I have one of the sickest, blackest, darkest senses of humor.
Ask my wife.
I laugh in the face of death, make horrible crude jokes, and just generally find some measure of joy in situations where others might cry or wail. I’m the kind of guy that finds shit like this hilarious:
It’s always been this way.
Because the world has always been this way.
Back when you’re a young boy with no food in his belly, hoping your mother’s boyfriend doesn’t tear down the front door because this time he’s REALLY pissed you look for any measure of escape. When I ended up living with my Dad, an alcoholic at the time(he’s since stopped) we had no money, I would be screamed at all night, and some things went down that I refuse to talk about to this day.
Not what one would describe as a bright and sunny childhood.
But whose is?
Life is not a never-ending amusement park and in my eyes that’s fine. I accept that. Like a prison term or a tour of duty in some forgotten hell-hole you look backward with pride in your heart on what you survived, what you overcome. I’m lucky. Plenty of people lie broken behind me, some of them dead. One girl I knew flew through a windshield at 80 miles per hour, hitting the pavement face first on a night of drunken revelry. A gentlemen I knew, actually a really cool guy, ended up OD’ing on fake heroin sold as “bath salts.” His girlfriend, worried about being arrested, made sure to flush every possible drug in the house down the toilet before she called 911. By the time they got there he was dead.
Broken pieces, shattered lives. Tears and anguish, the gnashing of teeth. In my eye I never forget those moments.
But I laugh. As shitty as everything’s been those moments were necessary to build who I am. I do not look on the horrible past with tears or cloaks of amnesia. I accept it as what life really is. Rather then compare it to some theoretical life, some immaterial “human nature” that some how has been perverted, it becomes a bad acid trip worthy of song, a story I hold on to and relish re-telling.
It isn’t a surprise when some people refer to me and my writing as rude, vitriolic, hateful, horrible, or mean.
Maybe I am.
Being a Conjurer has exposed me to all manners of the human condition, a swirling vortex of stories. Loves lost, won, gained. Opportunities snagged, competitors bested. Sadness, rage, and familial love so strong it makes you weep with joy. I’ve also done readings for a woman locked in a loveless marriage, literally watching her type the night away as she was torn between her own happiness and providing a stable life for her daughter.
So much of revolutionary politics has forgotten these nitty-gritty details of human existence, newly minted Lenin’s meeting on campus grounds to discuss the downfall of the bourgeoisie as mommy and daddy pump thousands of dollars into their bank accounts. These wise teachers are caution us to be calm, to be resolute, to remain…indifferent to the Grand Struggle we “all” fight in. The protest ethic of the 60’s infects every corner like cancer cells on coke, “revolutionaries” ensuring me that if we just all Ohm hard enough the pentagon will literally evaporate out of existence and all those dead Iraqi kids will come back to life.
Tell me again how that works for the black folks being hunted by off-duty cops in Milwaukee. Or literally any of the thousands of innocent people being gunned down by servants of the state with no hope for justice.
I’ve seen the same thing in paganism. Everything is fluffy bunnies, sunshine, and rainbows for the mostly white, middle-class practitioners. “Blessed be” rings out across the distance as young kids boiling in rage are told to “bind” the camp counselor that continually molests them. Gods that once demanded human hearts be ripped out of chest cavities are now placated with Hershey’s kisses and offerings of non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
I do not understand that kind of magic. I do not come from that world. That’s not my tradition. That’s not Hoodoo.
I love Hoodoo because it’s for the strong, powerful black woman keeping her man locked down at home and refusing to allow him to stray. I love Hoodoo because it helps a ne’er-do-well that carries the right roots in his pocket to get fucked every night by a different woman. I love Hoodoo because it taught people how to keep the cops away, how to win a court case with an unfriendly jury, how to move a troublesome neighbor, and how to draw business to a whorehouse.
I fell in love with Hoodoo because it was real, because it drank deeply from the well of human experience. It was there for the downtrodden, the dispossessed, the broken, and the hungry.
Hoodoo clicked for me because for once I saw a magical system that understood our needs and was honest about them. It kept cheating spouses at home just as easily as it let them slide, aided gamblers just as soon as it did sick children. It was real, visceral, engaging, and it’s heart pumped torrents of hot blood instead of cool and airy intellectualism.
The Man at the Crossroads, the grand spirit of Hoodoo, looks out across the world and sees a species exactly as it was intended to be.
This is not to say the world as it is need be forever. There is plenty of evil, plenty of wrongdoing. Always has been, and as such we should never tire of fighting it. Things are shit, the great mass of humanity is exploited.
If you just change your attitude and think more positively over time, your life will get easier. Over time, you will land a job that affords you a contract guaranteeing you some security and a pay-check which does not leave you in poverty. You simply have to manifest what you want. Drink a couple of litres of soda pop, add diamantes to your manicure, wear a fake moustache all day long (as Gala really has suggested as a remedy for the blues), put on a nice pink dress and smile a bit more then BOOM! That suicidal depression over the stresses of life such as being unable to buy food because you are on minimum wage, working depressing precarious jobs, and/or the debilitating anxiety over whether your welfare will be cut this week will suddenly melt away.
Everywhere I turn I see people divorced from themselves. They cut off and hide away the emotions and feelings that arise naturally from a real world very intent on killing them. We are told by “leaders” that the people aren’t thinking correctly, that they are in need of fixing. Even in contemporary Witchcraft this strange Christian ethic lingers, a call to “do no harm” even as a cop tells you to put your fucking teeth on the curb.
“Of course I practice witchcraft, but it’s actually not what you think it is. ‘Do no harm’ is the rule we follow. Me and my friends get together over coffee and talk about how great the goddesses is. I’m a full blooded witch, very powerful. Why just yesterday I cast a spell to help my wife find the best mechanic possible for her new SUV. I made a protective charm a week ago for our adopted son, he’s a captain in the army. Works at one of the prisons in Iraq. That’s why I got so heated when that football player wouldn’t stand for the anthem. I mean I understand protest but it’s about being respectful…”
Your tie-dye age of promise reeks to me of nothing but domestication and your lifestyle is built on the literal blood of millions.
I have plenty of compassion. Honestly, I do. I love my life, love my wife, my friends. I care for my clients. Ask any of them. I can be the nicest guy on the planet. When I engage in work I do it full tilt. Clients become family, I get to know their history, treasure their stories.
But I am no Zen master, and neither is Hoodoo. I do not wear a shit-eating grin all the time as I tell you to meditate on nothingness. I am no more ascended then you are. I’ve got my feet in the mud, I sin, I curse, I raise hell and get drunk. I do not believe in loving everybody and I honestly don’t give two shits about talking to Klansmen to educate them in the error of their ways when bullets do it better.
I think large swaths of the occult and revolutionary scene are missing something when they divorce themselves from the reality of the human experience. I think we’re doing ourselves a disservice when we attempt to become super soft beings of light that don’t hurt or offend anybody. You absolutely have an ascended master within you, a multidimensional being of pure goodness, but as for right now you still piss and shit the same way I do and your symbolic protests aren’t stopping the police from murdering people of color.
Maybe I’m just an asshole.
But maybe paganism and the Left need to take a deep hard look at themselves and wonder why their ethics and worldviews are so unintelligible to the people around them, why they appear to come from some distant planet.
Maybe a politics or religious practice built from comfort and ease or a middle class white existence where both parents are still married and made sure to make it to each and every softball game is not the world the majority of us live in. Maybe people are dying out here, living in agony and scraping to get by.
Maybe if your world rests on a placid pool of hope and love, if you can afford to write beautiful tapestries of joyous ecstasy about just how fucking WONDERFUL everything is you need to take a good hard look at the conditions that allow you to do so.
Maybe your poisonous, tepid call for peace and love is actually a power grab, a way to maintain the illusion that you’re actually some nag-champa soaked guru who has seen The True Way all the rest of us should follow.
Maybe it’s time to stop being nice, stop being lukewarm, and start getting rough with the world and the people who never played fair to begin with, maybe we learn to accept the world as a dark and dangerous place where the howl of dynamite holds more attention then a hashtag.
Maybe my tone, my words, are so distasteful it ruins your day and smacks the rose-colored glasses right off your stupid fucking face, challenges your long-held beliefs and burns away any illusions you had like the flesh of Iraqi civilians when America used white phosperous to punish Fallujah.
Maybe then I’ve done my job.
Maybe then you’ll stop being nice too.
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