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A Sorcerer's Notebook
A Sorcerer’s Notebook: Part 1
Welcome to the new series here at my newsletter, A Sorcerer’s Notebook, where around twice a month, for this year, I will share a few terms, theories, or weird esoterica. The Sorcerer being me, and my only qualification being that I have floundered down several spiritual paths in my life. I have said the awkward thing, I have interrupted sacred ceremony with my bullshit, challenged kind and rare teachers because I could and why the fuck not. When it comes to what most folks mislabel as “magick” I have done it all. Although, not in that “I know what I’m doing, come sit at my feet” way.
When I say “I have done it all”, I mean more like I have made every mistake you could make, so here is a reference manual for how to (hopefully) avoid them. In addition to being a mistake-maker, I am also a practical sorcerer, or as I say, simply a practitioner. So are you. Most people participate in magick, ceremony, or spell craft and have no idea. Alchemy is so common most people don’t think twice about it. If you are a Christian who has a table polity you try to transmute bread into the intangible substance that is the very flesh of Grace. Every Sunday. In robes. With candles lit. Do you see where I’m going with this?
I’m not weird, you are. Also, don't get freaked out by this newsletter until you put those tarot cards down, you stop using essential oils, and your pastor stops openly using candle magick.
Since the whole premise of this newsletter has changed, I will restate it in case you missed last week. I believe that we are entering an age of the everyday practitioner.
Meaning: the “old ways” are coming alive again. Cis-hetero-patriarchy has beaten the Divine feminine out of most churches, and white supremacy has made spirituality unto itself. Assimilation. Even in white esoterica, there is this search for ancient and pure Indigenous practice that completely ignores its part in its destruction. It is often then used as a way to ignore the actual Black, brown, or Indigenous practitioners of the art who are alive today. Real peoples. Here. With living traditions. Disregarded.
Aleister Crowley, the Brotherhood of Luxor, the Golden Order, and the Rosicrucians in America at least, can all trace their lineage from a queer Black abolitionist at the turn of the 19th century. But go ask the average witch selling Golden Order books at their shop and they have no fucking clue what you are talking about.
If you don’t get any of those references, you will after one year. You will also hopefully get the message that times like we are experiencing have happened before, and they will happen again. We are being called back into deep “knowings”; I believe that will force earth-based practices and leave us little space to do anything else but contemplate who we really are in this world. This universe, this world, like everyone and everything before it, demands answers.
As you also know, as a practical theologian I don't believe you know a thing until you go and experience it. For the record: I am currently named olosun Osundayiisi Baba Awo Amosun EgbeJumoke. Meaning I am currently a priest of Oshun, who has become a priest of Ifa, and have received the Orisha’s Egbe, Ogun, and will receive Obtala this quarter. That’s enough to google and explore for weeks. Just my name is a deep dive, so have fun.
I will most likely talk very little about my current tradition this year. Or how Jesus entered a very full room when I entered the church, and how he was happy to see a room in my heart full of the Creator's love. I’ll save those arguments for the ecclesiastical trial.
Besides, are you really a denomination unless you have at least one good witch hunt and trial? You good Lutherans from Norway know what I’m talking about.
This newsletter will start to define a world you may or may not believe is real, but enough people around you believe it is real, which makes it worth the journey. Besides, I am giving this away for free.
(That said, we work on a reparations system here. You can sign up and once a year you get charged an annual amount for supporting a Black Queer artist. It’s a sliding scale based on need and where you land on the wicked scale of oppression we call civilization. NOTE: THE SUBSCRIPTION RENEWS ANNUALLY, OR MONTHLY. So if you give, let’s say, $40 today, that means you will be charged $40, either once a year or once a month. You can email me and I won't dispute the charges, but I only have so much power with these corporations.)
This issue explains each of the five categories I will be “defining”: the practices (or rituals), terms, beings, dimensions (honestly), and other esoterica. Those five areas will be your reference points as we go through this journey together. That way, you will have an idea what I mean as we navigate through the Byzantine maze of terms most peoples have used as a method to obscure knowledge. I will also give you my definition of Magick, Ashe, or Sorcery, or Witchcraft. Next issue, I will talk about different schools or expressions.
I will also make the argument throughout this newsletter that most people chasing knowledge of the unknown, or power in that realm, have no fucking clue what they are asking for. But play stupid games, get stupid prizes. Straight up. If you come to this looking to get blissed out, to find escape from the pain of this planet and its peoples, man do I have terrible news for you.
In all my studies, in all my walks with the Creator, in all the ways I have served love in my life, I have only ever been rendered more human by the experience, not less. What I mean by that is: true humanity, truly being alive, is to see the world as it is with all it’s pain, joy, beauty, misery, manufactured oppression, and unnatural state it is bent in, and forever compare it to visions what we could all be, you will spend lifetimes trying to get back to that state of being.
You could spend the rest trying to see the universe the way it was, or will be. Being a practitioner is like dragging Heaven and all its banquets with you. In Heaven, like a child who tucked in the table cloth at God’s table to keep their robes clean, but then you were suddenly called to earth but forgot to untuck the tablecloth on the way out, so you are just dragging one piece of the Creator's table with you everywhere you go.
The five categories we will use are as follows.
Things that can be seen:
This is easy to explain, kinda. This is things I have seen, or that I believe can be seen. Or they are things that one can see. Sometimes it will also be things others have claimed to see. These will be in various states of either altered or unaltered consciousness, depending on one’s definition of that. Perhaps some of it is just unexplainable, but also practices or ways one can “see” are included in here. Some examples of the things you can also “see” are energies, certain forms of divination, and sensory or perceptual differences often categorized either as disabilities or preternatural abilities. Seeing does not require the physical ability to see. Also, I won't promote a form, practice, or belief over another. I’ll share my current practices, denote something I think you shouldn’t dabble with and why, and some benefits and pitfalls. And opinions. A fuck ton of those. But seeing in particular requires your own sense of self autonomy, freedom, and life giving partners. While I think divination is currently the “highest” practice one can reach currently–and it’s the most sought after certainly–it is the most dangerous of them all. I will talk about this a lot, but there is a magickal “observer effect.” To sum that effect up in a sentence: if you stare at the universe long enough it stares back.
Things that can be heard:
Or more accurately things I believe you can hear, or people have claimed to hear. Hearing is different from just listening and it’s the most common thing most people tap into when they first enter the realm of the Spirit. Called the still quiet voice, or the inner voice, it is the first attempt to listen to what some have called a “higher self”, or spiritual double, or Divinity. Sometimes folks listen to their ancestors to hear messages. Some folks just hear messages. We are all listening to that voice in that realm, and we have all created ways to hear those messages, whether that's once a week in a congregation through the inspiration of one's pastor, or sitting in an Ashram for weeks, or going on spiritual retreat. The modality or even goal of what you are trying to hear isn't as important as the attempt to hone that skill. It is your prayer life answering you. It is the voice of the elders, celestials, ancestors, and messengers. The voice of God. Or it could not be. Hearing requires the development of esoteric skills, partners, and frameworks to “filter” out other things. It is dangerous to just listen to messages and not run them by anyone. We have all seen faith leaders and communities run amok that way.
Things I have been taught:
Some of these are things you can teach and some of them are things I was taught. Some are things I don't think should be taught, which means this also serves as your “ethic” section. I mean, in the words of the great Bard and alright guy, Trey Anastasio: “If you got moral clarity, you aren't in deep enough.” In other terms, buyers beware with any of this stuff. Do I endorse you trying any of this stuff? In a word, no. I think a lot of people who want to teach this stuff haven't really been taught it or they shouldn't teach. By taught I mean: they haven't had the denizens of some infernal or scary realm beat they muthafucking ass for even thinking that way.
By teaching, I mean walking side by side with someone down what I call the road of mystery. There is a reason in every spiritual book you have ever picked up the disciples, the first students, the most awakened and aware: in myths, those people are the ones who walk with their elders and teachers. Because that's how it’s done. Is it unfair to discover this truth this late in the game? In a world that increasingly seems–for various reasons–there may be less opportunity for those walks? Yes.
Ultimately, what I love about esoterica is it never makes any claims to be fair. Or equal. Or even attempts to create any sort of assimilation to the universe. There is no Theory of Everything because everything has its own theories about itself. Every tradition has its own cosmos and every pantheon has their own rules to physics, time, the revolution in our hearts, and of the planetary spheres. One of the things that esoterica taught me was to believe a people's own stories about themselves, particularly when on their land or among them. That's when stories, poetry, proverbs, patakis, incantations, and evocation have the most power. So, I will share some things I teach, have been taught, and probably butcher someone else's teachings. Remember this is a notebook, meant to be a reference manual, not a how to.
Things I know:
This category will deal with a lot at once (I’m seeing a theme here) but I think it may actually be the most important, and that's because what we know is what we all bring to the table. Knowing, and the art of Knowing, is hard to explain, particularly if you don't believe in reincarnation. Not if you have been reincarnated but: is it possible, does it happen, and if so what is its purpose? Knowings–or the practice of relearning your deep knowing–can often be mistaken for hearing. It sounds just as sure as the voice of the Divine, but it feels more like something you are remembering about yourself, the world, and your life. Typically, it doesn’t match your tradition’s teachings, nor does it really make any sense. You just… know. Think of knowing as you seeing a pattern in the stars for a second, or the outlines of the mountain before dawn; where, for one brief moment, there is a symmetry and a way things either were, are, or should be. That's knowing and we all have it. This is actually what I believe to be the curse of this path, if there is one. A constant sense that things are just slightly off, and with a little adjustment, all would be well. This is the danger every practitioner faces. Meddling I call it. Meddlers beware, your fate is typically worse than dabblers. Take it from someone who has been both.
Things I have done:
This is the easiest section to explain. Stuff I have literally done, tried, still do, and my wild thoughts about each of them. This is a lot of 101 stuff like: hey kids, candle magic works, that's why your pastor does it every Sunday. There will be some of the plant medicine journeys I have done, since I know a lot of you have been taking shortcuts to astral planes with that stuff. Let me tell you how little your doctor, your state, your therapist, and most people actually know about that realm, it’s current state, the changes it’s gone through in the last 25 years alone, let alone the prices you can pay for the healing you may receive there. The arrogance of science to ignore 5000 years of people using these tools and plant intelligence, yet you think because they licensed your therapist who went to a 40 hour zoom class that they know what they are doing? Ask Ken Keasy how that went. Ask Harvard how that them. Team, they are clueless, just a word of warning. They wouldn't know a prankster from a fire runner at sundance from some kid feeding you belladonna as mushroom chocolates. And they never try the medicine. Nope, they just study it and you. My point is: this whole section is stuff I have real life experience in. Things I have done. Like exorcisms.
Final thought on categories: a subject may be in multiple categories.
Magick, Sorcery, Witchcraft: A thing that can be seen, heard, taught, known, and done.
This falls under all five sections because it is the broadest term used to explain everything else in each category. For some, magick is just their walk with the earth, the universe, their pantheon, in the old patterns as taught by the stars and the seasons. The moons dance across the sky and the cycles of the womb of the earth. For others it is a series of alchemical or ceremonial, symbols, languages, and practices, where one through a force of will bends the universe to any shape one presumably wishes. As easy as it is to say these are the whimsical and colonial thoughts of the great magic orders and lodges of Europe over the centuries, it’s hard to look at the world and not think they may have gotten their wish in many ways. It’s also hard to deny the cast of characters who seem to be all over these stories of the great magical orders, what they believed they were doing to the world, and the way history often plays out around them and after, because they are, if anything, intriguing. For yet some others, magick is nothing more than what many Christians do every Sunday. They either worship, praise, sing, and then make symbolic sacrifices of, or to, their God. Or God’s. Or Messengers. Or Barons. Or Ancestors on another day other than All Saints Sunday.
My definition of Magick is simply dancing with your Creator so closely you appear to be doing the miraculous, simply because you are so near that Divine energies work, take actions, and make movements in this world. I have only seen true Magick, by my definition, very few times in my life. The greatest practitioners, I believe, spend most of their life trying to reach that state once, maybe twice, in their life. They do this knowing the state of Magick won't last, knowing that many won't ever notice them or their accomplishment, and knowing that some will consider them mad. Some of these great practitioners are left isolated in little communities and desert compounds; in all fairness they aren't in great shape after reaching that state. But I also believe that they are the only truly “living” on the planet, and they can only hold onto that “living” state for short periods.
NEXT WEEK MORE WEIRD SHIT LIKE THIS: MAGICKAL SCHOOLS, DISCIPLINES, MODALITIES, AND WHY SORCERY IS JUST MORE FUN!