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In 1998, I was working with my erstwhile fiancé, a gifted graphic designer, on a book-length project filled with art, essays and interviews. Previously I had edited two well-received ‘zines including The Eulessynian Hot Tub Mystery Religion, which netted me dozens of new friends. In the subsequent years I had accumulated a wealth of material intended for the new project. Reaching out to artists and writers I admired, I was overwhelmed with contributions. Sadly, the project never came to fruition and a few years later my creative partnership ended in an equitable divorce. Of the material I had accrued, almost half was lost irrevocably in a computer crash. Until last week I thought that my interview with post-porn artist and feminist Annie Sprinkle, who had been very kind and accommodating in responding to emailed questions, was lost. Last week I uncovered a cache of documents, including said interview which, after 13 years, appears here for the first time. After so many years, I want to thank Annie Sprinkle for her time and thought.

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In the previous Epicycle we discussed what a planetary hour is and how they can be calculated. We also briefly touched on how they can be used. Much of the remaining orbits of this series will explore these other techniques. However, before addressing these additional observances I think a valuable question we should be asking ourselves at this point of the discussion is: “What good does all of this do me? Why does timing matter when working with magick?”

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Last year was a great year for These New Old Traditions, with all sorts of interesting pieces coming down the wire. Here’s a list of the top ten most read pieces:

10. PLAYING NORDIC: The fine line between honoring one’s own heritage and creepy white pride cultishness…, by Onalistus Reveler
“Conservatives befriending pagan traditions (often specifically Heathenism, also known as Germanic Paganism) hover so close to the ideas of the men’s movement, and to supposedly ‘post-racial” concepts of racial solidarity, you just wish sometimes they’d take off their Norse helmet and be like, Look. We take pride in being white. We relish in dated concepts of ‘maleness.’ And, we believe ethnic purity is a real thing that should be preserved. Instead, so many PagaCons try and hide their racism beneath the leaves on their Odin altar, burying their bigotry in notions of ‘roots’ and ‘heritage.'”

Find the rest after the jump….

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Sunrise over Rosh Ha-Ayin, Israel

At its most basic, a planetary hour can be described as a classical means by which a person is able to put his/herself in accordance with the heavens by dividing the day from sunrise to sunrise (instead of using midnight as the border of one day to the other), ultimately dividing the day into periods ruled by the classically recognized planets. Measured by the amount of light and darkness that is contained from from one dawn to the next, these periods will vary in chronological length depending on the time of the year.

In the past, these variable periods were said to share in the powers and sympathies of the planets associated with them and were consulted when performing certain rites and operations designed to maximize the influence of a particular planet. For instance, if you wanted to be successful in battle (and who doesn’t?) a ritual could be timed to maximize Martial energy – it could be performed on a Tuesday, the day associated with Mars, during one of the four Martial hours that occur during that day. To cinch the deal one could burn dragon’s blood, brandish an iron spear, wear scarlet, etc. etc. If you’re particularly lucky perhaps the planet itself would be in a sign in which it rules or is exalted (i.e. in Scorpio or Capricorn). This would align the “signatures” of the planet in question thus allowing the Magician usage of a clear link between the divinely connected planetary force and us poor, amnesiac schleps stuck here on earth.

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"The Golden Calf," by Damien Hirst (sold for $18.6 million)

“The roots of today’s globalizing spiritual crisis lie in a movement away from immediacy; this is the hallmark of the symbolic.”
—John Zerzan

“Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.”
—Guy Debord

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
—Shakespeare

Symbolism is an act of re-presentation, always impoverishing and isolating that which is symbolized by collapsing it into a fragmentary concept, separated from its environment and its dependency on the rest of existence.  As the universe flows on in its relentless dance, a symbol remains the same, and the breath and spirit of what it identifies is forgotten in favor of its name.  “For the Murngin people of northern Australia, name giving and all other such linguistic externalizations are treated as a kind of death, the loss of an original wholeness,” notes John Zerzan in Too Marvelous for Words: Language Briefly Revisited.  How deeply in this pile of deaths might we be buried today, as symbolic culture has grown exceedingly complex and expansive since its inception?

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The Three Magi

A friend recently asked me: what is the difference between magic and magick?  Most people are familiar with magic-with-a-‘c’: pulling a rabbit out of a hat, card tricks, sawing in half a pretty girl with a smile on her face.  These manipulations of our attention require distraction and sleight of hand.  The better the magician is at distracting her audience, the more magical the act will seem.  But everyone who watches a magic show knows that the magician is not actually making anything appear or disappear, is not altering future or past.  We may wonder at the abilities of a magician, but we can be sure it isn’t actually “magic”.

Magick is not the same as magic.  There is a distinction I see which I will attempt to explain.  This is, of course, my own viewpoint from within my own reality tunnel.  I am not “correct”.  Magic is manipulation of attention and relies upon the ability to distract.  Magick is the art of changing consciousness.  Magick may involve magic, but magic does not involve magick.  (Maybe…)

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The Water Path includes taking part in cleansing fires, much like smudges, but it is the internal part of the path. It is a path of cleansing, of emptying the glass of its contaminated contents and refilling from the font of the universe with love and right thinking. Our first steps on the path were to learn the animal nature of each of the 20 days in a Maya month. There are 20 spirits within the Maya calender, each with its own day, and 13 numbers, symbolizing the interaction of the solar and lunar years. That leaves 260 combinations of numbers and energies, each with distinct goals and advantages, as well as common trouble spots. It is possible with a birth date to read the horoscope of a person, to see how the energies of the universe combined on your first birthday, the day you were born, the day you were 1 solar year old and saw the sun for the first time.

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