Cosmic Christmas

It is a powerful celestial moment, the moon is full and just fully eclipsed, the winter solstice is upon us, and the Earth is soon to reach perihelion where we are closest in orbit to the sun. The shortest, darkest day of the year is today so what better time to duck into the dark alignments of the universe and make magic.

The full moon amps up all of our psychic abilities and is perfect for dream spells, fertility spells and spirit conjuring. Consider setting your intentions and goals for the new year not on New Years Eve but tonight with the power of the cosmos at your back!

Or borrow a solstice ritual, perhaps you’d like to:

*Cover your doorhandles with butter for Beiwe the Saami goddess of sanity and fertility, who needs fat for her journey through the dark sky to dispel winter and seek spring’s greenery…

* Repel unwanted ghosts by preparing Patjook and sprinkling it around your home or office, as the winter solstice is a notoriously haunted day on the Korean calendar…

*Give gifts of salt, coal or whiskey to your  friends or neighbors to bring luck and plenitude to their households in the year to come, a tradition my pagan Irish grandmother celebrated on the solstice rather than Yule designated to the 1st by the Church.

November 29th in BROOKLYN – MONO NO AWARE Super 8 & 16mm Film Festival

MONO NO AWARE IS AN INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF EXPANDED CINEMA PERFORMANCES. TAKING ITS NAME FROM THE JAPANESE EXPRESSION MEANING -THE PATHOS OF THINGS-. THE CONCEPT IS TO PRESENT WORK WHICH IS EPHEMERAL IN NATURE WITH AN EMPHASIS ON THE CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE. RECENT ADVANCEMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY HAVE ALTERED THE AUDIENCE EXPERIENCE AND CONNECTIVITY ASSOCIATED WITH THE CINEMA. WEBSITES, TELEVISION, AND EVEN CELL PHONES HAVE BECOME AN EVERYDAY VEHICLE FOR FILM AND VIDEO. ALL OF THE WORK PRESENTED AT MONO NO AWARE CONSISTS OF ONE PART FILM PROJECTION AND ONE PART LIVE PERFORMANCE ELEMENT. 16MM OR SUPER 8MM FILMS ONLY, NO DIGITAL VIDEO. WE BELIEVE THERE IS A MAGIC IN SEEING THE FILM PRINT. THERE IS A PRESENCE A POET HAS READING HIS/HER OWN WRITING. THERE IS A FEELING THAT RESONATES IN YOUR CHEST WHEN YOU SEE A MUSICIAN PERFORM LIVE. EACH MONO NO AWARE PERFORMANCE IS ONE OF A KIND, SOME PARTICIPANTS HAVE GONE SO FAR AS TO DESTROY THE FILM WORK AFTER ITS FIRST RUN AT THE EVENT. WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29TH AT LUMENHOUSE IN BROOKLYN. THE EVENT IS FREE TO ATTEND. THANK YOU.

Sunday, November 29th 5PM – 11PM
LUMENHOUSE
47 Beaver St. / Brooklyn, NY 11206
F-r-e-e admission!

Read more about the selected films & performances here.

LIONEL ZIPRIN: A remembrance by David Katznelson

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David Katznelson (left) with Lionel Ziprin (date unknown)

LIONEL ZIPRIN
A remembrance by David Katznelson

On the morning of Sunday March 15, 2009 Lionel Ziprin passed away. By nightfall, his coffin was riding on a plane to Israel, to be buried in Tsfad alongside his mother, grandmother and grandfather, the great Rabbi Naftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia. Tsfad was the home of the mystics, those Jewish spiritualists who dedicated their lives to the study of Kabbalah—the esoteric Jewish texts that were untouchable by most. The Abulafia family was one of the most famous families of Kabbalists.

I originally met Lionel because of his grandfather, a rabbi whose singing was recorded in the ’50s by pioneering musicologist Harry Smith (student of Alan Lomax and creator of the definitive collection of American folk music), because there were sacred melodies—bridging the gap of hundreds of years of cantorial practices—that were known best by him. I had read about Rabbi Abulafia’s recordings in an article by John Kalish, and contacted Lionel to license them for a non-profit Jewish reissue label I co-founded, The Idelsohn Society. Many before us had already tried to convince Lionel to allow the recordings to be released to the public; the recordings had become legendary for the very reason that Lionel refused all offers, other than allowing a single CD to be released, containing short bits of only a few masterpieces.

Four years ago my friend Roger Bennett and I started our trips down to Lionel’s apartment on the Lower East Side, situated in an island of olde Jewish culture that once flourished throughout the neighborhood. What started as skeptical conversations morphed into strange, deep discussions about Judaism, metaphysics, the otherworlds, and the angels that exist on this one.

Lionel was a born-again Hasidic Jew whose past was anchored in the artistic movements of the ’50s and ’60s. As a child he was plagued by epilepsy and rheumatic fever after which he had visions, seeing the bible come to life in his grandfather’s house. Later, he would translate these visions, along with his thoughts that came from them and his external worldly experiences, into his poetry. Ziprin as bohemian walked with the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie “Bird” Parker, Allen Ginsberg, Bruce Conner, and SF poet laureate Jack Hirschman to name a few; his apartment was a destination for the greatest underground artists of his time. He married a woman named Johanna, so famous for her beauty that her vision was immortalized by Bob Dylan in song. The couple had four children.

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Ballardian: "Michael Jackson's Facelift"

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To commemorate the alleged death of the reclusive Hoosier sex wizard Michael Jackson, the dude at Ballardian has updated one of J.G. Ballard’s 1970 “surgical fictions,” a cut-and-pasted thing called “Princess Margaret’s Facelift,” originally published in New Worlds but most readily found in the appendix of modern editions of The Atrocity Exhibition. As Ballard told Penthouse back in ’70 (when porn mags were quite literally worth reading, from time to time):

“I feel a tremendous rapport with pop artists and in a lot of my fiction I’ve tried to produce something akin to pop art. For instance, I’ve just published a piece in New Worlds called ‘Princess Margaret’s Facelift’, in which I’ve taken the text of a classic description of a plastic surgery operation, a facelift, and where the original says “the patient”, I’ve inserted “Princess Margaret”. So I’ve done precisely what the pop painters did, using images from everyday life — Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe — and manipulated them. The great thing about pop painters is their honesty. They’ve turned their backs on the traditional subject matter of the fine arts — which had hardly changed since the Renaissance — and looked at their own environment and decided: yes, the shine on domestic hardware, like the refrigerator or the washing machine, the particular gleam on the mouldings of a cabinet, the moulding of doorhandles, are of importance to people, because these are the visual landscapes of people’s lives, and if we’re going to be honest we’re going to use reality material instead of fiction. I want to do the same.”

So you can see how this might work with the legendary plastic surgery hobbyist and “dancing king,” yes? What with his multi-decade transmogrification from “ebony” to “ivory” to some sort of troubled anime being. Click here to read “Michael Jackson’s Facelift” over at Ballardian — complete with more creepy plastic surgery photos and annotations from other Ballard interviews — or take a gander after the jump.

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ENDARKENMENT MANIFESTO by Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey

From ARTHUR MAGAZINE No. 29 (May 2008): Peter Lamborn Wilson’s half-serious proposal for a political movement to uphold and propagate the ideals of Green Hermeticism. Wilson sometimes uses the pen name ‘Hakim Bey.’ He is the author of the Temporary Autonomous Zone concept and manifesto, which, for better or worse, was the original inspiration for the Burning Man festival..

THE ENDARKENMENT MANIFESTO

At least half the year belongs to Endarkenment. Enlightenment is only a special case of Endarkenment—and it has nights of its own.

**

During the day democracy waxes, indiscriminately illuminating all and sundry. But shadowless noon belongs to Pan. And night imposes a “radical aristocracy” in which things shine solely by their own luminescence, or not at all.

**

Obfuscatory, reactionary and superstitious, Endarkenment offers jobs for trolls and sylphs, witches and warlocks. Perhaps only superstition can re-enchant Nature. People who fear and desire nymphs and fauns will think twice before polluting streams or clear-cutting forests.

**

Electricity banished shadows—but shadows are “shades,” souls, the souls of light itself. Even divine light, when it loses its organic and secret darkness, becomes a form of pollution. In prison cells electric lights are never doused; light becomes oppression and source of disease.

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Superstitions may be untrue but based on deeper truth—that earth is a living being. Science may be true, i.e. effective, while based on a deeper untruth—that matter is dead.

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The peasants attacking Dr. Frankenstein’s tower with their torches and scythes were the shock troops of Endarkenment, our luddite militia. The original historical Luddites smashed mechanical looms, ancestors of the computer.

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“Neolithic conservatism” (Paul Goodman’s definition of anarchism) positions itself outside the ponderous inevitability of separation and sameness. Every caveman a Prince Kropotkin, every cavewoman Mrs. Nietzsche. Our Phalanstery would be lit by candles and our Passions avowed via messenger pigeons and hot-air balloons.

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Imagine what science might be like to day if the State and Kapital had never emerged. Romantic Science proposes an empiricism devoid of disastrous splits between consciousness and Nature; thus it prolongates Neolithic alchemy as if separation and alienation had never occurred: science for life not money, health not war, pleasure not efficiency; Novalis’s “poeticization of science.”

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Of course technology itself is haunted—a ghost for every machine. The myth of Progress stars its own cast of ghouls and efreets. Consciously or unconsciously (what difference would it make?) we all know we live in techno-dystopia, but we accept it with the deterministic fatalism of beaten serfs, as if it were virtual Natural Law.

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Technology mimics and thus belittles the miracles of magic. Rationalism has its own Popes and droning litanies, but the spell they cast is one of disenchantment. Or rather: all magic has migrated into money, all power into a technology of titanic totality, a violence against life that stuns and disheartens.

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Hence the universal fear/desire for the End of the World (or for some world anyway). For the poor Christian Moslem Jewish saps duped by fundamentalist nihilism the Last Day is both horrorshow and Rapture, just as for secular Yuppies global warming is a symbol of terror and meaninglessness and simultaneously a rapturous vision of post-Catastrophe Hobbit-like local-sustainable solar-powered gemutlichkeit. Thus the technopathocracy comes equipped with its own built-in escape-valve fantasy: the Ragnarok of technology itself and the sudden catastrophic restoration of meaning. In fact Capital can capitalize on its own huge unpopularity by commoditizing hope for its End. That’s what the smug shits call a win/win situation.

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Winter Solstice (Chaos Day in Chinese folklore) is one of Endarkenment’s official holidays, along with Samhain or Halloween, Winter’s first day.

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Endarkenment stands socially for the Cro-Magnon or “Atlantaean” complex—anarchist because prior to the State—for horticulture and gathering against agriculture and industry—for the right to hunt as against the usurpation of commons by lord or State. Electricity and internal combustion should be turned off along with all States and corporations and their cult of Mammon and Moloch.

**

Despite our ultimate aim we’re willing to step back bit by bit. We might be willing to accept steam power or hydraulics. The last agreeable year for us was 1941, the ideal is about 10,000 BC, but we’re not purists. Endarkenment is a form of impurism, of mixture and shadow.

**

Endarkenment envisages a medicine advanced as it might have been if money and the State had never appeared, medicine for earth, animals and humans, based on Nature, not on promethean technology. Endarkenment is not impressed by medicine that prolongs “life span” by adding several years in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes and glued to daytime TV, all at the expense of every penny ever saved by the patient (lit. “sufferer”) plus huge debts for children and heirs. We’re not impressed by gene therapy and plastic surgery for obscene superrich post humans. We prefer an empirical extension of “medieval superstitions” of Old Wives and herbalists, a rectified Paracelsan peoples’ medicine as proposed by Ivan Illich in his book on demedicalization of society. (Illich as Catholic anarchist we consider an Endarkenment saint of some sort.) (Endarkenment is somewhat like “Tory anarchism,” a phrase I’ve seen used earliest in Max Beehbohm and most lately by John Mitchell.) (Other saints: William Blake, William Morris, A.K. Coomaraswamy, John Cowper Powys, Marie Laveau, King Farouk…)

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Politically Endarkenment proposes anarcho-monarchism, in effect somewhat like Scandinavian monarcho-socialism but more radical, with highly symbolic but powerless monarchs and lots of good ritual, combined with Proudhonian anarcho-federalism and Mutualism. Georges Sorel (author of Reflections on Violence) had some anarcho-monarchist disciples in the Cercle Proudhon (1910-1914) with whom we feel a certain affinity. Endarkenment favors most separatisms and secessions; many small states are better than a few big ones. We’re especially interested in the break-up of the American Empire.

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Endarkenment also feels some critical admiration for Col. Qadhaffi’s Green Book, and for the Bonnot Gang (Stirnerite Nietzschean bank robbers). In Islamdom it favors “medieval accretions” like sufism and Ismailism against all crypto-modernist hyperorthodoxy and politics of resentment. We also admire the martyred Iranian Shiite/Sufi socialist Ali Shariati, who was praised by Massignon and Foucault.

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Culturally Endarkenment aims at extreme neo-Romanticism and will therefore be accused of fascism by its enemies on the Left. The answer to this is that (1) we’re anarchists and federalists adamantly opposed to all authoritarian centralisms whether Left or Right. (2) We favor all races, we love both difference and solidarity, not sameness and separation. (3) We reject the myth of Progress and technology—all cultural Futurism—all plans no matter their ideological origin—all uniformity—all conformity whether to organized religion or secular rationalism with its market democracy and endless war.

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Endarkenists “believe in magic” and so must wage their guerrilla through magic rather than compete with the State’s monopoly of techno-violence. Giordano Bruno’s Image Magic is our secret weapon. Projective hieroglyphic hermeneutics. Action at a distance through manipulation of symbols carried out dramaturgically via acts of Poetic Terrorism, surrealist sabotage, Bakunin’s “creative destruction”—but also destructive creativity, invention of hermetico-critical objects, heiroglyphic projections of word/image “spells”—by which more is meant (always) than mere “political art”—rather a magical art with actual dire or beneficial results. Our enemies on the Right might call this political pornography and they’d be (as usual) right. Porn has a measurable physiopsychological effect. We’re looking for something like it, definitely, only bigger, and more like Artaud than Brecht—but not to be mistaken for “Absolute Art” or any other platonic purism—rather an empirical strategic “situationist” art, outside all mass media, truly underground, as befits Endarkenment, like a loosely structured “rhizomatic” Tong or freemasonic conspiracy.

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The Dark has its own lights or “photisms” as Henry Corbin called them, literally as entoptic/hypnagogic phosphene-like phenomena, and figuratively (or imaginally) as Paracelsan Nature spirits, or in Blakean terms, inner lights. Enlightenment has its shadows, Endarkenment has its Illuminati; and there are no ideas but in persons (in theologic terms, angels). According to legend the Byzantines were busy discussing “the sex of angels” while the Ottomans were besieging the walls of Constantinople. Was this the height of Endarkenment? We share that obsession.

Jan. 1, 2008


"One Nervous System’s Passage Through Time": GRANT MORRISON interviewed by Jay Babcock (Arthur No. 12/Sept 2004 cover feature)

“One Nervous System’s Passage Through Time”: Magic works, says genius comic book scribe GRANT MORRISON, and he would know—he’s been exploring it for 25 years. He talks with Jay Babcock about what he’s experienced and What It (Maybe) All Means. Cover illustration by Cameron Stewart.

Originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 12/Sept. 2004 (still available for $50US — click here for order info).

Although he has claimed to be an heir to an immortal space dynasty who stays cheerful by imagining that aliens “will probably be turning up to rescue him any day now,” Grant Morrison was in fact born in 1960 to a pair of liberal activist Earthlings. Growing up in the slums of Glasgow, Scotland, where he was brought up by his mother while being “barely educated” in public schools, Morrison developed an early enthusiasm for all things pop and fantastic: rock n roll music, science fiction and fantasy literature, mythology and the occult, punks, mods, beatniks and, of course, foxes and cats. Continue reading