Thursday, August 11, 2022

Sex, Drugs & Magick: Closed Doors


Sex, Drugs & Magick Interlude: Behind Suburban Doors: The Story of George & Martha

I recently witnessed someone writing about how, despite the objections of cannabis users, many people's first illegal act is purchasing the drug. Now, I had the typical pothead reactions of seething anger at this old calumny, before realizing that without the caveat that drug addiction always begins with the use of marijuana, many people probably do first break the law with extralegal purchases. Another part of me would like to say that I am still skeptical; I would imagine more people broke the law the first time by sneaking a cigarette (or a vape nowadays) or a drink (followed by how many others?) This does bring up the idea that many of us, aside from jaywalking or speeding, probably first break the law indulging in something the government says we are not allowed to have. We are repeating childhood forays into the cookie jar. 

Of course, the stakes are higher in consuming cannabis than in being caught with tobacco or alcohol while underage. So, in a sense, cannabis consumption is the first thing many of us do that could realistically end up with ourselves behind bars. Much like George and Martha, I am still uncomfortable purchasing cannabis and have no desire to add any other incarcerable risks to my life. I still live in one of the more uncivilized parts of Our Great Nation and while my paranoia isn't quite to the level of our suburban couple's, I have always felt some kinship with the pair. 

I can remember wishing that I had some sort of self-destruct case when I first began to keep cannabis on hand. Over the years I have used hidden outdoor stashes, hollowed out books (I thought it was terribly clever that I hollowed out a pharmacology textbook), and forgotten access panels to rafters to hide my stash. For a couple years I kept it inside a hollow porcelain elephant statue that had a chip in the hip that could be removed and replaced, kept inside a crowded closet. While I'm no longer nearly as paranoid about a home invasion, I still try to think strategically about how to hide and dispose of my grass, if need be. 

One difference between George and I is that I hate having cannabis in my vehicle. Absolutely hate it; I don't enjoy driving to begin with, let alone riding dirty. I hate especially having to drive long distances with it in my vehicle. Perhaps in the days of coerced names George's strategy would have made sense, but in my mind you risk a lot more having it in a vehicle than in your home. (At an end of the year party one of my coworkers asked if I had weed; I was flabbergasted they thought I'd ever travel with it unnecessarily. Pretty lame, I know.) I am equally as surprised and distressed if someone thinks to smoke in their vehicle and have pled my career as a reason not to light up when I am in the vehicle with them. 

Keep it at home, folks. If you want to play it safe. 

Stray Thoughts 

- The quote from "The Book of Shadows" at the beginning of the interlude is another fabrication of Gardner's. Interestingly, it was written as a reply to Doreen Valentine proposing a set of rules for "the Craft," due to the influx of Wiccan practitioners in the late Fifties. Gardner replied that the Craft didn't need new rules since it already possessed this, previously unseen or unheard of, part of the "authentic" Book of Shadows. 

- As an aficionado of de Sade, I should point out that blasphemy and sex are one of the greatest flavor combinations in the world. 


  1. George and Martha's paranoia about smoking weed in their home seems over the top, to me. I wonder how literal RAW portrays this? In my mind, taking a little whisky so they can excuse their intoxication in case of a raid in their home, alters the chemistry by combining a soporific with a psychedelic for a soporifedelic, but maybe that became irrelevant at the dosages they used.

    With all their cautious measures, it appears obvious RAW would use different names. I can't help but think that he connects George and Martha with George Washington and his wife Martha from the previous chapter, again planting a subconscious, benevolent association of weed with George.

    "Behind Suburban Doors," the title, has Cabalistic connections.
    Door = Daleth, the path that connects Binah to Chokmah; the Archetypal Mother with the Father represented here by George and Martha, doubled up with the association with the Washingtons.

    The initials of George and Martha, G + M = 43 by Gematria, a very important number for Sex Magick as described in the list of Primes in 777. RAW imagines George and Martha practicing Sex Magick at the end of the Interlude.

    The initials of "Behind Suburban Doors" add to 66, another significant number for Sex Magick as it relates to Aleph, ALP, the Fool in the Tarot, the androgyny of the two lovers fusing, etc. Also 6 x 6 = 36 which gets us back to The Star Sapphire we discussed a couple of weeks ago.

  2. The phone conversation featured as an example on p.226 did remind me of how this type of transaction was still being conducted back in France in my teens. Just replace “Mexican cooking utensils” with DVDs, shirts or whatever and there you have it. Pretty ridiculous and highly suspicious, but at least not a directly incriminating proof of anything. I am being told that the current government there, in all its out of control backwardness and scary fascination for a Police State, is now enforcing cannabis busts more than ever. Thank Eris I do not live there any longer.

    Where I do live, cannabis also totally is illegal but, at least in the capital city, the police seldom get out of their cars, and it does smell pretty green all over town. I still freely smoke outdoors, in the streets, without fear of much happening.

    I do not really support the system endorsed by George on p.225. If I need a license in order to purchase a substance, who’s gonna deliver it and according to which criteria? As soon as something is not fully legal, there’s bound to be a black market. If alcohol isn’t legal before, say, age 21, you end up with teens having easier access to fentanyl than to beer. George makes some good points but, if “invasive or disruptive behavior is everybody’s business”, who decides what constitutes such behavior? Is it really that much worse to smoke a joint at the terrace of a cafe rather than a tobacco cigarette?

    There’s one flaw in George and Martha’s long list of precautions: hair testing. Perhaps was it much less common back then. With an over three months-long prominence of cannabis in your hair, those can be tricky.
    That being said, “Barry Cooper, a former drug enforcement agent who now works in “freedom activism” believes that these tests are beatable. “I passed several hair tests without abstaining. A combination of bleaching your hair, recoloring, and using a detox shampoo will guarantee that you pass every time.”
    Thank you Barry, unfortunately “they can shave their head, they can bleach it, they can straighten it, all of those chemicals will help to remove not necessarily all the drug [but some of it]. [Testers] can take arm hair or leg hair or the very unpopular pubic hair or armpit hair.”
    Even worse than the Piss Police, we now have a Pubic Hair Police.

    On that regard, the point on p.223 about “anybody who mentions the Constitution is regarded as a Communist” once again hammer the same nail regarding freedom, and connects with the Preface for the 2000 Edition, making DS&M maybe one of the most overtly political piece in RAW bibliography.

  3. I love Robert Creeley's poem "A Wicker Basket" about where he hid his pot:

    A Wicker Basket
    Comes the time when it’s later
    and onto your table the headwaiter
    puts the bill, and very soon after
    rings out the sound of lively laughter—

    Picking up change, hands like a walrus,
    and a face like a barndoor’s,
    and a head without any apparent size,
    nothing but two eyes—

    So that’s you, man,
    or me. I make it as I can,
    I pick up, I go
    faster than they know—

    Out the door, the street like a night,
    any night, and no one in sight,
    but then, well, there she is,
    old friend Liz—

    And she opens the door of her cadillac,
    I step in back,
    and we’re gone.
    She turns me on—

    There are very huge stars, man, in the sky,
    and from somewhere very far off someone hands me a slice of apple pie,
    with a gob of white, white ice cream on top of it,
    and I eat it—

    Slowly. And while certainly
    they are laughing at me, and all around me is racket
    of these cats not making it, I make it

    in my wicker basket.

  4. The comment from Martha about not being represented by the political system and feeling like she lives in an occupied country captures perfectly the opinions of libertarians in the 1970s, when pretty much all of the libertarians I knew smoked pot, and nobody in either of the two major parties was even talking about legalization.

    I don't know that buying pot is the first illegal thing that many people did (I suspect it is true of some people), but being part of an illegal subculture does give the experience of what it's like to be in an "underground" movement, much like the circulation of samizdat manuscripts in the old Soviet Union.


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 ...