So, good people of the internet here we are again with another edition of OTHER VOICES! This time we have a brilliant piece from the equally brilliant THE SKRAUSS…
I knew that Tommie Kelly and I would get along when I heard that he had a stack of “Cerebus” comics laying around ready to read. “Cerebus” is one of the twentieth century’s greatest works in the comics medium, but you will never hear about it because its authorial cartoonist, Dave Sim, was pegged as a misogynist halfway through its twenty year, 300 issue evolution. He fought, but that only entrenched his assumed villainy. People won’t admit that they read “Cerebus,” now, asking, “Isn’t that by the misogynist?” The Believer wrote a review of the epic when Sim had finished the work. They gave it a raving five stars in spite of its “flaws,” but they made sure to say that Sim was, “a first class jerk.” They kept their distance. They feared. Read all about it here.
Dave Sim went down, fighting, into history as a notorious contagion. My favourite part was when he challenged fellow cartoonist Jeff Smith to a literal fistfight. I like the old school moxie of a fistfight for honor, but the majority of the public did not. Sim’s own editor quit over the idea. This all occurred on the Cerebus letters page, Aardvark Comment (Cerebus is an aardvark), which grew and grew to contain the back and forth and Sim’s verbose essays. With all that fighting and scandle both sides missed the true problem. I don’t know what it is, precisely, I haven’t dug it out.
When I heard Tommie Kelly mention his stack of Cerebi I knew that he was no pushover. He had resisted the opiate of controversy and rhetorical fallacy. A man’s life and personality does not have anything to do with the value of his work or ideas. A magician should understand this; have a higher view of the situation, above the petty squabbles that kick up so much dust at ground level. Here’s a link to something interesting if you have an hour to kill.
It’s Phil Donohue from 1979. On top of the glorious stasis of the 70’s MotionGraphics-free zone, and the unpolished fidgeting of Donohue, and that wonderful set, and the glorious attire of the audience, please note the background of this conversation. We can clearly glean that the issues for which we scratch out each others eyes today haven’t changed in forty years. “Are we supposed to take all this fear and hatred seriously? It never changes. It’s like watching dust settle.” – T-Bone Burnet
This was my thinking when I scoffed at tarologist, Michael M. Hughes’ Trump Blocker Working. Trump is not the archon, I thought, he’s not the monster. At worst he’s the pawn of the Archon. Hughes treats a symptom. Then what is the actual problem, and who is the Archon in charge of it? The wastes, and wasteful products (packaging) of industry are the problem. The millions of tons of food thrown in the trash every day in America. Disposable razors… I mean, fuck the middleman; just extrude the plastic straight into a fish! Greed is the problem; not avarice, but gluttony. The Bastards have nothing to do if we stop devouring.
This is what I did to fight. This is how I put up my dukes. In 2017, fourteen months ago as of this writing, I decided that there was a Power or Principality or Archon looming over my nation that controls and perpetuates over-consumption. It makes us hungary, and trying to sate it makes it ravenous. I decided that I was going to take it down.
The total American lunar eclipse was scheduled to arrive two days after my birthday, during Leo, my sun sign. My natal chart groups most of the planets in a tight cluster and there’s some red lines and some green ones and some shapes… I have no idea what this all means. Too much memorization; I get lost reading about it. I had astrologer Jenn Zahrt PHD on my radio show and tried to get some answers from her. “When a planet’s in retrograde,” I said, “That means it’s going backwards, right?” She laughed at me.
Thus saith the Lord, “To he who has little, what little he has shall be taken away;” truly, it’s in the Bible, googlplex it. In this instance it was my dignity. Well, look out Jesus, here comes the Skrauss Archon Attack, on the solar eclipse, on or about my birthday, where astral things are happening. Perfect timing. I began the work on The Fourth of July.
I set up a page for the working, called Archon Attack! I encouraged others to add their own workings. I got two likes (one a pity like from my cousin), no comments, and no follows. That aspect was a bust.
The U.S. has a one dollar bill, a five dollar bill, and in between, a redundant two dollar bill. The bill is nothing special, but never sees circulation because it’s unusual. Cash boxes don’t have a slot for it, so cashiers put them under the cash box, and then straight to the bank in the morning. When people do receive them as change (once a decade), they save them because they’re a cool novelty. The automated grocer’s checkout system will never disperse them as change. I ordered thirteen of them special from the bank.
Possibly it was a bad choice for a talisman that was meant to harness the power of spending, but it has a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back. Ceremonially and symbolically it was appropriate. I took my wad to my ritual space (kitchen counter) and consecrated them over incense (air), a candle (fire), salt (earth), and whiskey (fire water). On each bill I wrote, in light grey ink (for less visibility, no sense in warning each spender) the words, “This times a million returns to me.” For an anti-gluttony work this may have been a little muddled. But, dang, man, if I’m doing a working for the betterment of all of humanity I want a kickback! I have bills to pay. “Don’t muzzle the ox as he treads out the grain,” – The Bible. Also, I slapped a sigil on each bill as well.
The ceremony began the day we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, at dawn. I went to the crossroads that link The Harley Davidson Museum to Miller Park (our stadium named after a subsidiary of a beer manufacturing conglomerate) passing the Potowatami Casino along the way, and also running near the location of the actual original U.N. of Midwestern Indian nations (pre-whitey. The meaning of the name of my towne: Milwaukee – Manwaking in Potowatami, is “Gathering place by the waters). I invoked my imaginary friends: Hermes with the Homeric Hymn, Osiris with The Headless Rite by the Chaos Protocols guy, and some others whom I don’t remember, probably Wepwawet, opener of the ways.
Each day I went to that particular crossroads by the Harley Museum and invoked my pals. Then I proceeded to spend a two dollar bill, one per day. On August second I spent my last two dollars. I know, the math doesn’t add up between number of bills and days involved. The important thing is that I spent the money. The work continued until August twenty-second, when I drove to a weird industrial site along the Menominee Canal, near the train station, under a freeway overpass, and completely occupied by invasive trees and shrubs. During the minutes of the eclipse’s utter darkness (Not even close, Milwaukee was only in the penumbra and under an overcast sky. Maybe it was darker than normal. I’m not sure; it looked typical Milwaukee, cool grey number 5.) I invoked Artemis with her Homeric Hymn and lit the fuse of a gigantic bottle rocket with a sigil on it. The Rocket had the word “ordinance” written on the box before I unpacked it. Its stem was a half inch dowel. It looked ridiculous wearing the itty bitty beer bottle to stand at the steel edge of the canal.
I had added 3 feet of fuse to it so that I could discretely distance myself from the rocket before it launched, pretend to be not involved. No such frickin’ luck. The fuse smoked and sparked and swung around like a wild hose. It emitted so much gunpowder incense into the air that the scene looked like I had committed arson. Sparks flying like the Leonids, the last bit of fuse vanished.
The rocket took to the sky with a thrilling rush of fire, incense, and the sound effect of a streaking jet. When it exploded next to the overpass, the report scared some ducks. I paused briefly to watch a hanging smoke-trail drift westward, then skeedaddled before the fire trucks arrived.
Nothing happened. Faced with such anti-climax I just waited, peeking out my curtains every few days, and soon forgot about it. It seemed like the whole ritual was a bust. Then, the other day Tommie Kelly asked me to write something about magic, a subject I have only cursory knowledge of. I recalled the Archon Attack, and I cogitated; I put a couple two three things together. That is, I connected the newspaper clippings of my mind with string.
Two days before the first anniversary of my most glorious magical Archon Attack, on 2JUL18, The Maps of Meaning guy announced on The Joe Rogan Experience #1139 that his all-meat diet changed his life. This poured fuel on the fad ketogenic diet. The episode number 1139, 1+1+3+9 is 14. Fourteen is the number of days the moon waxes and/or wanes, and is the Temperance card in the major arcana. It’s also, the number of parts that Osiris was cut into, the third manned mission to the moon, the number of pounds in one stone, the atomic number of silicon, the fourteenth day of the year, and who knows what else. Numerology is bunk, as far as I can tell, too easily form-fitted. Temperance, though…
Never-the-less, thanks to my working, the ketogenic diet exploded across America and/or the internet.
I am its midwife.
Did I overcome over-consumption? You betcha. The basis of the ketogenic diet is to eliminate carbs and ingest low protein and high fat. Eliminating carbohydrates circumvents the evils of Sugar Cane and Maize syrup addiction while also maintaining fullness of stomach longer, causing people to eat less. Ha! I win the Magus Prize and 50¢, enough for a tip. I threw it in the intersection with a Tootsie roll. “Here you go Hermes, Papa Legba, Wepwawet, Black Madonna, St. Thecla, Joan of Arc, Wisaca, Manabozho, Opa, Oma…thanks for the help.”
The Rune Soup guy once said that the Universe answers in the most dickish way possible. Sure enough… No matter how specific you get, the Universe can dick around with your intent until it’s totally absurd. The eye in the triangle keeps winking at us. We’re the British guys’ comedy show, get it? Wink wink. Get it? We’re the entertainment. Humor is everything. Like when I went to New Orleans looking for voodoo and walked into Priestess Miriam’s hole-in-the-wall temple to ask her to be on my radio show, and broach the subject of my own initiation. Before I could she asked me, “Are you a lawyer?”
“No,” I said.
“Are you a doctor?”
“No,” I said.
“Are you a psychiatrist?”
Was there someone standing behind me? “I need a psychiatrist,” I said. (Don’t get me started).
Priestess Miriam laughed and retired past the beaded curtain to her inner sanctum, “We don’t offer psychiatric help.”
Thanks Dick-wad (The Universe). Hilarious, Elegua.
The universe is playing. It’s like the A.I., Manny, in Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, it’s sense of humor has a larger view. Our deadly serious points of interest are punchlines to the Universe. Somewhere in something, Dave Sim said that magic in Cerebus appears just like it does in real life; out of nowhere and for no rhyme or reason. It sure seems that way, Magic is whimsical, capricious, and we’re just collaborators trying to keep up.
Now that I’m sorcerer supreme of Milwaukee, I want to humbly suggest that we choose more appropriate targets and intents, then focus on out-dicking the Universe to achieve them. See humor rather than stonewalling, deflection, or contempt when the Universe answers. Here’s something that C.S. Lewis said, something like, “Some people make jokes for the opportunity to talk about sex; and some people talk about sex for the opportunity to tell jokes.” That’s probably Lewis’ greatest lesson in magic. Be fixated or be hilarious. Out-humor the Cosmos. Do it obliquely, that’s what it loves, that’s what it does to you; it turns the absurd.
The Skrauss lives in a church in Milwuakee for whom he digs graves and shovels snow. Thus he has achieved the artist’s Whitmanian dream of loafing all day long with time to create paintings, short videos, produce a radio talk-show, write things, and read all the time. Just this morning he ate a free breakfast of bacon and donuts at the monthly men’s breakfast, and now sits typing in a brisk wind, every window thrown open to vent the bacon grease still lingering in the air. Speaking of Bacon, his Bacon rating is two. The Skrauss acted in a short film called “The Wheel” with Mark Metcalf. Mark Metcalf acted with Kevin Bacon in “Animal House.” For all things Skraussian visit HERE!
He sends hugs, puppies, and switchblades to everyone who took the time to read his article.
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