Mike’s Prattle

Miscellaneous

An interesting weekend

Posted by Mike on March 26, 2012

Since September 2011, I’ve had a mostly consistent output of art. The total is about 45 pieces, although a few of them are related to a larger project. When you’re in the middle of this kind of inspiration it’s kind of hard to imagine falling out of the pattern, but it looks to some extent like I’ve reached a bit of an impasse. I tend to recognize an impasse when I have a few more incomplete pieces than I usually do.

I’ve set something of a mini project for myself, which is a series of 11 by 14s of the Hebrew letters. It’s sort of an interesting combination of combining the letter, what the letter means and then the use of color. I finished Aleph last month but have been a bit stuck on Beth. The motif for Beth was to do a house lit from the inside so that the glow leaks through the windows, however I wanted a brick house so working on the lighting got a bit tricky. I’m also trying to subtly bring the Magician into this without making it a tarot card, but I’m starting to approach the limits of my technical skills in some areas.

Anyway, part of why I really wanted to go into this weekend and work through some of the blocks was a response to what’s going on in the Golden Dawn community. I spent a lot of the last decade mostly lurking in the community and trying to learn from the more experienced and over the last few months I’ve tried my hand at a few Golden Dawn book reviews. Most of the visible voices in the community are at the adept level (unless the voice is pretend in the first place), so I thought it might be useful to review some books from a greener perspective. I wrote one on Christopher’s self initiation book and another on Pat Zalewski’s major release, but I was pretty shocked at the responses to my review of Nick Farrell’s new book. Well maybe for a few seconds.

I’m no stranger to reviewing, I spent almost a decade reviewing albums in magazines like Exposé, Audion, Melodie e Dissonanze and others. Then I started Olfactory Rescue Service which is possibly the world’s leading English language incense resource. In fact I just finished reviewing a line self-titled the “King of Incense” line by a company who also sent people over to the blog to rave about them.

Over time you just kind of learn to get the review out and then move on. In my opinion there really is no Golden Dawn flame war.  A wise man once said you can judge them by their fruits. On one side you have someone writing books and blog entries that survey a wide range of Golden Dawn topics that contribute to our process and knowledge and on the other side you have someone whose energy goes largely to photoshopping and character assassination. Case closed right?

Destruction is needed sometimes to tear down the old structures. Those to whom it has fallen to bring out the sword aren’t likely enjoying this. So I thought it would be a good time now that my contribution to all that is done to get back into the spirit of creativity. Photos will be forthcoming at my gallery.

Finally, I wanted to plug what looks to be a tremendous book, Peregrin Wildoak’s By Names and Images. In those rare cases where I’m asked what the Golden Dawn is about, I’ve always found it difficult to recommend just one book, but based on what I’ve read in that second link, I can imagine it won’t be long before this will be the de facto introductory guide to the system. Wildoak has run a terrific, balanced and informative blog for years, so if anybody reading this is interested in wondering what the Golden Dawn is all about, go pick up a copy. There’s a lot of good magicians in the community but perhaps not so many great writers; this one checks both boxes.

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3 Responses to “An interesting weekend”

  1. Peregrin said

    yes, I agree Mike, there is no actual ‘flame war’ in the Golden Dawn. There are screams and accusations of one, but really there is just a few people getting hot under the collar and responses to all sorts of things. Some of those responses have the tell-tale sign of losing patience after years of calm, measured argument.

    I am sorry, can you please inform me what book I missed, “Christopher’s self initiation book”?

    Also, as for mine – thanks for the thumbs up, Mike 🙂

    You have in a nutshell summed up one of the main reasons I wrote the book. I wanted their to be a single volume that explains the purpose, overarching rationale of the GD and show to actually practice it well. 🙂 Ta.

  2. Mike said

    Hi Peregrin,

    This is the book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kabbalah-Magic-Great-Work-Transformation/dp/0738708933/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    My experience with the work is that one is continually humbled by it. Humility I wouldn’t think leads someone to seeing themselves as the protagonist of a 30s pulp book, like an occult Allan Quatermain or Nicholas Cage in those silly movies. I think some of this comes from the same sort of headspace a lot of heavy metal bands have when they’re throwing occult imagery on their covers and then grimacing in front of it with spikes and facepaint. They’re reacting to what they perceive is cool or hip or grim or “eval” or whatever. I can only imagine walking into my regular life bedecked in pentagrams and unicursal hexagrams (let alone the full regalia), I’d never hear the end of it. But then again the people screaming “my way or the highway” usually don’t have people in their lives who remind them when they’re being ridiculous. Maybe this is obvious to me because I have lots lol.

    Anyway, it’s not very often but every so often I’m asked what a good starter book is on the Golden Dawn and I usually can narrow it down to a few. Based on the google previews of your book, it looks like you might have made my job easier.

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