STILL happy?

Quick one back on Glueboot to save copying and pasting in the comments boxes:

>However, happiness doesn’t >particularly open up a space for >thought.

No way! Yes necessity is the mother of invention. But I just don’t recognise unhappiness being as much of a motor of insight as it’s sometimes made out to be. Yes, “the first taste of hope is fear” as a recent industrial mix I put up was titled — well, SOME hopes, anyway. But from where I’m sitting, pain restricts the mind’s ability to reflect as much as it goads it.

Carrot and stick innit :-).

> If one is happy there is no reason > for one to find out why there is
> happiness.

You’re joshing me! Sounds like (I could be wrong) there’s an assumption somewhere here about “normality” being suffering, and momentary happiness being a relief therefrom, unquestioned. That’s not how most of the people I know think — admittedly the people who read a lot of philosophy tend to be a bit down on things đŸ™‚ but a lot of people seem to me to be figuring out ways to make themselves feel happier. Even my 3 year old!

> But to posit a world and a
> philosophy of pure happiness is
> the absolute heights of naivety.

Yeah probably. Have to check back with Leary on that one :-). But who’s positing that? Not me!

Nice one bruv…

Boscastle flooding appeal


On 16th August 20004 the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall, UK, which holds one of the most significant Pagan and Witchcraft collections in the world, was seriously damaged by flash floods which have devasted Boscastle.

Graham King and all the Museum staff are safe. The building is still standing, but there is serious damage to the collection. We will not know the extent of this for a while yet.

The Museum is appealing for help from the Pagan community. They would like to assure all their friends and supporters that the Museum will be back.

The friends Of The Museum and the Pagan Federation Devon and Cornwall are co-ordinating the appeal for help. Two kinds of help are needed:

Donations; If you are able to send donations, please make them payable to:Pagan Federation Devon and Cornwall and send them to: PO Box 314, Exeter, EX4 6YR, UK. Please send cheques, postal orders or IMOs (not cash) and mark the envelope “Museum Of Witchcraft”. All donations will be acknowledged (eventually!).

Practical help: All kinds of volunteer help will be needed to clean up, save the collection and re-build the Museum. This help will not be needed for a few days yet, but if you can help, please email your details to either: thecrowman@houseof the or:

Someone will contact you when we know what is needed. We will also email updates as we get them.

Many thanks and Goddess Bless to everyone who has already been in touch to offer help and support. The Museum will not be beaten by this.

Please circulate this information as widely as you can.

Blessings of the Old Ones

Levannah Morgan and Adrian Bryn-Evans
(Friends of the Museum Of Witchcraft and Pagan Federation Devon and Cornwall).

From one of the staff at the museum:
All the people that we know are safe and well – although some homeless for a while.

The Museum has suffered extensive damage and all the downstairs exhibits have been ruined. The front window has been blown out, but the upstairs, including the library seems to have escaped the worse of the damage.

No-one is allowed entry to Boscastle until all buildings have been declared safe to enter. This could take some days and the whole village is cut off as part of the road has been washed away.

Many, many thanks to all who worked magically last night. Although there are 15 people unaccounted for at the moment, there appears to be no loss of life… so far.

Graham is very tired after all his Coastguard work yesterday and through the night. He sends his grattitude to all and will definitely be needing help soon in a clear-up operation, but this can’t happen for a few days at least.


Tiny steps. (No, not that kind…)

Out there in the forums, people have been asking for “beginner stuff”. In particular, a lot of people are scared of the prospect of going into magic too fast, and are being advised they need to read an enormous amount of books before they can do anything safely. Well, obviously you need a certain amount of common sense and humility. But I’ve been doing magick for more than 20 years, and looking back, especially at the early days, I just didn’t get into trouble by getting on with it. Quite the reverse. I’m not saying, throw caution to the winds — quite the reverse. I would however draw an analogy with yoga. If you try to force yourself into full lotus when you’re a couch potato, you are likely to strain muscles and may need professional attention to feel comfortable again. If however you start with simple exercises, don’t push too hard, but practice regularly, you will rapidly, if not immediately, feel the benefits. And you won’t hurt yourself. Same with magic. Do it often, do it within your capabilities, do it safe, and you’ll be fine.

So get in there. Listen to your gut, be humble, and get used to distinguishing between feeling excitement, feeling a bit of fear, and KNOWING this is WRONG and I got to GET OUT OF HERE. (The latter is a particularly important feeling to be able to identify when working with others.) And bear in minf that magic doesn’t have to be about “getting something”. Magic’s an end in itself. Like meditation, or sex, or food. Or football.

Now, some suggestions of stuff to do to just start feeling it — I won’t comment too much, just take a look and see what grabs you:

1. the Auric egg meditation (terrible title, pr0bably deliberately so, but better than it sounds! Dead simple and safe)
2. Sensory enhancement exercises — good for anyone to do.
3. Genius loci stuff — for a better sense of place.

In addition, a lot of people like Grant Morrison’s pop magic. Even though it’s pretty results-oriented, rather than “stretch out and enjoy it” in style, it’s got solid advice and techniques in it. And I for one enjoy magickal materials written up as if they were a third-rate sales primer.

Just remember, be nice to yourself, don’t give yourself a hard time, and don’t take it too seriously. It’ll get freaky in its own time. You don’t have to objectively, definitively believe in any of it on a 24 hour a day, 52 weeks of the year basis — in fact it’s probably a very good idea if you don’t. Magick defends itself.

You’ll notice I haven’t listed any books to read. That can come later. Important though knowledge is, it’s more important to get on and do something, try something, and (without trying to do too much) find out something about yourself and the world around you. Try it, you’ll like it. And you don’t have to give up any materialist principles.


On the discussion about philosophy and happiness over at glueboot — which I hasten to make clear I am NOT “slagging off”…

… I see the point glueboot and K-Punk are making. As Gen used to say, the only thing we know is that we die. I think that the experience of happiness can only be deepened by dealing with pain and suffering. Now, I don’t know much about philosophy, but from where I’m sitting, I think that the opposition between thinking and happiness posited by glueboot is a false one. In particular, such a position ignores the way you can resolve “extremely uncomfortable thoughts” without suppressing them and find a way of experiencing happiness.

It is, in short, too much head and not en0ugh heart. And — pace John Effay and Mark — I don’t buy, at least not yet, that “On one level, everything is thought, which would necessarily involve the heart as much as the brain.” I suppose this is something to do with emic reality, that all experience is mediated. Well, of course — that’s my line actually! The problem — as practitioners of magic and meditation and such discover — is that that the proposition doesn’t have ENOUGH levels. It still represents a flight from experience itself, from the smell of your own shit and the sensation of your lower back lengthening. It’s still about thinking with your head, not with your body, and not with your heart, and the reason that the discourse remains caught up in its own conceptual premises is because of a lack of technique. The obvious step from the realisation that all experience is a mirage, a construct, a work of art of one’s own making, is to figure out how to do it and what happens when you do. The results can be counter-intuitive. So far as I am aware, few if any western philosophers have made a really good go of this. In contrast, Plato and Pythagoras, for example, were in receipt of a possibly bastardised but indubitably ancient body of knowledge of this type, which informed (indeed intermingled with) their philosophy. The advent of Kapital reinforced the divorce between philosophic conceptual modelling and “esoteric” experimentation; I don’t know if they can be recombined, but I suspect they can fertilise each other.

So to return to glueboot, personally I wouldn’t really pay that much attention to a “miserablist” (my term!) philosopher unless I knew for certain they had a good practical grasp of yogic breathing and how to apply it in their everyday life. Of course, once such a hands on knowledge of the human OS has been demonstrated, then pessimist insight could be extremely interesting…