Book of Mirrors September 2022 a few descriptions
We are being lived by powers we pretend to understand W. H. Auden
A later-life project of collecting clues to your Life-with-Meaning
It is a private record of how you have made/lost Meaning; Attended to your Needs;
Revised your Story;
How you have encountered the Intuitive, the Spiritual and the Practical in your life;
Your Dance with the Body, the Mind and the Moment.
Your history of Going In, Down, Out and Away
How you have managed the tension between life expected and life experienced.You are collecting clues about your emerging selves, and the changing matrix around you.
A different, selected, edited version may be made and shared with others. This is called a Grimoire.
WHY DO THIS?
It is part of your legacy. You’ve spent your whole life getting to this vantage point. Narcissistic? No, it’s taking ownership for who you are, what you’ve done and what you’ve become.
From a June, 2022 Iteration
Trust that Meaning is always available in the Regular; The Profound is in the Simple.
Trust Process; That you are not alert to it all, That One-step leads to another,
Allow Contact w Ambiguity, Chance
Seek Casual/Indirect Ways to Allow Discovery; that there are layers of meaning which get Revealed after risk
It’s like Ikegai, Active Imagination, Restorative Yoga, Dream Analysis, Haiku, Archetypes, Myers-Briggs, Astrological Charts, Enneagrams.
Collect information (images, objects, words) from three areas of your life:
This can be in a pile, a box, a drawer, a notebook, as a deck of cards… It’s likely there are already pieces around
1. Pieces of your PROFILE:
What you’ve Earned, Learned, Inherited, Rediscovered
Life-long defaults, tendencies, interests, routines, themes; “Oh, YOU Again!” Welcome friend!
BODY: health?, habits, the ways you Present yourself? Hair, Clothes, weight, height?
BIRTH/FAMILY Highlights Birth Experiences, Deaths, Successes and Tragedies When has life had meaning?
Experiences with OBJECTS: Your Collections? Productions? Special Objects? Alter Items?
Experiences with the Eternal, the Olde, the Paleo: rocks, insects, water
Experiences with Religion? Spirituality? The Occult? How you Alter Consciousness
Experiences with The Feral, Nature, Instinct, Shadow Are there life-long fears or worries?
Your Erotic Life?
YOUR GIFTS? Passions, talents, obsessions, reputation?
Your Preferred, Practiced Voices: teacher, preacher, cheerleader, critic, victim? Can you access others?
2. What’s TIDAL, in play right now?:
the weather fronts of the moment, the Etheric Cords
Tune in to Passing Encounters, Accidents, Coincidences, Pictures, People, Places, Symptoms, Attractions,
Hunches, Events, Animals, Scents, New Voices. What Songs are stuck in your mind? What Dreams are presenting? What words, verbs, nouns seem to repeat?
Old/New Clan Is a new clan appearing? Who’s there from the old one?
Experiences with Organizations Why do you join,? When do you leave ?
LIFE STAGE: What’s this one about? What are you losing? What opportunities are presenting?
Media BITS gleanings from messages/emails/your programs and apps, your life with electronics
QUOTES/POEMS What words, images, stories move you?
3. What can you help REVEAL?
conscious/active experimenting with materials/objects/making
First, Pause See pausing, waiting as an Activity, not a lack of activity.
Try Making from Casual Loose Parts. Just Arrange things, Use a paper clip, rubber band, twist tie, band aid, playing card.
Practice Gifting Both Objects and Attention as a tool of Active Exploration; Sharing your Gifts
Try Other Voices: Assisting not Directing, Just Listening,
Be with children.
THEN? Allow all this to just be. . Sit with it. Let it reveal as it may. Or may not. Be out-of-charge. book of mirrors
Another Description, different inflections:
Field Notes on your Tides of Order/Disorder
The Balance/Feeding/Flutter between ritual, chance, order/improv, finding pattern/Meaning in disorder
Developing relationship to riffle shuffle of it all:
There is NO One Way It Changes!
It's Kaleidoscopic: same stuff, different patterns
Odd, Puzzling Style:
Shamanic (Non-Logos) Writing; phrases, nouns, verbs, gerunds: a bath, grazing, not a lesson or talk, likely errs, spirals, needs stirring; for seeping deeply
TRUST Curiosity, Mood, Chance, Loose Parts,
Riffle Shuffle, Resonance, Piling things
Seven Ways/Areas to start: Get Your Fae Name EZ/Immediate, NOW Body/Nature, GO In-Back-Beneath,
See What's Emerging, Make/Share Reminders, Metaphors GO OUT Follow Trails
Alone lightly Active
Active: alone and with others
Ponder/Make Note of Your Current Actions, Cords, Chance Encounters, Stuck Songs, Shiny Obj, Fetching Ideas
Consult BODY: Current Symptoms, aliments,
Stress? Your preferred GRUMBLINGS?
Revisit Your Gifts What you Bring: Humor, age
Be Curious about New/Other Ways
*Focus on Edges, X Center Ring Quiet Review
FaeHealer info who’s visiting moon cycles Birds, Woods,
Revisit BIO about Spirit Spouses, Trickster Life
Cords: Karmic, Shadows Forces? StoryLines
Revisit STORY What Parts Still Work? Describe your “Character” for a casting director
Who’s Emerging? Story Elements Still Work? What’s appropriate NOW? deeping sleeply
Mary Oliver’s “gods” Your Knots? antithetical bonding, Play vs Grumblng Outrage
Revisit Objects collected, made Use a poetic eyeon actions/cords to reveal/decode
Revisit VALUES “Finding Meaning” “wholeheartedness” Reconciling
Review MEGACYCLES Other Lens, Karma Bardo, Dragon Time, PLAY time?
dragon-spirit embodiment of chaos/untamed nature. your Dragon?
*Short-Circuit Logos use, empties, blank paper, chance activities: poundng, ex corpse Have a Pile/Drawer
Learn to Blend/Balancew Other Energies/ Models alert to movement on Margins Unfolding Patience
Develop skills for seeing sensing Portals; perhaps changing responses Be Curious!
ALTWays/Tools Kindness? Making Amends? Attention Prayer Pondering Poetry Images
Objects Time Personal Writing +poetry, Haiku? GIFTING Be in CLAN
BE OUT?How/Why/for What: expiation? Amends? Revealing hidden Stories BALANCE
Touch/sharing/being w others Helping, Fixing, Serving? Your Gifts? Gifting for Health
MORE SPECIFICS, Please
1. EZ FAST: List your Grudges on a Buddha Board (need for the material/imperm), Note Cords of The Day
Cards of Contact Your Dragon: Reminders, Spirit, Shadow, Dreams, Notice Nature Ways Praying? Tonglen
Via KOANS/PAIRS/QUES: Pointers: Organic Metaphors, words
Thumbnail of who you are right now: How ya doin?
EntryLevelCA: Reminders, Spirit cards, Cords Empties NatureWays Trade Trinket Jars Make/Find Avernos
2. NOW Consult Your Body, Entanglements, Etheric Cords, Symptoms, Chance Encounters, Nature, Animal Spirits
Altars, fragments shadow, tracks, Alert to “devalued”, Clues, Pointing, Trails, Waiting, Curiosity, Listening
3. IN Alone-Quiet Scry Notice Watch LOOKING Ahead, Back, Out, Behind, Up, Let It Reveal
Your Familiar Trails Repetition Trust Cues/Earmarks, 5DModels of OtherWays:
5. MAKE/SHAREREMINDERS, Poems, KNOTS, ALERTS
Find Images/Models/Metaphors: Use Poetic Mind Tides, Paths, Bath emerging Entangled World! Sediment, Piles vs Lists
Seeping =slow, Sudoku Move No Slow Ping Pong BuddhaBoard Model deeping sleeply Pointing *Direction, not a Map*
OUTish Alone-Active BodyLet your Making Resp tell you your stories as Messenger, Massage ShAManic Practicing/Balancing, different for all Alchemical Distillation Tincturng
6. OUTw Others Allow for Unexpected w Others Why/What/How to share your GIFTS or NOT
Gifting Opportunities: Find OTHERS Goblin Mkts Resonate/Elicit Wholeness of The Other PLAY, X Debate
Play Opportunities: Loose Parts to Play with in different ways vague, indistinct, inexplicit,
7. FOLO/SHARE TRAILS= Look for non-verbal, non rational opportunities to practice/honor vague, indistinct, inexplicit by Making, Sharing Quotes, Poems, Mats/Tools Images Places, Play, Ideas …. Done Alone and With Others
Another Way to Put it
The Casual Alchemist cooking for 20 years. It's
*about the creative process and common natural materials.
*about learning about human nature from being with Nature and the result of working with trees for 30 years.
*about "ordinary creativity"-- that energy we all have and use to make our lives everyday.
* an exploration of the needs, costs and benefits of tendencies we all have towards expressing the ungovernable, the untoward and the contrary parts of ourselves. But it is not just about the maker. It's an attitude towards the making of objects... Or perhaps, it's learning that objects get themselves made through us. Objects "matter" themselves into existence through humans and that there are old ways that effect this. Some call them "archetypes."
- *about what Jung calls Active
Imagination... processes, exercises for encountering parts of the
*about developing non-verbal practices for handling the stress of change and transition.
- * about self-directed activities: making things with ephemeral natural materials; making things in the tradition of the surrealists who favored chance and intuition over formula.
The Casual Alchemist is the artist-in-residence in us all. S/he must make.S/he makes: things, dinner, his way, deals,appointments and Trouble. What s/he makes are imaginal artifacts. It's taken me years to figure some of this out. Every so often, tucked in between sets of chairs, beds and tables, I'd find myself making something "else". Something that wasn't really a chair or a table. After years of "elses", I began to see certain patterns and themes in these objects.
The Casual Alchemist is
WAYWARD; short for awayward, turned away, from away, following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations
UNGOVERNABLE: "a wayward child" UNPREDICTABLE: following no clear principle or law; opposite to what is desired or expected. Synonym: positively, pleasantly contrary. It is in the tradition of The Trickster, that age-old tendency to take the world apart AND then put it back together in another way... using hand, head and heart:.
- The Trickster is not a destroyer, but an artist:
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. - St. Francis of Assisi
An example of Casual Alchemy
Since 2004, pieces of bark from the Hudson River have been mattering their ways through me and my studio. I forage, carve, decorate and arrange them. There are now hundreds.
WHY? What I seem to know about them is that they have something to say about the many aspects of our s'elves: some preferred, some hidden away, all with influence. At the moment, Anima, is the word associated with them.
There's also something about the Croning time of life.
The Casual Alchemist is about the "'how" of making, but it's really more about the why and what of making. It's about ways of seeing, ways of being and ways of doing and the changing mix of all three. This means that there is no first way, best way or one way.It's about finding the Ways-of-the-Moment into a other parts of our s'elves. Here are a few dozen such ways. I am now writing this material on-line. I did not create or invent any of the ideas I'm collecting and writing about... I am just another elocution of these realities.
Its purpose is to engage with the spirit world.
To Allow for Other Energies to present in their own ways and times.
Made with and as intuitive technologies: Masks, Images, Tools, Cord Cutters, Messages, Altars, Icons, Statues, Relics, Rejectamenta, Found Objects…
Such things, suitable for dealing with spirits are not made according to the laws of perspective. They are seen with the imaginal eye (of magic)
- Related to Primitivism, Chance Art: Belief in Power of Found Shapes, textures About Animism, not Domination; About Piles, not Rows. A Celebration of the "unconscious," concern with dreams and symbols, often assumed to be "universal." Archetypal aspects
- A concern with cultural phenomena on the periphery-- particularly sexuality, madness, spiritual punishment, violence, and alterity—“othermess” Shadow, deceit, secrecy, activities of thin places… the Goblin Market; The Frontier, Outliers, Dementia, Sex, Spirits, Christ's “stone the builders rejected”
- Abstraction of the figure, particularly facial and bodily proportions. NOT naturalistic representation. Tribal/primitive art makes no attempt at/interest the realism which has been usually preferred by those who dwell in towns represent objects or ideas rather than depict them. Abstraction over Realism. Resonate w Idea/Energy, Abstraction requires Viewer Participation, Completion, not just admiration! Requires Restraint of Completion in service of its Affect. BigTime POWERSHIFT Spiritual Politics!
- Usually a Violation of Geometries, Accepted Ways of working Flatness and geometric designs in a rough, manipulated style, to connote "rawness." Wabi-sabi
- Focus on rhythmic and percussive elements, in music and ritual performance. Oh, and Overt sexuality, combined with exaggeration and exposure of the genitals.
- All in the pursuit developing of ways of life running counter to the development of technology.
- ADDRESSES ALL FOUR NEEDS:
Organic: versus technical (PRIMITIVISM) Stories… usually about “otherness” a rebalancing, tipping Dexterity/Transformation: Making this into that: “I am becoming” I participate in Becoming (FETISHES) Awe/Wonder/Joy/Play (ALCHEMY) http://www.primitivism.com/
Related Work and Insights of Others
Black Dog Times, story re-told by Michael Meade (5 pp)
Sensitive Chaos, from Alan Kazlev's Web Work (4 pp)