Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reflections on the Occurrence of an Annual Cyclical Solar Event

Today is the solstice that occurs in June. What that means depends on what hemisphere you live on. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere today is the day with the longest amount of daylight during this solar cycle. For the southies, shortest. As I write this I am relaxing in the tub at 10:35 a.m. local time.

Noon local time, coffee and breakfast tacos are secured. Hearty debate about the merits of turtles versus tortoises. Followed by a discussion about the TMNT. I love my kids.

12:24 p.m. I have a pipe. Now I contemplate the  mysteries. Most obvious to my mind is the solar aspect of today. Immediately I think of Helios, with whom I have only begun working. Always felt solar archetypes were too masculine for me. Well I was wrong about Helios, he has interesting friends. For instance he associated with Saturn, Hermes, and Hekate. This is a dynamic I plan to explore more over the next year or so.

1:05p.m. The coffee has whiskey in it now. The kids are playing in the lawn sprinkler. Storm clouds are rolling in from the east. The last thing we need is more rain. The ground is so wet that every new round of showers brings flooding. Nothing like Memorial Day but one tires of the news.

Back to the Sol Father discussion but first an apology. I have neglected my blog for a while, but it is because I have been very busy, in the actual world. I have been blessed with many projects and responsibilities, overwhelming at times but manageable none the less. I am going to experiment with weekly posts on Sunday evenings. Yes it will be Sasquatch's Sunday Evening Post.

My daughter interrupts to let me know that the children are doing a rain dance, just for practice.

Last night I had the strangest dreams. Possibly due to the flying ointment I liberally applied to my person. I was given instructions for my Hermes/Helios Mutation Ritual. This will begin a major campaign to align several different works into one master work. The end result will be a presentation of Post Millennial Folk Magic.

This will be based on my own experiences and some of others I know perhaps an anthology will be in the works. My personal path includes Hoodoo Folk Magic that I learned growing up in East Texas and has been expanded by the works of Hyatt and Yronwode, amongst others. I have also picked up some Santeria along the way. Almost like the protestant and catholic traditions they sprang from the regions where these traditions are practiced are divided geographically and culturally. In  addition to these I use chaos magic techniques in the manner of Genesis P-Orridge, and William S. Burroughs.

2:36 p.m. Time for another pipe. The methods of which I speak mainly consist of using technology along the lines of folk magic. Photographs altered to reflect desired outcome, videomancy, cut up audio divination and ritual reinforcement techniques, and collage sigils to activate dormant psychic abilities all fall into what I consider Post-Millennial Folk Magic. The practitioner of such arts also has a penchant for tradition and uses it as a guidepost for technique. So along this path you will meet Hoodoo Hepcats, Wily Witches, Sexy Sorcerers, and Mutant Mages, these are my people. Not content to pursue theurgy alone, these Rebel Saints challenge convention and produce tangible magic. It matters not one iota if they are working with botanicals, metals, alchemical preparations, or internal combustion, they are all magicians of the highest order.

3:34 p.m. Time for a nap. Good day so far, excellent time to recharge the batteries this evenings festivities.

4:27 p.m. Nap time over. Final reflections before I make my preparations for this evening. There is no dress rehearsal, we only get one shot, make it count. Those of us who engage in the Sacred Arts must be wary of critics that claim a wrongness to our methods. Authenticity always shines above rote repetition. Esoteric wisdom has always been misinterpreted by the exoteric school, stay strong and love with all your soul. In this time and place we all borrow from one another, there is no pure path, only profane truths. We are all Mutant Mages in the end, each of us developing new ways of looking at old traditions and creating new wisdoms for future study. Do not be content to simply repeat what has been done, step off of the path, go into the woods...

 At some point we must all confront the reality that we were only "practicing" magic and now we must make some magic. It is a hard transition for some, and others still never find their own voice. There is only one way to make magic happen, you must go out and do what is necessary, to paraphrase Robert Cochrane. This is always true whether you cook bread or make hot-rods.The magic is in the Doing. Hope your day went well and that you enjoyed whatever activities you engaged in to mark the occasion. Lechyd!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

If God's a Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

Memorial Day weekend, my family, my wife and our two kids, got trapped by rising flood waters along the San Gabriel River. This is the second time in my life that flood waters have affected me, but this time was very different. When I was about ten years old our house flooded while my brother and I were at my Dad's house, my mother faced that flood alone. This time I was fortunate enough to be trapped with one of the greatest groups of people I know. The entire experience has reshaped how I view my life and the fragility of life in general. I have learned much about LOVE and its expression when guided by WILL. So grab a cup of your favorite beverage and sit down a spell, I have a tale I want to share. I'm going to warn you, you will feel emotions, have thoughts provoked, and quite possibly learn something.


In the heart of the Mississippi Delta in a little town called Indianola, in 1925, a boy by the name of Riley B. King was born. This is very relevant to my tale, but we will get back to that in a moment, first let us talk about the South. The Mississippi Delta like most of the South was once ruled by three things, King Cotton, free labor, and Rivers. All three of these play into my personal history as well. Cotton is still important and grown with free or practically free labor. Then it was slaves, now it's prisoners. In Texas, theses prison farms are located along rivers, the same rivers used by plantations. Those prison farms are named after the plantations that once occupied the same land. I know because back in 1989 I lived there for 14 months.

Over the Memorial day weekend I attended the first regional Burn festival established outside of Burning Man; Flipside. I actually volunteer my time to help keep the festival going. This year I worked Pre/post which means I went out early to set up and stayed after to tear down. Only it didn't quite go down like that, more on that later, let's get back to Riley King. While I was at this event I took the opportunity to enter the Land of Fey. While there I took a stroll through the city of Pyropolis to see the theme camps that had sprung up like so many Mushrooms after the rain. As I passed one camp the music they were playing called to me like a siren. A guitar named Lucille, played by B.B. King, who was born, Riley King.

Transfixed I followed the sound and found a comfortable seat with a view of a pecan tree and the sound of the river in the background. As B.B. King played I heard the muddy bottoms of rivers, and cotton fields. I remembered my Cajun Grandmothers beer joint were the blues used to play on the jukebox, back when they still had 45's in them. Lucille's siren song took me back to East Texas, to my childhood. Then the Ancestors came, marching down the road, one by one to tell me something. Each had a different message, the overarching theme was, that if I wanted to be a worthy ancestor I must follow their examples. When I inquired as to the nature of this, the reply was simple, every ancestor literally dies carving out a path for the future. The very mud spoke to me.


From the very start this years festival was very different than any other I had attended. ( I have been doing this for 11 years now.) It wasn't the presence of the rain or even the timing, it had rained the two previous years. No it was the volume. The absolute sheer amount of rain. We have been in a severe drought for about seven years now, so rain is appreciated, just not 10 years worth in one month.Even when we end a drought in Texas, we do it in a big way. And lest you think I'm pulling your leg check this out:
There are a few quite predictable things that happen when this much water falls in one place. The first thing is mud, even the limestone caliche of the Texas Hill Country turns to mud. Mud was everywhere, at some point one gives over to it like dust on the playa. We had mud on our boots, mud on our pants, in our tents, on our faces, probably trace amounts in our food.

My Wife the Muse, informs us during the ritual of smoke that mud is really heavy emotions. Her reasoning to which I defer, goes a bit like this; Water+ Earth = Mud. Whereas water = emotional being; and Earth= Physical Being; Mud = Bodily manifested emotion. There was a more social one-on-one atmosphere, we were forced together out of the rain. Huddled together we talked and discovered new things about one another and we bonded. The rain and mud brought us together and so emotions were released. It was beautiful. I believe many of us moved through some major blockages this year. Bodily emotion could also be trauma, and I definitely talked to a few folks who were working through theirs. The mud spoke to my heart.



As I navigated this wondrous landscape, something amazing happened; the scales fell off my heart. LOVE was everywhere, the grass and trees were expressions of it, other people embodied it, the volunteers sacrificed some time for it. Everything that was happening was a manifestation of love that some one felt like sharing. I brought my Spirits and the traveling shrines with me, out of love. Others shared food or companionship, performed art or played pranks, stayed whimsical and supportive, while swimming through the mud.

Blood and bone, heart and sinew, something primal emerged and we found ourselves. Washed clean by the rains and reborn in the mud. All became Other and embraced one another. Tendrils of love spectrally enveloping masses of souls. We became more fluid with our identities and the boundaries of imposed society. It's all an experiment. Stolen kisses, proffered kisses, kisses of souls, all floating in the wind, softly landing on willing recipients.Embracing Huggery ensued, and minds were freed. The wine flowed, as did the mead, and hedges were crossed by many. All of this was just foreplay, the main event loomed. We were Wizards of Odd and we had a wizard to burn.

Gathered together as in days of old we waited and watched as the effigy burned. Then we reveled. the celebrations lasted well until dawn. A New Day, shining forth with promise and hope. We had gathered in LOVE directed our WILL and succeeded at the task we spent so many months building. With the flames we released our sorrows, hopes, failures, triumphs, and wishes to fly upon the embers into the night. In that moment we were one. The time had come to part. The mud had spoken to us all.



Every year the exodus leaves one feeling drained and exhausted, yet with a new outlook on life. This year as we prepared to get everyone out, we were warned that another major downpour, like the one we had experienced the night before, was to be expected. We got soaked the night before, but our tents and shelters held strong. I and one of the other volunteers in our camp were staying for post, so we made sure everyone got on the road before the storm. He grew up in Oklahoma and I grew up on the Texas Coast, so we were familiar with storms. We watched the clouds gather and prepared for rain. We had no idea what was coming.

During the ensuing deluge, we gathered under my EZ-up and discussed our exit strategies. We were planning to pack up everything we didn't need after the rain. In the morning, my wife would take our kids home, and I would join them later, after I finished breaking down event infrastructure. So we sat down to wait for the storm to pass. After about twenty minutes the rain suddenly stopped and the air pressure dropped so fast I felt it in my ears. We checked the sky for the green clouds that always spell doom no matter the storm. Before we could figure out what was happening, 55 Mph winds hit us and tore down pop-ups and collapsed tents. My wife put our kids in the car and we tried to prop our tent back up. We had no idea what was coming.

The winds, as I mentioned were gusting at 55 Mph and tree limbs were coming down. My wife and I decided to give up on the tent and get in the car with our kids. Safety volunteers came and told us to come with them to a safer location.The rain that came with the winds dumped 4"-6" in 45 minutes and the river was rising. The land owner had conveyed to Safety HQ that we needed to be moving people to higher ground. We spent the next 18 hours in disaster mode. During all of this my wife ended up on the opposite side of the property from me and the kids. It was a very long night. We had no idea what was going on.



In the midst of crisis one gets to see the true nature of people. During this ordeal I watched many people offer emotional support to others, share food, tobacco, and conversation. My children shined like Rock Stars. My daughter was so confident of the volunteers that she slept while others fretted. My son jumped in and helped put together benches and reminded people to drink water and eat snacks. I am so very proud of both of them. I am also equally impressed by the safety volunteers. These people volunteered to see this event through to the end. Many needed sleep and were preparing to go home themselves, yet they stayed on and made sure everyone was safe. Our community trains to handle situations like this, but we always hope to not need those skills. The reason these wonderful souls do this is out of love for their community. The mud binds us.

As the waters rose and fell, I thought of flood myths and their meanings. The implicit life, death, and rebirth motif. The renewal of the land with nutrients from the river bottoms. There are many flood myths from around the world, but I always liked this one from the Chitimacha of Southern Louisiana;
Long ago, a great storm came. The people baked a great earthen pot, in which two people saved themselves. Since rattlesnakes were then the friends of man, two rattlesnakes were saved in the pot, too. The red-headed woodpecker clung to the sky, but the waters rose so high they wet and marked his tail. When the waters sank, the woodpecker was sent to find land, but he could find none. The dove was sent next and came back with a grain of sand. When this grain was placed on the water, it spread out and became dry land.
Mostly I think I like it because I know these people, Rattlesnake and Woodpecker. Rattlesnake has great significance, which I promise to share at a later date, and Woodpecker has always been there. I have a fascination for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, the stuff of legends, supposedly so big it made folks cry, "Good gawd", or "Good Lord" thus its colloquial names. Like my namesake, the Sasquatch and the Ivory Billed Woodpecker are forest guardians. They both draw people into the forest and both are found in pristine old growth woodlands.

In the same swampy bottom-lands of my youth, the Ivory Billed Woodpecker disappeared only to be sporadically spotted, but never definitively. There are other tales, blue lights in the woods at night, the Creature of Boggy Creek, and how Crawdaddy created land. All there in the bayous and creeks of East Texas.The mud binds us.

All of Texas became flood-land that weekend, and the following days. As of this writing the death toll stands at 23 with several more still missing. The most recent body was found several hundred yards away from a friends house in San Marcos. This has affected everyone, 167 of our 254 counties suffered from these floods. Experts say this is a "flood of record" that only occurs about once every 200 years. People are still cleaning up, the debris is everywhere, and everywhere there is mud. The mud binds us.


Just as the waters slowly rose, covered the land, slowly retreated and left everything transformed, so too did water reassert itself into my life. Throughout the entire process I felt a vast array of emotions and yet never became so overwhelmed that I broke down. I reached the breaking point several times and had to stop and take care of myself. Thanks to my firm grounding (pun intended) in Earth Work, I was able to be a centered and focused Dirt Sorcerer. Love permeated me and I gave over to the feeling, willingly. Terror and panic tried to overwhelm me, I let them have their say and then dismissed them. I sought knowledge and fact instead of rumor and fear. Comforting others comforted me, I am a big hugger. Water slowly permeated my flesh like the flood waters took over the pecan grove. We merged, my body and my emotional self; I am more integrated. I am the mud.

Some of my earliest memories are of mud, and swampy places. Bullfrog, turtle, crawdad, and catfish were my companions when I played in the creeks. I knew them all and more importantly they knew me. In the summer we all occupied the same space. That narrow margin between water and solid earth, whether on shore, or along the bottom, it was mud. There we came together and learned about each other. We were all mud.

As I reflect upon my journey, I feel I must thank several groups of souls for all they did. First a most heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers who dedicate their time and energy out of LOVE. You are all beautiful. Thanks to my Ancestors, who reminded me of where I came from and helped me appreciate where I AM. Thanks to Saint Cyprian and Santisima Muerte for prayers answered and grace given. Mi Patron y mi matrona, mi espíritu está en sus manos. Usted llena mi corazón de alegría entusiasta. I give thanks to the Creator, for all that we have accomplished we are still the same as that first DNA strand that you formed with lightning and our raw material. We are all mud.