Sunday, April 19, 2015
The wonderful Lori Bruno, in an interesting inversion of the witchfinders' principle that 'you cannot be a witch alone,' interprets it to mean that you can never be alone as a witch. In this post I intend to invert the quote from Crowley, 'All acts are magical acts,' to mean that for the magical person, all of ones acts ultimately become magical whether one intends them to or not.
I also want to invert the often-cited idea among the fluffies that it is very important to maintain the balance (for which read status quo) when one is doing magic. I can't find a quote I've been squirreling away for years on exactly that subject, so can't directly refer to these kinds of people, but I more mean a certain trend in the physics of magic often found among certain sorts of people. You must never do anything negative, is one of these ideas. Get consent for anything you do, is one of these ideas. I think these people are usually well-intentioned but sadly they've misunderstood both physics and the nature of magic.
Backed by no tradition at all but my own experience, I would say that the one seeking magic gets to a point where there is no return. Whether this is engineered as a ceremonial initiation or caused by a life event (and mark my words, it will be something horrible and be guaranteed to require a response from the initiate which transgresses all of his conditioning up to then), it is an event from which there is no going back. What the books don't tell you – I mean, honestly, has nobody noticed that initiation means beginning, rather than an end? – is that the universe sits up and pays attention to this. The sorcerer's initiation almost sets in train a pattern which sets up a 'signature' for what that person's magic will be like for the rest of his life. The wrong idea, promulgated in many paperback books about witchcraft, is that the effects of your actions rebound on you threefold (or whatever number that tradition lays down as an arbitrary law). What planet do these people live on? Life isn't like that. The world isn't like that. This ethic is merely a publicity venture by privileged people who've never experienced what magic is like when you have your back to the wall and no recourse in this world. What rather happens is that once you have done that sort of magic, and I will repeat that it is always transgressive of personal or cultural norms, the universe sees that that can be done by this person and so that same situation tends to be attracted to you again. I do not mean that the action you have done will be visited upon you, but that the situation in which you have to do that sort of action will keep arising.
And of course the trouble is that a witch is a witch all the time. This is a situation of which I have been reminded in my present situation. I am finally in a position where hopefully I will get the keys to my new flat this week. What causes me to reflect on this as a magical act is the number of actions transgressive to my mother's upbringing I have performed. She was all one for letting other people first, always giving way, or at least that is how she brought me up. Needless to say in retrospect she usually cloaked a completely self-centred approach under this apparent selflessness, leaving me with a suspicion of altruism that I really do find difficult to shake off.
For a start I gazumped someone else to buy this flat (in English law, until you get to a point where contracts are exchanged, the sale is not legally binding and the vendor can accept a higher offer). The internal commentary on this, inherited from my mother, is that I shouldn't do that, I should leave it for someone else. By doing this, I am going against one of these little shibboleths, which for the purpose of this post, indicates that I am creating my own mind set rather than slavishly following an inherited one.
Then there is the matter of the tenants who were given notice to leave, as one of the conditions of my offer is vacant possession on completion. 'You're putting people out in the street,' I can almost hear my mother's voice saying in my ear. This is the one that is really not true, since this was hardly a South African-style eviction with their stuff put out in the street. I notice her voice becomes silent but I can feel the disapproval when I point out that since this is one of those affordable flats for certain categories of workers, it should be the owner's sole residence and he should not be able to rent it out and live elsewhere.
Of course my mother's internal commentary disapproves of me buying one of these affordable 'keyworker' flats. 'You know how to work the system', is her comment on this. Of course she doesn't mean this neutrally, she means I'm somehow manipulating things to my own advantage, even though I'm one of the people who happen to be eligible for it under the terms of the lease.
So all in all, my making a better offer than somebody who failed to get their finance together fast enough, requiring the flat for myself to live in (which is the whole point of it anyway), and using the terms of the lease to buy a flat which only certain people can buy at a reduced rate, transgresses all sorts of things in my internal commentary from my upbringing. I am going to do this because it's perfectly all right, really, but of course the point of this post is that these magically transgressive acts have come upon me in the process of buying a flat. All acts are magical acts, and the ultimate object of all magic is the magician himself, which creates the future self of the magician.
My dad's commentary is quite different, incidentally. This flat will actually be the poshest place I will have lived in my life. Yes, dad, I will probably be the only person there with a duvet bought from Poundstretcher and a radio with a coat hanger as an aerial, but if the Town and Country Planning Act allows hoi polloi to live among the posh people, they can only expect the tone to be lowered somewhat. He's actually in two minds about it – it would have been even cheaper for me to buy an ex-council flat in the block known as Dorothy Towers (so nicknamed from the council's undeclared policy in the 1990s of housing all the gays and lesbians in one block). In fact he's just made a rude remark about social aspirations and my mother's family, but he needn't worry.
This is without even considering the personality of the vendor. Once you've done an act, my theory is that you open up a sort of channel where you can do it again, and so it attracts the kind of situation to you. My magical signature, for instance, is very much the righting of wrongs, or rather, usually holding a mirror up to people for them to see their own situation so that they have to do something about it. Needless to say I've attracted exactly the kind of person as a vendor I have to deal with all the time. But don't worry, of course the Hound has done it. His estate agent actually confided to me that he rings her every hour on the hour to see what's happening (and I'm not even her customer, he is). My solicitor actually described his behaviour as constituting unnecessary pressure. So on Friday when I told the estate agent that he could just shut the fuck up, and she said that she would dearly love to be able to say that to him herself, I keenly volunteered to say that to him myself if she would give me his number. Of course she didn't, so I just had to settle for telling him via her that he would get pain when the bank had decided I'd jumped through enough hoops and would have to live that. As a little incentive I passed on a message that if he continued to pressurise me I would reduce my offer by £5,000, and then if her didn't accept it I would pull out of the sale and report his violation of the use of the apartment to the planning department, as an enforcement notice would prevent him letting the flat, prevent him getting an income from it, and it could be months before another purchaser was ready to exchange. A soothing silence has followed.
This isn't gossip, by the way. This is magic. I attract these kind of demons, who breathe fire and stamp their foot. It *always* happens that they're doing something they shouldn't that I then have to hold up to them, and they retire bruised and bloody. This is a witch's bread and butter.