Monday, November 14, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Words in the Wings

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Afterwords To The 2021 Edition

Skimming over RAW's occasionally humorous glossary, a part of the book that would have meant a lot more before the rise of the Internet, we arrive at the four afterwords that bookend Wilson's study. The amount of forewords and afterwords attached to this volume show how impactful it has been in many students of Wilson's lives. I won't say as much about these afterwords as I have said about Wilson's writings, some deal with the present and the future and I have no intention of arguing with living magicians. After all, they could be right and I could be wrong. 

Rodney Orpheus, in his "Our Holy Trinity," gives us a solid foundation in the why of the title of the book; why do these three things seem to go so well together and why are they so reviled? I must admit, the first time I saw the title of this book, in the back of another Wilson volume, it seemed particularly brazen. The subtitle didn't help. I was also a teenager and still very conscious of what my books were titled, as my parents could see them at any time. I still remember my mother's heartfelt sigh when she saw me earnestly studying Lon Milo Duquette's Enochian Sex Magick. It was a sigh of bitter acceptance, I think we could look back on it now and laugh- but I won't be brining it up at Thanksgiving. Orpheus points out that "undue" interest in sex, drugs and magic all keep us from being normal. Normalcy being the desired state of a populace by its rulers, those of us who purposefully discover things outside their purview become the enemy. The things we love and revere become filth. 

But, Orpheus points out that sex, drugs and magic are winning. My own writings here have shown my qualms with this assessment, but the trend is still towards greater personal freedom, in some ways and for the moment. 

Andrew O'Neill's "Global Agnosticism" explores the changes that are afoot and the role that Wilson played in the past. O'Neill's survey of the changing attitudes towards gender, sex and relationships is combined with the widespread interest in the occult as well as the greater acceptance of hemp-derived CBD and psychedelic therapy. O'Neill wisely points out that our internet, particularly social media, doesn't fulfill the role of an open source of information because of "the algorithm" and that we must still strive to question every idea to truly become wise. O'Neill also acknowledged the pushback that has come from the spread of sex, drugs and magic and succinctly compares it to the phrase "I can remember when this was all just fields," which somehow encapsulates the sad, stodgy nature of the naysayers. (Our author also made me guffaw when they pointed out that those of us who shake our heads at the rise of "Instagram witches" might welcome a resurgence of the witch-hunts.) 

Most importantly, O'Neill praises Wilson and acknowledges that he would have still been trying to grow and accustom himself to the world if he were still alive. This has always been my personal belief, that someone, one of the closest that we had to a saint during our lifetimes, of his stature would not have simply calcified into wherever he was at the time of his passing. The world has changed a lot since the Old Man's Greater Feast- perhaps naively, I hope I get to hear what he thinks of everything that has happened. 

In "The Alchemical Mystery of Prima Materia," Alexis Mincolla gives us another explanation of the opposition towards sex, drugs and magic and then aligns our three concepts with the three alchemical principles. Mincolla's essay neatly aligns salt (the body) to sex, mercury (the mind) to drugs and sulfur (the soul) to magic. Mincolla points out that this trinitarian model is easily applied to many principles, but makes a convincing argument that his present interpretation fits particularly well. Alchemy is essentially concerned with transformation and Mincolla outlines how each element of our title are tools for transformation. Like Orpheus, Mincolla states that personal transformation isn't in the interest of the powers that be, hence their calumnies against its avenues. 

Mincolla does state that most people aren't going to question you if your trying to turn a buck- hence alchemists would claim they were simply trying to turn base matter into gold. However, I should point out that many alchemists were reviled. And that the manners that people have tried to make money off of sex, drugs and magic have been suppressed and are still sources of scorn: prostitution along with non-government sanctioned drug dealing are two of the most hated professions in the world. I would also probably laugh, in a bitter grapes kinda way, at someone trying to make a living simply by being a magician. That said, the idea of owning a metaphysical book shop, however niche, appeals to me more and more every day I go into my current job. 

Finally the book closes with a delightfully inspiring and inspired essay by Arden Leigh, "Seven Guidelines For the Intrepid Adventurer Pursuing the Expansion of Consciousness Through the Practices of Sex, Drugs, and Magick." The essay won me over by the line closing with "...eyes aglow and bellowing divine gibberish." Leigh's afterword, the longest of the four, is a brilliant, very human communication about the trials, tribulations and joys of consciousness expansion. Perhaps it is her former occupation as a pickup artist, which she directly alludes to a couple times, that account for her brilliant and intimate communication skills. I was not expecting this kind of dialogue at the end of the book, but I deeply appreciate its presence. 

I fully endorse the advice given and reading it has made me reexamine some of my attitudes, post-conceptions and conceits I've accrued over the years. I especially appreciated Leigh's wise words of caution about the relationships we form on these journeys and how to discern which ones are right and which are a waste of energy. Her description of the workings of magic is moving and, in my experience, accurate. What a lovely coda. 

Thus begins the end of our discussion of the Hilaritas edition of Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits. I'll see you out there, and hopefully our paths will continue to cross on our journeys. 

Stray Thoughts

- Remember that Tom's Natural Law reading group will be starting up this month. My copy arrived and it does look like an excellent volume. It should be an interesting time. 

- I don't know what we'll be doing here. Eric said he's thinking about reading Balzac's History of the Thirteen. I haven't read that before, but I did know someone who was fond of the novel(s). 

- Again, please check out Oz's lectures on Deleuze. 

- I've recently finished Alan Moore's Illuminations and Phil Baker's City of the Beast: The London Of Aleister Crowley, both of which I intend to review soon as I think they'd be of interest for our little group. I also received Higgs' soon to be out of print novels which I might write down some thoughts about. 

- It occurs to me that Andrew O'Neill is a sort of magical older sibling or cousin to me. I respect their words all the more after watching some of their stand up routine. (As my most important magical partner, before my wife, informed me: "performance" is the essence of magic.) 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Apuleius Charlton's List of Shit You Probably Don't Need to Experience to Live a Full Life But I Made My Choice

 Our friend Spookah asked: Apuleius, I feel curious, which other books would you consider “essential reading for anyone interested in magic”?

This is the kind of question I hope and live for. 

How Can Anyone Believe This Shit? 

- "Magic, Running Through the Gutters Like Lightning" by Alan Moore (Dodgem Logic #3) 

- SSOTBME by Ramsey Dukes

- The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (See "Appendix Lamed")

- Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson

- Promethea (disowned by Alan Moore)

- What The Bee Knows by P.L. Travers 

- The Living Qabalah by Will Parfitt 

- Liber E and Liber O, 777, Konx Om Pax by Crowley

- At least two different biographies of Crowley and Blake (or whichever magicians you choose) (I recommend Crowley's Autohagiography and Regardie's Eye in the Triangle as well as Gilchrist's original biography with Peter Ackroyd's. I would revise the latter to Higg's Blake vs. the World nowadays.) 

Practical Magic (You Already Know It) 

- While unpublished as of yet, The Bumper Book of Magic by Alan Moore and Steve Moore (along with a slew of incredibly talented artists) 

- Jerusalem by Alan Moore

- "The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels" in Kaos 14 by Alan Moore and Steve Moore

- Somnium, Selene by Steve Moore

- The Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels, The Highbury Working, Snakes & Ladders and Angel Passage by The Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels 

- "Unearthing" by Alan Moore in London: City of Disappearances edited by Ian Sinclair 

- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil 

- Moonchild, The Equinox, Eight Lectures On Yoga, The Book of Thoth and Liber ABA by Crowley (really, just read everything by Crowley)

- Ishtar Rising, Sex, Drugs & Magick, Masks of the Illuminati and Schrodinger's Cat Triolgy (read the original three separate books) by Wilson (really, just read everything...)

- The Complete Works of William Blake (O'Neill)

- How To See Fairies, Blast Your Way To Megabucks, and My Years of Magical Thinking by Ramsey Dukes 

- Mules and Men and Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston 

- Ulysses and Finnegans Wake by James Joyce 

- The Magic of Psychosynthesis by Will Parfitt 

- Tantra: The Way of Action by Francis King

Austin Osman Spare by Phil Baker

The Book of Pleasure by Austin Osman Spare

Some Discretion Needed (This Applies to Everything On This List: There Are No Categories, Anywhere) 

- the Maybe Logic courses of Lon Milo Duquette (it wouldn't hurt to read everything by, and helps a lot to read everything by Lon Milo Duquette.) 

- The Magical Revival by Kenneth Grant 

- The Dedalus Book of the Occult and Turn Off Your Mind by Gary Lachman  

- Journey to Ixtlan, Tales of Power, and The Fire From Within by Carlos Castaneda 

- Sex Magick by Louis T. Culling

- anything you can get your paws on 

A bookshelf in my home that houses a part of my occult library. 


Decidedly not the book for which I penned an introduction. Although, one could make a perverse argument that Wilson's book is a "Quality Religious Book For Children."

Hello, all. Today I've finished up my introduction to The Walls Came Tumbling Down. I've attempted over the course of my many revisions to play off the ideas that Wilson inserts into the script to continue the dialogue, as it were. Sometimes I might sound a bit dire, but like Wilson and all my beloved "fathers," I am a crank. When it is released next year, I sincerely hope you all enjoy it. Or that it at least doesn't sound like fried drivel. Whichever. 

I'll have my final Sex, Drugs & Magick post up this week. Thankfully, I have a couple days off from work this week. I'm also gearing up for the Natural Law reading group on Tom's blog and will soon have my review of Alan Moore's Illuminations over to him for publication there. 

I'm not sure what I'll be doing here in the coming months. Perhaps not much of anything. Along with Tom's blog, I'm rededicating myself (for real this time) to following Oz's excellent series on Deleuze. I heartily recommend checking out his YouTube channel if you haven't already; it is a real pity that Oz's philosophy isn't one of the bigger ones infecting minds on that website. 

Yours in Ambiguity, 


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: The Future Will Be Much Wilder and Hairier


Sex, Drugs & Magick: 2000: An Inner Space Odyssey 

Now we've arrived at the last chapter where Wilson delivers his final bits of philosophy, social commentary and prophecy. Finished in the early years of the 1970s looking forward to the year 2000, we are almost as far removed from his future as he was from our past. What held up in the half-century that has transpired since? 

Christianity is still a threat to our civilization and has inspired the extremist response in our society that elects madmen, fascists and not-even-hiding-that-they're-shills politicians in the name of reaction to the excesses of the Left. Changing trends in gender and sexuality have spurred much of this animosity that now seeks to remove any mention of homosexuality (and much more besides) from schools and society at large. The sexual crisis in Christianity has gone on long enough that now a powerful, illegitimate minority seeks to have the highest court in the land rescind rights concerning marriage, birth control and secularism from the American people. While I imagine that some Christians oppose abortion because it feels wrong, I also can also clearly tell that the motivation of the larger contingent is to control sex and limit sexual activity as much as possible. They will come for what we do behind closed doors if this is allowed to carry on. I anticipate, barring a political miracle, that in five years mandatory prayer will be back in most schools, there will be federal laws against abortion and birth control will be heavily regulated. 

These same Christians who, in Mencken's words, fear above all that someone, somewhere is enjoying themselves, rant and rave against the use of medications for ADHD, depression and anxiety. To an extent, we can posit that this is backlash against over diagnosis but we can also reasonably suspect that it is born out of superstitious ignorance. I do not have the energy or knowledge to comment at length on this, but I will again say that our hard won cannabis reform teeters on the edge of a knife. Who knows how long these brief glimpses of sensible drug policy will last in the America that is to come? Strides in psychedelic therapy are still in the infancy of their legitimacy and we will see if they ever make it out of Europe and the West Coast to the rest of the world.  If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that large swaths of the populace could care less what medical professionals have to say and that the CDC, AMA and other organizations are as political as they have always been. We had a chance to show our resilience and unity as a species/nation and we failed. Hard. I fear that if the other side gets their way, we will be seeing a societal reset to 1959 and much of what we have and continue to take for granted will join abortion in the back alleys and black markets. 

As far as religious revolutions go, there doesn't seem to be any novel upheavals occurring right now. Arguably, the Drug Revolution's religious undercurrents became what we can loosely deem New Age beliefs which are as popular as ever, yet as wishy-washy as ever on the other hand. While a decade ago I was confident we were seeing the final years of Orthodoxy's tyranny in Western society, it seems that was a false hope. The war of heavens continues to rage across the Earth; we are still lost, divided and increasingly annoyed with our neighbor's beliefs. (I should note that most so called religion has as much to do with spirituality as the Kardashians do with quantum physics. Religion, in the common sense, is preoccupied with societal mores and tradition than any sort of inward exploration and bringing ourselves forth in the world.) 

With the repetitious, pained lamentation of "only love is vile," Wilson pushes the reader's nose close to the burning insanity at the core of our society. We are still very much in an age that Blake would lament and where Reverend Swift could still make his acerbic observation that "we have enough religion to hate each other, but not enough to love." The amount of Christians, gentle, all-accepting and world-healing Christians, I know to this age that do not blink at violence but blush and stammer at the sight of a woman's flesh is astounding. The problem persists. Are we able to share a world with people who believe what seems to this heretic to be arch-blasphemy? Will they even let us have our own share of the world, away from their perverse, intrusive belief system? They haven't so far. Is there a point to trying to appease this idiot demographic when they seem determined to drive us all into their contra-spiritual muck? 

So, our discussion of Sex, Drugs & Magick: A Journey Beyond Limits, proper, concludes much the same as it proceeded, with me anxiety-griping about the difference between RAW's vision and ugly reality. This has always been one of my favorite of his works, along with Ishtar Rising, since I read them in my wayward youth. It's full of inaccurate predictions and outdated information, but it is one of the trustiest guides to drug use I can think of, certainly in spirit. I'm grateful Wilson wrote this and doubly grateful for the impact it has had on me: it would be in my essential reading for anyone interested in magic. 

Stray Thoughts

- It should be mentioned that Ouspensky, delightfully, also wrote down the line "a man can go mad from an ashtray" while under the effects of nitrous. 

- I am almost certain that Wilson's references to counterculture groups adopting tenants of Crowleyean sex magic "as early as 1962" is a reference to Oberon Zell-Ravenheart's Church of All Worlds. The Church of All Worlds, covered in Margot Adler's Drawing Down the Moon, was a religion inspired by Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. While reading Stranger in a Strange Land at the embarrassingly late age of 26, I was blown away by just how much Heinlein included from Crowley; I often joke that it is so different from his other works, aside from being incredibly well written and compelling, that Parsons must have ghostwritten it in between Science Fiction Club meetings. 

- As I said above, this is the last post for the book proper, but it isn't the end. I'll be posting at least one or two more posts covering the afterwords in the Hilaritas text. I am almost through Alan Moore's Illuminations and will be penning a review of that soon. I will, of course, offer it to Tom before posting it here. 

- I would also like to note that I'm turning over my foreword to Wilson's The Walls Came Tumbling Down to Rasa this week to accompany the Hilaritas edition. I'm excited to appear with Wilson and the wonderful Bobby Campbell. 

Kallisti, y'all

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Bernadine Dohrn could take you all by herself in the shape you're in


When you use crack cocaine, you're disappointing Pee Wee.

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Up Against the Wall: The Story of Tyrone

This interlude has some pretty delightful writing in it; personally I adore the metaphors "I got feisty, broke into the conversation with a verbal crowbar..." and "[h]e used a verbal hatchet and cut his way back in..." Bon mots like that are paired with some genuinely hilarious reproduction of what late-Sixties-hippie-speed-talk might plausibly have sounded like. While Wilson possessed a tip-top memory, he didn't to my knowledge have an eidetic one, so I assume much of the details are his best attempts at a reconstruction of Tyrone's monologues. But what an attempt at recollection! Given the happy, if sinister in its larger implications, ending of this vignette, I would say this is one of the more enjoyable interludes in Sex, Drugs & Magick. 

At the risk of being gauche, I don't think that Tyrone is anything like we'd imagine someone of his description today. In our era, I'd imagine an individual who is widely known for relentlessly being relentlessly sexually active at 17 and using speed would  conjure a bespectacled, ringlet-haired, aspiring writer, but that might just be my own prejudices. Today, speed is dirty. Or perhaps, speed is dirty depending on the brand and setting: there was a good reason for the reduction of sentences for crack-cocaine under Obama. One version of the drug was expensive, one was cheap and therefore worse and more punishable under the law. It is a small wonder I think, where crack cocaine and methamphetamine have been equated with the lowest rungs of society most of my life, that I immediately think of it with an aversion derived from a wish for foreignness. And like, mayhap because of, Wilson I have an aversion to uppers based on their danger and what I see as their relative worthlessness. 

I also think this is an odd anecdote-biography to follow the chapter on LSD/psychedelics. Most of the interludes involve people who are involved with the drug for the preceding chapter, here we have a brief mention that Tyrone used LSD when he was 14 and then move on to his speed usage. I would wager that this might be a message about the fleeting nature of LSD and that far from an end-all-be-all experience that some imagine it to be, it is simply something that happens followed by many other events. The discussion of the differences between talking to someone on acid and conversing with someone on uppers is humorous and illustrative. Aside from being able to mentally concentrate (somewhat), I have always felt more-or-less physically sound on psychedelics. I'd say drinking has a much more dire effect on my motor skills. 

Wilson again demonstrates his human decency by being forbearing with a young man who wants to court his daughter who he absolutely does not want around. Another way he was an exemplary human being, I shudder to think of that day. Wilson also guides the young man as best he can until Tyrone takes off and I believe that there is a personal sense of joy at the end of the chapter. But Wilson does cast a shadow over the end with the words of Ram Dass. 

It occurred to me while I was reading the chapter, how many people in life I've heard talk like Wilson has Tyrone talk. The conspiratorial fantasies and patently absurd theories I've heard spout from a few acquaintances at times were recalled to memory while reading this story. I wonder, since I have been trained to associate speed use with a certain stigmatic set of symptoms, if perhaps I was unaware that someone was using at the time. And more frighteningly, it does seem that Ram Dass was absolutely correct about the use of speed in the upper echelons of the government. At least according to that disgraced dick Madison Cawthorn and the late, sainted Carrie Fisher. (It pains me to put them in the same sentence.) 

Stray Thoughts

- I find it hilarious the girl who vandalized Tyrone's apartment had to find someone from the Weather Underground to secure a can of spray paint. 

- Regrettably, Tyrone and many other conspiratorial thinkers were nail-on-the-head correct about the dangers of Catholicism and its continued presence in civilization. 

- Was belladonna really that common in California during the 60s? 

- I'd like to know how Tyrone's life turned out. Like a few other figures in the interludes, I have a (what I hope isn't voyeuristic) interest to hear the rest of their stories. Wherever Tyrone may or may not be, I hope he got to ram a jazz guitar down someone's throat. 

-Turns out "every few days" means "next week." I don't know what to do with myself. 

I imagine a speed freak who was afraid of the draft and pollution,who also liked Lord of the Rings, listened to The Yardbirds. 

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: What I Did On My Tibetan Space Time Warp Star Nova Trip This Summer

Sex, Drug & Magick: Tibetan Space-Time-Warp-Star-Nova-Trips

I was obsessed with sex and visionary states long before I ever thought to try psychedelics, or perhaps before it was within the realm of entertaining the idea of actually trying psychedelics myself- I knew it was there, of course. I had experienced what I believed to be rapturous, spiritual sex and witnessed things that should not have been there (and that occasionally made me question my sanity) years before I ingested psilocybin. It should be noted Blake never ingested any psychedelics or anything harder than his nightly "cauldron of porter," as Gilchrist would have it. 

The main aftereffects of my first trip were a deeper appreciation of the works of RAW and Alan Moore as well as the dawning revelation that this is it. Psychedelics grounded me; while I continued to question the nature of reality, I also knew that this was decidedly as real as it gets. This was not a test. 

A later, more harrowing experience would lead to a different conclusion, but that is a story for another time. 

My sexual experiences on psychedelics have never been under the influence of LSD. During one, I found the time compression that Wilson discusses here very real; hours passed in moments. My partners' head also turned into that of a multi-fluorescent ostrich for some time. The second time we were tripping too hard to complete the act. It then took about an hour to find a bathroom and our way back to our tent. Your mileage will vary. 


Stray Thoughts

- I find it intensely curious that Dr. Richard Alpert was the one who conducted the homosexual reprogramming experiments (voluntary experiments, as Wilson points out), as Alpert was a gay man himself. There was even a crude pun made about his holy name, Ram Dass, based on his sexual preferences which Leary reportedly used while discussing his colleague after their paths had split. 

- Wilson warns about the increased powers of the government a la the "War on Drugs." Right now, as we are seeing heinous power grabs by the same segment of society that Wilson was discussing decades ago in the United States, I fear for the strides made in the past two decades away from that awful status quo. Advocates of sensible drug policies have warned about the dangerous consequences that could/will follow if a recent proposal to declare fentanyl "a weapon of mass destruction" is made law. While the illegal trade of fentanyl is a menace to human life, declaring it a weapon of mass destruction would entail massive setbacks to harm-reduction policies. Not great!

- In the context of the War on Drugs, Wilson references Mussolini as Italy's "sawdust Caesar." As of last week, Italy has elected a second sawdust Caesar, whose party is the direct descendant of the Fascist Party. Tremble, Europe. Tremble, World. 

- I am painfully aware that I owe all of you an apology for the start-and-halt schedule. A week becomes a month as sickness developed into work muddle and redeveloped back into sickness. On top of that, our modem broke on the day I am writing this. I hope to make it to a wi-fi hotspot soon so I can update this post. I am planning on a quicker publication schedule with posts every few days to prevent the morass of life from halting our progress once again so near the ending. Forgive me friends. and please forgive my negligence of your own projects. I am correcting myself. 

Courtesy of Spookah, another does of Gandalf: 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sickness and Health

My friends, please forgive my absence this past week. I meant to get the blog updated this weekend as I have been delayed with the start of school, but I am not feeling very well. I was able to write my final post for Tom's Prometheus Rising group which will be posted tomorrow, but that was extent of my output this weekend. I will have a blog post up later this week when I am feeling a little more clear headed and sound of body. 

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Words in the Wings

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Afterwords To The 2021 Edition Skimming over RAW's occasionally humorous glossary, a part of the book that woul...