magick

The Circle

We caught a bus out of the city near dawn
and crossed the wet football fields into the park
after a night of reading and talking and no sleep;
thin psyches, sensitive eyes, amazed by simple things -
oaks and crocuses, birds, breath vapour in the morning air.

February sunlight on the sycamores and chestnuts;
flickering on the spinning edge of a boomerang
bought in a music shop, thrown in a ritual circle.
A dog grabbed it, chewed it up and ran out of sight
over the lip of the hill. The horizon's circle placed us
at the centre of a world that moved with us like an aura.

We squinted when the sun would break the tree cover
and catch us talking about the four elements and the spirit;
about friends and past lives and drugs and spiced tea;
water spraying from a dog's wet fur, geese croaking
over the flat lake water, street lights flicking off on the waking roads.

Everything became concentrated in the ritual of the walk -
up the oak and beech slopes to the edge of the golf course,
along the river gully and past the tall, scarred tree,
around the edges of the lake; our conversation
fusing our experiences and memories with this reality:
the alchemy of the elements. Lake, sky, sun, mud, and us.

Once in a while, something notices how scattered we've become,
and decides to bring us together again: poetry, pub stories,
sharing sandwiches on a cold bench, kissing under a crumbling wall.
We collect what we can, and offer it to the other for blessing:
an oak twig, shaved and sanded for the altar; the names and shapes
of seeds and leaves; feelings summoned into the material world,
like the perfect oak, alive in space and time until the final storm.

Family Miasma

I'd left my family and friends to go and live the kind of life I'd always wanted to live, up in high mountain country with Liadain where the air was clean and time wasn't so important any more. But it seemed like it wasn't so easy to leave that life behind, because they all followed me - my mother and sister, grandparents and uncles and aunts, in a convoy up from the city for reasons best known to themselves.

I was trying to find Liadain so that we could leave, but my uncle cornered me in a small room and told me that he had found a passage in the Guru Granth that would make me have visions. I stayed to listen, and he read from the book with high drama, making me kneel down at one point. I really wanted to have visions, so I started to sway back and forth, trying to get into it even though I didn't understand the words he was saying. My mother and sister were trying to get my attention but I ignored them. Eventually my uncle finished the invocation and nothing in particular had happened so I got up and went to look for them.

To get out of the house I had to climb out of a large hallway window, and I got stuck, and a couple of my relatives tried to help me get down, but my uncle came along and told me to stop looking for attention, so I screamed at him to fuck off, which he didn't like at all. When I finally got down I went up to him and yelled "I'm sorry I told you to fuck off! OK? I'M SORRY!!" and then ran off crying, because everyone was being such an asshole and no one understood me at all.

Especially my mother, who was getting into her car and driving away because I had ignored her earlier. I caught up with her and sat in the car and tried to explain to her that I loved her, but we were never going to be able to have a proper, adult relationship if she was going to keep on getting upset over stupid things like this.

I don't know if she understood. The next time I saw her she was playing Internet chess with a man who was pretending to be John Wayne Gacy, Jr., who kept sending her disturbing instant messages which were supposed to be erotic, like "Now I'm cutting off your little finger, slowly," or "I'm flaying the skin from the inside of your thigh." My mother would make her move on the chessboard, and reply with flirtatious, coy messages. I didn't understand what she was getting out of the whole interchange, and I know it's not just because it was a dream, because I so rarely understand what people get out of the things they spend their time doing.

 

Magick

    woke up with hangover, sick and cold
    caught sight of myself everywhere
    in billowing light, water-clear;

    movement to and from became
    the growing and shrinking of things,
    the silence of their disappearance;

    sky built into an upside-down city,
    birds in fluid flocks curving
    out over the waste ground,

    sunlight like blood in our skin
    thickening our happiness until we bend
    under it, like snowdrops under their petals.

    Sat in a park to stay calm -
    hidden in a maze of drainpipes
    and alleys and fire escapes

    a place with a path of gravestones
    children ‘asleep in Jesus’ - maybe wake
    to the impatient tap of fingertips

    on the coffin lid - “You’re missing it all” -
    to see angels falling like meteors, like pips
    from an apple held over the ocean -

    this is the ‘other’ world - an hour
    became a century in my sickness
    and happiness - machinery for flowers -

Assimilating Crowley

I was in Knock in the West of Ireland, wandering through the prefabricated  chapels and the fruit machine souvenir shops, when I felt a strange call, and headed out towards the medical buildings...I found this squat, grey hospice, and walked past the windows...and there was someone behind the window, in the showers, who was frantically trying to get to me, to see me...it was Aleister Crowley.

I had to trick my way past the hospice wardens to get to see him by pretending I had other business there. Outside his cubicle was a life-size picture of him in full Masonic regalia, and beside it hung robes, sigils and flowers...it was magnificently camp, a parody of mysticism. He was squatting under the showers in depression or some kind of senility in this hopeless grey place, but he became very alert and sane when we talked. We laughed at the doctors together. He seemed happy to see me, or seemed to recognise me in some way, as if he'd been waiting for me, or someone like me, to come along.

He told me "A god is not bound to the Earth. A god is held by no strictures1." I told him he sounded like J.R.R. Tolkien, and he seemed amused. He told me that he was not responsible for a lot of his excesses of personality during his life. He seemed to really love me and want to communicate with me. Sometimes he looked old and haggard, and other times young and fat.

I told him I was born on his birthday - October 12th - and he looked at me extremely intently and with great urgency, trying to see if I was telling the truth, because he thought this was very important. His hands were gnarled, with long yellow nails. He put one of his fingers in my mouth, and it tasted bad, salty and sour.

Something odd happened when I woke up...I had the feeling, as I was rising out of the dream, that it had ended because my sister was too tired...it seemed that she had been 'channeling' Crowley for me, and couldn't maintain it...it was strange. When I was fully awake, I realized that he would always be there for me - that I could look inside any time and ask him a question, if I needed to.
 


 

1. I realize now that he was trying to tell me that a god cannot evolve.