Monday, September 29, 2014

Genesis P-Orridge and the Bight of the Twin..

"This was when it swapped from being a documentary about voodoo to becoming actually voodoo.. and that's when it changed me forever."

Where do you start when you're writing about Genesis P-Orridge? I almost feel out of my depths.

Genesis P-Orridge.

Before we go into that we should start from the beginning.

I was going through Indiegogo, searching through the different creative processes that were being put forth in front of the masses of the internet looking for some help. Someone to look upon their creation and offer assistance. And there amid the rabble sat a link to something that, if no other word could describe it, was perfect.

Perfect.

Voodoo. That's what Americans call it. The descendant of the African indigenous religions. It spread throughout South America, Latin America, and in the southern parts of the US. It took on many different names. Voodoo was the United States version of the fetish workings of Africa that mixed with the European Judaism based faiths. It still holds a certain amount of terror in the minds of the Westernized American people. Visions of dolls with needles, bonfires late at night with people dancing uncontrollably. The Crucible. Corrupting the young innocent white women of the States.

You can invoke those images and ideas from your memories if you went to any public school in the States. For those that watch certain channels on cable they'll get the distinct belief that voodoo, for the lack of a more precise word, is the workings of the Devil of the Bible. Falling to the possession of spirits. Working evil deeds upon others. Devils and spirits and Halloween.

In a world where everything is a click away the mysteries of voodoo, especially the base beliefs of the fetish acts of Africa, are almost unknowable.

Some film makers went over to Africa to do a documentary on voodoo. People went over to the heart of it and looked for the beauty.

They found it.

So much so that the film maker stopped making just a film. The film maker recorded a transformation.

The person at the heart of this transformation?

We're back at the beginning. Genesis P-Orridge.

I could list the accomplishments. I could give you samples of music. I could go on praising all that Genesis P-Orridge has done. I've almost tempted you with that idea from the start. And believe me...

I could.

However I've found, as I've found with most mysteries and magic, that it takes experiencing to understand.

I will instead implore you to dig deep. To find Genesis P-Orridge. To experience the work and the creation.

My first article was on the book Generation Hex. Eventually, after a few steps, Disinformation picked it up and added an audio link from the book release. There was Jason Louv, speaking on the release of his creation and his phone rang. It was Genesis P-Orridge. S/he has been there through all of the ups and downs of the creation of this modern magical movement. Here, creating something that is so haunting and so touching and in need of help to see it to a realization.

I ask that if you don't know the work and the touch to look, to experience, to find it and let it change you..

And upon feeling that change, come help with this. Maybe I'll get to see you in NYC for the premier:

Bight of the Twin



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Witches of Suburbia

Witches of Suburbia

I recently learned of an upcoming talk on the witch craze of the nineties. Hearing this brought back a lot of memories. Unless you were in the right place at the right time you may be unaware that such a thing existed, though as luck would have it, it was around this time that I was pushed out of my natural habitat to an affluent suburban town.

Witchcraft was everywhere as I entered my first year of high school. It was a huge part of pop culture, demonstrated by shows like Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch; and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The work of Gerald Gardner, built decades earlier, became cornerstones to the blooming idea. Contemporary authors like Silver Ravenwolf began spewing out colourful books that made witchcraft palatable for a generation increasingly looking for guidance on basic spells and rituals.

If you want to credit Gardner, Ravenwolf, or any of the myriad of witchcraft writers, past or present, you could easily say that it was them. You could attribute it to pop culture, sure why not? You could even mention rebellion against the church and overbearing Christian parents. Perhaps it was simply a want to return to our roots, to get back to basics- a want that I am wholly sympathetic to. It could have been any of those factors, and sure, I will agree that they all played their part. Though as someone who was around at the time, I’m entirely convinced that it was in fact just one thing that really popularized this movement.

Just like the Anonymous movement can be weaved back to the original inspiration of V for Vendetta, the witchcraft craze of the nineties can be directly followed back to one specific moment in cinematic history,

The Craft.

It was released in 1996. And every young witch took their inspiration from it. The witches who haunted my school halls were directly inspired by The Craft. As if to mirror the film itself there were two main conflicting characters. The natural witch, descended from a family of witches, and the erratic witch, wrestling with her demons. A supporting cast of characters naturally followed close behind.

In all honesty those witches were the first openly practicing occultists I ever met. Yes, I had read about them. I had read Spare and Crowley, hell I had read some Gardner before all of this came crashing into my world. But these high school girls had done something no one else I had ever met was willing to do. They crashed across the social norms of high school the way no punk rock kid or Goth kid could. They didn't dress differently, listen to different music, and declare that they were Christians and good. They weren't rebellious in style alone; they were willing to make that step across long before I had heard anyone, outside of my father do.

It wasn't the first time in history, obviously. And this was no putting it on the line like so many before had done; there was no literal burning at the stake in Suburbia. But they did something no student had done before in my life, they declared themselves different when different wasn't okay. They declared themselves different, and they were.

"We are the weirdos, mister."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Generation Hex

If I'm to kick off a new blog it is only fitting I begin with Generation Hex.

'Welcome to - how do you say - "a hole in history itself."
This book is about magic, and about Generation Hex, teenagers and young adults who practice it.'

- Jason Louv (from Generation Hex, Introduction)

For those of you that weren't around during it's heyday it would be hard to understand. There was no proper term for it. I could say Hyper Culture, I could say Ultra Culture, there were a million different terms for what was going on. It was a movement. The internet was still fresh and new. It had been born from some chaotic cesspool and out from it came a storm of ideas and people who were steeped in all sorts of eclectic occult knowledge. One, especially a sixteen year old boy, could just bathe in. Here was a world where the only books I could easily find were by a witch named Silver Ravenwolf, and suddenly I am diving into ideas that until recently were completely obscure.

This cesspool of ideas? I was there. Barely a High-school student. Every day I would come running home from school to get online and scroll through the infinite amount of occult blogs pushing out new ideas and thoughts and being young and having all of this information, and all of these minds, and all of this knowledge just laid out and left for me to stew in was unlike anything that will ever happen again. Before the vanity, before everyone online was selling something, before the promises of fortunes and riches if you only pay an exorbitant amount to be taught the secrets, before you could click on Google and type in a name and everything would come streaming down.  

Out of that complete chaos came one book, from as far as I am aware, that captured it if anything could possibly capture a little of that magic. The book was Generation Hex. It is much like the current crop of collections of essays put together by publishers like Scarlet Imprint. Jason Louv brought together a group of these occultists that had been pouring out this informational stream and had them write pieces for this book.

To begin with, it was published by Disinformation which at the time was run by a man named Richard Metzger, if you don't know who Richard Metzger is than you probably don't remember what it was like when subcultures were really subcultures. Most of the publications by this publisher were conspiracy books, books I loved. I would almost summarize them as the Conspiracy Theorists Before Conspiracy Theories Were Cool publishing company. Though that wasn't all they covered. They loved subcultures. Especially subcultures, again from what I can remember, that were considered dirty back then. And really, a lot of what was would still be considered dirty today.

So here is Disinformation, teaming up with Jason Louv who I had followed and read pieces from long before this collection joining to put together a book that would grasp together all of this subculture, for a lack of a better word, and make an imprint on the global mind of history. He collected the best of the best and let them tell their stories.

They did it.


Till this day I would say there is no other book that completely grasps a moment of time better than Generation Hex. There is no other book that captures my imagination, or fully explains what it means to be an occultist. 

Step back from that, and it is a collection of essays that showed the occult in life. Living the occult, living mysticism, what it meant to be a magician in the world. This book captured it. 

If you missed Key23, Hyper Culture, or the myriad of other amazing occult blogs and sites and the inferno of ideas that happened during this time it is hard to explain. If you want to get a grasp, hunt down a copy of this long out of print book and give it a read.


----------------
Jason Louv still runs Ultraculture and recently launched You Rift , Richard Metzger now runs Dangerous Minds , I still read Technoccult