough, “occult” is rarely associated with those who are perhaps most invested in secrets and concealments: that is, government, military, corporations and even performing magicians. Perhaps this popular tendency to view “occultism” through an anachronistic mist is ultimately a concealment of its own accord.

If we regard an occult force as “that which is hidden,” it should come as no surprise to realize that we are constantly surrounded by the occult. Everywhere we look we don’t see it…at least not at first. Otherwise it wouldn’t be occult; it would be obvious and apparent. Unseen forces are indeed at play all around us. We often fail to recognize their presence for any number of reasons: the forces may seem insignificant to the situation, we are distracted by other factors, etc. Whether one favors ritual magick or performing magic, the first challenge is to recognize which forces are present, hidden or otherwise.

Fortunately, occult forces sometimes have a funny way of revealing themselves. In 2001, members of the Center for Tactical Magic were enjoying a leisurely tromp through downtown San Francisco with a few thousand other people protesting the 21st Century’s first major display of government occultism: George W. Bush’s inauguration. At the end of the trolley line at Powell and Market, the march lost momentum and gradually slowed to a jiggle. Some protesters scurried into cafes to get their latte fixes while others started break-dancing to boom boxes in the streets. Meanwhile, riot police began to huddle in the doorways of the GAP. There were other big department stores and icons of global capitalism nearby, but for reasons unknown the GAP seemed to be getting the bulk of police attention. (Perhaps it was one of those rare instances where Power reveals itself, as if the cops were hinting, “You’re already gathered to fight injustice, you might as well protest conformist fashion produced by sweatshop labor, too.”) At first, no one seemed to care, except possibly the few shoppers who hurried away at the first signs (namely, armored cops) that something might be amiss. Gradually though, activists seemed to take to the idea, and soon a small group settled down at the feet of the police line to sip their lattes and eat their lunches.

Please see exhibit A, the photo we’ve provided for your entertainment…

To most observers the scene appears obvious: two opposing forces have squared off against one another; protesters staging a sit-in were blockading the entrances to the GAP, and riot police had formed a security perimeter to protect GAP’s assets from looters and vandals. While this is true to some degree, those who understand magic(k) know better. Appearances are often deceiving. The nature of a good illusion is to cloak information by providing a specific perceptual framework. And the tendency to filter information leads to a hasty, oversimplified conclusion.

Upon closer inspection, one quickly realizes that the scene in the photo evidences no opposing forces whatsoever. In fact, the cops and the protesters are rather harmoniously accomplishing the same task. Both groups are blocking the doorway. Both groups are preventing patrons from entering. Both groups are preventing the GAP from doing any business whatsoever.

If you missed this dynamic at first glance, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The cops and the protesters lived it, and they didn’t get it. In fact, whenever this photo is shown in talks, lectures, and workshops, the audience response is almost always the same. People are so keyed in to a perceptual framework dominated by dichotomies and binary analysis (protester vs cop, good vs evil, black magick vs. white magick, etc) that it’s easy to miss what’s happening right before our very eyes.

Indeed, it has long since become a cliché of consciousness studies to say that at every instance our senses are bombarded by more information than our minds can process. In order to navigate the world around us, we learn how to filter information that we regard as unimportant. However, the act of filtering is not only influenced by matters of survival (predators, food, attraction, etc) but also by social cues and priorities (herd behavior, notions of productivity vs. leisure, conspicuous consumption, etc). Since the filtering process begins at such an early age and occurs at much the same time as socialization, it is often difficult to step outside of one’s perceptions and recognize exactly what is being filtered when and/or why. At best, we can occasionally inhibit our filtering processes (either through drugs, meditation, dancing, sensory deprivation, or other “unproductive” activities) or we can make concerted efforts to focus our attentions in areas less considered. Even the harbingers of progress have to admit that the latter option yields positive results. After all, modern medicine owes a great debt to those who were willing to peer through microscopes at bits, mites, motes, and droplets that are regularly ignored by the naked eye.

So where does this keen analysis get us? For starters, we become less inclined to take things at face value. While some would say this is a skeptical or even cynical approach to the world, we prefer to think of it as riddled with opportunity. The refusal of a static worldview opens one’s eyes to the dynamic occult forces swirling around us. The next trick is to figure out how to work with these forces.
After a few more hours of chanting, “Whose streets?…Our Streets!”, the miracle of the unified GAP blockade persisted, but the rest of the protest began to march down a reliable path. Buses pulled up and more riot cops in even more armor poured out. Tensions on both sides escalated, and the enjoyable expression of first amendment rights wavered under the immanent threat of the inevitable activist/authoritarian clash. For anyone who has ever been to a protest, this is familiar territory. This is the part where ugliness happens. Out come the batons, pepper spray, and plastic handcuffs. And anyone who gets beaten up also usually gets arrested and charged with assaulting an officer in order to justify any police misconduct.

Some would declare that this is merely a timeless confrontation between opposing forces. Perhaps. But we at the Center for Tactical Magic feel that occult forces were also present, active and largely unaccounted for. (No, we’re not referring to cops dressed as protesters… we’ll save that for our column on “disguise and infiltration”). Protesters and cops both fell victim to the same forces: they steadily grew tired, cold, hungry, and even a little bored. The activists want to leave, but of course can’t, because, well, they’re our streets. If we leave, then they’ll be their streets again. We can’t exactly let a hard day’s work go to waste now, can we? And the cops want desperately to make it home in time for Fox Sports, but they can’t exactly leave, because, well… how would it look if they let a bunch of anarchists run around an empty financial district thinking that they own the streets? Besides, double (or even triple) overtime pay is hard to say “no” to. For the cops, growling stomachs, Fox Sports and a can of Bud ultimately win out over a fatter paycheck. Out come the batons.

It was precisely at this moment that we decided to conduct a little experiment. Please note Exhibit B: the second photo provided for your entertainment.

Foregoing any ceremony, we quickly acquired a few boxes of donuts from a nearby Walgreen’s and began passing them out to protesters and cops alike. The action performed was the same for both groups; however, the responses were predictably dissimilar. Protesters responded with eager gratitude; happily stuffing their faces with the meager nourishment after a long day outdoors. The cops on the other hand were not so happy. They wanted the donuts. You could see it in their jaws-gone-slack and their craven eyes bursting out from behind mirrored glasses. But despite their hunger, they couldn’t take them. Pride and professionalism prevented them from doing so.

Obviously, cops are sensitive about donuts. It’s an old, played-out joke, and had we passed out cupcakes, maybe things would have been different. But isn’t that one of the crucial points of magic(k)? To work with what’s around you in such a way as to produce a desired outcome or effect? Within just a few moments, a single gesture shifted the dynamic between opposing sides. As activists giggled and jeered, the police officers shifted uneasily in their boots. Eager aggression and pumped-up adrenalin ebbed in the wake of sheepishness, annoyance, and humility. It was like watching a bully rip the seat of his pants in front of everyone.

In an effort to grab control of the situation, the commanding officer approached one of our agents (see photo) and threatened, “If you pass out one more donut, I’m taking you to jail!” To which our agent responded, “For what? Handing out food for free?” The officer then replied, “Not for handing it out. For distributing it!” Clearly, reality and rationality had shifted in mysterious ways. Please don’t misunderstand. We at the Center for Tactical Magic love a riot as much as anyone, and we’re not claiming that this one act of impromptu hijinks saved the day or anything. But shortly thereafter the cops stood down. The police lines withdrew. And many of the activists left feeling like they preferred their kitchens and their bars to their streets.

Throughout the long histories of magic(k) and religions, food has often played a transformational role. Whether consuming “the body and blood of the Lord” or making bowls of rice appear from thin air, food has a power that reaches beyond the symbolic. And the roots of its power are concealed by its relationship to such hidden forces as hunger, nutrition, comfort, repulsion, and social relations to name a few. Like so many other hidden forces, these have the ability to shift perceptions, priorities and outcomes. But to do so we must recognize their presence and figure out how to work with them. The following exercises are designed to encourage further exploration of hidden forces. You can treat them as magical experiments, interventions, or alternative forms of entertainment. Have fun and good luck, and please let us know how it was for you by emailing to: goodluck at tacticalmagic dot org

EXERCISES
1. Go to the grocery store without the intention of buying anything. Bring a pad of post-it notes and a pen. Respond to the products you see by writing a note and sticking it to the product. You might consider the following: the packaging/marketing strategy used to encourage your purchase; the way the product makes you feel when you see it, use it, or eat it; a message or a question to another potential consumer or store employee; a critique of the product or the company; a creative suggestion for alternate uses of the product.
* This is an exercise that shifts perception by changing the activity performed in an otherwise familiar environment. Like graffiti responding to a billboard, it also encourages a dialogue in an otherwise one-way relationship and breaks the illusion of a “neutral” exchange.

2. Once a week for at least a month, prepare a meal that uses ingredients for their symbolic value. Start by considering a desired outcome (a different wish, goal, etc for each meal). Next, consider the events that have to unfold in order to accomplish your goal. Associate one ingredient for each event. Your associations may be literal or abstract. Perhaps you’re not even sure why the ingredient reminds you of the event. The ingredients don’t all need to be cooked in the same pot, and it’s ok to use spices for flavor. Eat as much as fills you up.
* This is an exercise which relies on a natural survival behavior to process and manifest a desire through mental and physical consumption, digestion, and excretion. It works best if you find a way to make strange foods tastefully coexist on the same plate.

CHALLENGE
Most magic illusions are based on visual deceptions; however, the Oxford Companion to the Mind insists, “All the senses can suffer illusions…” Everyone knows the old trick that involves tasting an apple and a potato while holding pinching the nose closed. What other illusions rely on deceiving the sense of smell? If you come up with any answers, please let us know.


The Center for Tactical Magic is a moderate international think tank dedicated to the research, development and deployment of all types of magic in the service of positive social transformation. To find out more, check out tacticalmagic.org

CRAFTED IN BALANCE: Ron Regé, Jr. on an alchemical ale

CRAFTED IN BALANCE: Ron Regé, Jr. on an alchemical ale
by Justin Farrar

Traditionally, only hardcore collector nerds—the type of basement dwellers who belong to beer-of-the-month clubs—would dare call a beer bottle a piece of art. But with the gradual emergence of craft and artisanal beers in America over the last four decades, this has changed somewhat. Indeed, some truly boss work is getting produced these days. A heavyweight in the craft-beer industry, Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery recently released Bitches Brew, commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the release of Miles’ fusion classic. Though I’m more of an Agharta/Pangaea kind of guy in all honesty, the bottle is stunning. The label sports a rendering of Mati Klarwein’s Afro-surrealist cover art that as deliciously intoxicating as the experimental imperial stout it’s wrapped around. At the other end of the commercial spectrum sits the Burnt Hickory Brewery, a thoroughly underground affair based in northern Georgia. Over the last year, brewer Scott Hedeen—whose beers aren’t even for sale—has produced a handful dedicated to iconic American punk and post-hardcore groups, most of them (Die Kreuzen, the Didjits, The Jesus Lizard, Killdozer) associated with Touch and Go imprint. The label art is fantastic and totally captures the vintage punk aesthetic: all scratchy, collage-like and Xeroxed-looking.

But my fave these days has to be Alchemic Ale, which Arthur first covered last June. The Houston venture, founded by Tim Leanse and Sam Rowell (who are also known for their eardrum-crushing noise-rock duo Eloe Omoe), aims to “transform beer drinking into a full-on aesthetic experience” via the merger of its twin loves for underground art and artisanal brews from Belgium. Alchemic Ale isn’t a brewery in the traditional sense of the term; Leanse and Rowell don’t brew. Rather, they curate a line of beers—each one sporting a screen-printed label designed by one of the pair’s favorite artists—that is manufactured by the Belgium-based Brouwerij Sterkens.

Alchemic Ale has released two brews to date: Yeast Hoist 15: Kept in Balance by renowned comics creator Ron Regé, Jr. and Monsters designed by comics artist and musician Mat Brinkman. The former is Sterkens’ St. Sebastiaan Golden Ale, while the latter its Bokrijks Belgian Ale. That said, the beer—which is excellent—is almost beside the point. With their shapely earthenware bottles tattooed by some of the underground’s premiere artists, Alchemic Ale utterly redefines the modern beer bottle as cultural artifact. It’s now a piece of finely crafted art.

Yeast Hoist 15: Kept in Balance in particular is a thing to behold. In addition to the label, an exquisite pattern of classic alchemical imagery aligning the Los Angeles artist’s love of esoterica with the brewing process’ ancient roots in the mystical, Regé also created a comic/zine that hangs from the bottle’s neck. One could argue that the bottle comes with the zine, not the other way around.

As you can tell, I am absolutely smitten with these bottles. Wanting to learn more about how one passes from concept to product, I recently corresponded by email with Ron Regé, Jr. who was kind enough to explain the magickal process, as well as talk about a host of other beer-related issues and topics.

Q: Technically speaking, the bottle is a part of your Yeast Hoist series of comics. Can you talk a little about that evocative title and how the bottle fits into the series’ overall aesthetic? [Check out past installments of Yeast Hoist over at the excellent What Things Do site.]

Ron Regé, Jr: “Yeast Hoist” is a name that I’ve been using for small comics I’ve been making since 1995. Each “issue” looks completely different, so this concept of having it attached to a bottle of beer fits the aesthetic perfectly. I originally got the name from a sign on a tiny door at the Bushmills distillery that I noticed while on a tour there in 1994.

Is an earthenware beer bottle the weirdest form Yeast Hoist has yet to take? What are some of the others?

Yes. The booklet itself—which is available with the bottle only—is very much like the first ten, which were xeroxed mini-comics of various shapes and sizes. A couple appeared in anthologies, with instructions to cut them out to create the booklet. The three most recent ones have been 64 page books.

Were the comics and illustrations that comprise “Yeast Hoist 15” created with the bottle concept specifically in mind?

Yes, they were. I’ve been doing a lot of work recently that makes reference to various aspects of hermetic alchemy and the “Wisdom Traditions.” I wanted to present the basic concepts of alchemy in terms as clear and simple as possible, as I knew this product would be reaching a wide and varied audience that might be unfamiliar with these concepts—and my work.

Can explain the impetus behind wanting to expose a larger audience to concepts that are traditionally considered esoteric?

These ideas have been the main inspiration for the work I have been producing over the last few years. The project is called “The Cartoon Utopia”. I have had several gallery exhibits under this name, and have produced a large amount of comic stories related to this theme. I’ve begun to see similarities between so many schools of thought: spiritual, scientific, philosophical. My work involves trying to relate some of these themes, and to help people notice these similarities. In the comic I refer to the idea of a “Unified Theory” that governs all things, and make reference to the fact that all material in the universe erupted from one initial point during The Big Bang. This idea could be referring to science or theology. At a time in history when we are constantly bombarded with polarized opinions regarding such matters, I hope that people who come across the comic might see these connections.

The comics medium seems tailor made for tackling questions of science and mysticism. All three value text and imagery equally.

Letters are basically highly stylized cartoon characters. Written language is comics. Any sequence of marks is essentially comics. Did the invention of markmaking change human culture from a matriarchy to patriarchy? Perhaps—which is why I intend to use its power to unite our opposing aspects. I try to remain conscious of markmaking’s vital role in human evolution, in both the scientific and occult sense. Writing, as opposed to language, does seem to separate us from all other life on earth. It is our curse, as well as our salvation.

Alchemical imagery and themes have long played a strong role in your artwork. Do you harbor any high-falutin’ ideas about how fine brewing can be considered a kind of alchemy?

The traditions of the alchemists helped form the basis of all of the physical sciences, so I’m sure a lot of ancient brewing practices share those same traditions.

Apparently, the brewing process does follow alchemy back to ancient Egypt. Osiris is said to have taught Egyptians how to brew and ferment.

The idea of plant matter altering human consciousness through the process of fermentation is in line with the concepts of putrefaction and rebirth that are vital to the alchemical process.

Switching to the actual consumption of beer: in terms of pairing, what would be the perfect album to listen to while cracking open Yeast Hoist?

For some reason this feels hard to answer, but I’m going with Capt. Beefheart’s Ice Cream for Crow.

Have you ever done any home-brewing?

No, although I love that book Wild Fermentation and have always wanted to. I have quite a few friends who have tried it. Am I just lazy or maybe preoccupied with other things? I started making my own kombucha this month. Does that count?

Kombucha counts. But now you can brew beer in the name of good health as well. Did you see that recent article in Wired Science about how scientists believe ancient Nubians not only produced and consumed antibiotics, but consumed them via beer. Mind blowing.

It makes sense that the history of medicine is intertwined with the traditions of brewing alcohol. They share the same roots.

HOW TO HEX A CORPORATION

Above: A CTM-designed sticker, easily adaptable for re-use by you.

APPLIED MAGIC(K): Hex Files
by the Center for Tactical Magic

Originally published in Arthur No. 30 (July 2008)

The Center for Tactical Magic is no stranger to controversy. Even when we’re not actively setting out to conjure a bit of mischief, the imps often make the effort to conjure us. Since our projects frequently trespass into different cultural territories, it’s not uncommon to encounter an occasional cold reception or heated debate. Typically, these center around what the Center is or isn’t. Activists? Occultists? Conjurers? Tricksters? Contemporary artists? Martial artists? Con artists? Most of the time we feel that these debates are more productive for everyone when we stay out of them and let folks figure things out on their own. However, we recently received some paradoxical antagonisms via email regarding one of our distribution projects and thought it might be helpful to clarify a few misunderstandings.

To begin, the project in question is a curse. It is a curse in the form of a sticker that is specifically designed to target corporations, institutions, agencies, and the like. And the ire that we raised from two different people couldn’t be more divergent. The first, a self-proclaimed “activist” wrote:

I like a lot of what you guys do, but some of it doesn’t seem very productive. I mean, curses? I just read your article in Arthur about the difference between “magical thinking” and “wishful thinking” and then you suggest “cursing” people in power? This seems hypocritical and/or delusional. I’m open to different people’s spiritual viewpoints, and I don’t mean any offense, but I don’t really see how a curse can be as effective as a protest or a petition.

The second critic, a self-proclaimed “Wiccan High Priestess” wrote:

I have long-admired the Center for Tactical Magic for your innovative interpretations of ancient magickal wisdom. However, I am deeply disturbed and taken aback by your “Diagrammatic Hex.” This curse clearly defies the Wiccan rede: “That ye hurt none, do what thou wilt.” Further, it beckons doom. “That which ye sendeth out, shall returneth three-fold!” This hex you have devised is of the darkest magick, and can only reap darkness in return. It is not only dangerous for you, but irresponsible towards those who would follow you down the Left-hand path to their own demise.

Before we directly address either of the aforementioned concerns, we should set the stage with a short history lesson. The origin of curses is ill-defined; yet, it’s certain that we find hexes, whammies, jinxes, the “evil eye” and all sorts of maleficia in cultures spanning time and geography. More often than not, curses have been cast over personal disputes, vindictive rages, and petty jealousies. However, there have also been instances where curses have been deployed in collective struggles.

In the Middle Ages, the peasant class had no easy avenue of representation through which they could air grievances against their feudal lords. So somewhere between total subjugation and full-scale revolt, curses became a tactic of dissent. By discretely attaching hexes to the property of the feudal lord, the ruling authorities could be made aware of the growing social distemper. While the nobility might be quick to dismiss the hexes as mere foolishness, the laborers of the manor, who belonged to the “superstitious” peasant class, could be relied upon to take the hexes a bit more seriously (and perhaps melodramatically). And unless the feudal lord took steps to remove the curse, the manor and the fief would slip into a dysfunctional mess. Of course, the way to remove the curse would involve rectifying any prevailing injustices.

It’s not too difficult to imagine that similar dramas were no doubt enacted hundreds of years later on plantations across the colonized globe. A bit of well-placed Hoodoo or Voodoo could serve to amplify the collective concerns of house slaves and field slaves alike. Even if the plantation owner took little heed of the “mumbo-jumbo” the workers would certainly make a fuss until things were set right.

Based on these precedents, as well as on our contemporary context of corporate neo-feudalism and wage-slavery, it seemed only fitting that we should revive and update this bit of mojo. As such, we suggest that the modern sticker-hex might produce several positive results:

1) The creation of a diagrammatic hex in the form of an easily applied sticker links modern street practices (like graffiti) to much older forms of magical resistance (such as the placing of curses on the property of feudal lords).

2) This user-friendly spell/tactic introduces people to a model of action: First, think through your issue to find a root cause(s). Then, find a way to physically address the offending source. This model contrasts starkly with more alienated reactions against abstracted frustrations. As opposed to feeling like the problems are poverty, or starvation, or war, we can begin to focus on financial institutions, agribusiness, or Halliburton.

3) Most people are far more superstitious than they are willing to admit. Even if the magical construction of the curse falls short, the mystical appearance of the sticker can often achieve certain desired effects. (In one instance, a cursed check sent to a credit card company went un-cashed for nearly three months!).

4) Lastly, if you have any doubts as to whether or not the curse works, just ask the folks over at Bear Stearns. (We’re not saying we’re responsible; we’re just saying…)

Hopefully that appeases our activist friend a bit. As for the Wiccan high priest, we’ll save the full conversation regarding the Black/White magic debate for a later date. In the meantime, we should be clear about our position. We are not openly advocating the cursing of individual people. Despite the fact that the Supreme Court re-interpreted the 14th Amendment (originally enacted to protect the rights of freed slaves) to grant corporations “personhood,” the inhuman conduct of some institutions, agencies, and corporations makes them worthy of any maledictions they might receive. While the Center for Tactical Magic does not ascribe to a belief system polarized into Black and White magic, it is nevertheless important to note that religious and secular circles alike largely agree that actively combating physical and spiritual injustice is a virtuous act that liberates oneself and others from the abuses of power. Even Gerald Gardner (oft regarded as the “Founding Father of Wicca”) is reputed to have organized his coven to curse Hitler and the Nazis during World War II (and we all know how that one ended).

Hopefully, the path we’re on now seems a little less scary. If not, don’t worry; we change directions all the time and often step off the path altogether. So sit tight or start a petition until we come back to our senses. For the rest of you, you too can flaunt taboos by cutting out this diagrammatic hex and following these magic words:

To cast the spell:

1) Relax. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Repeat.

2) Take a moment to reflect on the nasty policies, social ills, and community woes that need to be challenged and corrected.

3) Choose an issue that you feel particularly drawn to, and ask yourself, “What is most responsible for this dire situation? What obstacles stand in the way of a solution to this problem?” (If you’re not sure, do a little research).

4) Most likely, you will conclude that a large corporation, government agency, social institution, or other organizational entity is at least partially responsible for perpetuating the problem you seek to address. Write that name inside the red circle. (Note: this will not work against individuals, which unfortunately includes bosses, landlords, politicians, cops, etc.).

5) Close your eyes and envision the entire design, complete with the name written in the circle. Watch the name fade to nothingness. Now envision the positive results that would occur if your target’s vile actions were to disappear.

6) Open your eyes, and then, go attach the hex to the property of the encircled establishment. (you’ll need a glue stick)

7) Relax. Breathe freely. Smile. You have just completed your first act of street-level Tactical Magic by taking that difficult first step in mentally, spiritually, and physically addressing social injustice! Keep it up & let us know how it goes for you by emailing us at goodluck@tacticalmagic.org

Good Luck!