Monday, July 31, 2006

Where do bearded men come from?

You can see here

My kind of magic, from the magic beard man, Eugene Burger. I'll drop a few quotes, as some of our members into magick may think that 'my kind of magic' has nothing to do with what they have got involved in (maybe they see 'stage magic' as little more than card tricks done by 'skeptics about the supernatural'), but I think the gap can prove smaller than some might imagine.

I think the central image of magic, the central metaphor, is transformation. And 'I thought it would be interesting to take an example of something that I think is magical thinking and to look at it specifically to see what is going on, because all of us indulge in magical thinking at one time or another. All you have to do is buy a lottery ticket and you are in the midst of magical thinking: All reason tells me that I am not going to win, and yet whenever I buy a lottery ticket it's the only time I enjoy giving money to the State!

I would like to talk about a person who clearly seemed to indulge in magical thinking and his name was Emil Coue. Coue was born in 1857 and died in 1926. He was an obscure pharmacist in France. Around the turn of the century his interests turned to hypnosis and autosuggestion. In 1922, he wrote a rather famous book called Self-Mastery Through Auto-Suggestion. He made trips to England and to the United States and claimed to have effected many rather remarkable cures for people.
If that's all true, then I think we can restate the game of performance magic this way: that the performance magician is telling you that you are the magician in your own life. You are the agent of transformation, your own transformation, and other peoples' transformation -- the people whom you come into contact with, the people you love. You are the agent of transformation; you are the magician and that is a fabulous, liberating, and even a little scary notion, because it puts all of the responsibility back on me. If I want my life to be different, I am the magician and I must make this happen. If I want a relationship to be improved, I am the magician and it's up to me, I can't wait for the other person.

So it comes as a great gift, and it is also a kind of shocking challenge because I think many people don't want to be the magician. They fight it. It's much easier to play the roll in life of the victim, "poor me." Magic says "no more poor me." It says, "you are the magician, and what are you going to do to make your life more magical?"
Margaret and I have a dear friend whose name is Max Maven who has a theory that little boys get into magic because of what we might call character disorders. I'm sure Max has a better phrase here! But this happens usually just before puberty. Here's this little boy who is powerless, whose parents might be hassling him, whose teachers are a pain in the neck, whose friends might be problematic as well and this kid is powerless and now he discovers magic. It's interesting how little boys go through a magic period very often. Not everybody, but certainly a lot more than you think. This little magic period, some of them get out of it. Others like Margaret and me get drawn into it. The idea is, here's this powerless kid, eleven or twelve years old. What gives him power? Well, having a secret.

We should talk about the phenomenology of the secret. What does the secret do to a person? Knowing a secret is power. So we have this little kid who is having all these problems in life, not terrible problems, but problems of estrangement, problems with parents, teachers and peers. This kid learns a couple of magic tricks, he can make a coin disappear, and that's power.

Dynamo ("the UK's David Blaine") might appear to fit this profile...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Off-course, of course, maybe

The Academy has entered a summer recess - no courses running right now - but the general forum [$60 per year] has plenty of new members, and a wide range of esoteric subjects under discussion.
NB: you get free membership to this forum as part of the deal when you sign up for a course - but you can just join it separately.

always surprisingly informative
David Jay Brown has a course called The Science of Sex and Drugs set for August 14th - Sept 24th.

Antero Alli
will reprise his very popular Angel-Tech (8 Circuit Model) course from Sept 25th - Nov 19th.

Patricia Monaghan intends to re-run her course The Goddess Path in the Spring of 2007, and apparently this can count towards Graduate credits (whatever that means - as a dropped-out autodidact (!) I have no idea...)

If you don't know much about forums, and online learning, you could browse the demo page

Course updates, costs, relevant texts and materials, etc - listed here.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Too Polite to Ask...

the classic image of 'the vessel with the pestle...'
As a rather cautious researcher I did once go in pursuit of some insight into the Holy Grail, by exploring the original stories. It came as quite a surprise to find out that it might appear as a cup (either from the Last Supper or the cup that caught the blood from Jesus’ wound) or a plate/bowl/dish, or a stone (philosopher’s stone), or a cauldron, or even a bloodline (Holy Blood, Holy Grail – sang graal, and all that). The stories seem confused and confusing.

The main function of the Grail seems like a ‘motivator’ for people – setting out on a difficult quest, the grail works as the carrot (ordeals of the adventure work as the stick). You might also relate it to the crock of gold at the foot of the rainbow, or almost any other kind of enigmatic and well-hidden treasure.

It has become a weak metaphor for the elusive ideal in any particular field of endeavour (‘the holy grail of stamp collectors’) – and of course has found itself mocked and maybe trivialised in Monty Python and the Holy Grail – as well as never getting clearly defined (Cathar treasure, or Cathar secret) in books like Rat Scabies and the Holy Grail (exploring the Rennes-Le-Chateau mystery).
Bogart with the Maltese Macguffin
After some reflection, I decided that the Grail looks like little more than a Macguffin, to me. Alfred Hitchcock used this word for an object (sometimes a person or event) around which the plot revolves (the secret plans, or phial of uranium, Maltese Falcon or treasure map or whatever). “People search for it, pursue it, steal it, kill for it, try to find out what it is...and yet for all its apparent importance to the plot, its only real value is as an excuse for people to do things”.

You may also find a connection with Vonnegut’s wampeter:

A wampeter is "the pivot of a karass, around which the souls of the members of the karass revolve." A karass has two wampeters at any time, one waxing and one waning.
everybody has a different ideal "Whom does the grail serve?"

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

FW - Pg 38, 7/10/06

I've started reading FW straight around the double ends joined, figured I might keep a travel log.

Over @ Buddhafart: Local Boy Bikes Path

Friday, July 07, 2006

RAW deal

making some real money for the first time in my life...We have had OK reports about Bob's health (good news) but the eBay auctions continue anyway, and one possibility we had considered involved asking Bob to sign some currency of our own devising.

It seemed appropriate, as Bob has a whole routine about money and alternative economies, etc. If Emperor Norton could print his own money we feel that Bob should certainly have that right, too.

In the forums we started gambling with RAW Patatows (or possibly, for the 'Pataphysicians - 'Patatows - spellings do differ) and now Bobby, one of our resident artists, has excelled himself to produce the 'real' Patatow famine here!

I don't want to show them too large right now (we can't have people forging them! heh heh) but they look just beautiful, both sides...You can now bid for signed ones at eBay, here.
For related material, check out Emperor Norton's homemade dollars, J.S.G. Boggs, Peggy Preheim etc. We don't expect they will raise as much as the dollar bill that Warhol signed, ($340,388) but we'd enjoy it if they did!

Look out for the auction of these truly unique and literally priceless (or valueless?) objects that you can carry in your wallet with your Pope cards, etc.
[update links] Boggs at Wiki.
Boggs and Duchamp - link to following quote from In Boggs We Trust by Olav Velthuis:

Ultimately, the bill is not a dollar at all, at most a representation of it. The bill is real, but the dollar itself is an abstraction… just like God. Indeed, it is remarkable how fundamentally modern monetary systems are grafted onto religion. According to Boggs the invention of both money and God date from the same era, and the traces are still visible in our own days. Just think of the double meaning of words like "redeem," or the root of the word "credit"--it is a direct derivative of the Latin word for believing. The side of Dutch coins reads "God Is With Us," while "In God We Trust" is printed on American bills.


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