Archive for January, 2012

K disk elements: hummingbird January 20th, 2012

K disk elements: knife January 19th, 2012



Requiescat In Pace, Ursus americanus altifrontalis January 14th, 2012

Dies Saturnus

Luna wn in Libra, 67%v

Horae Venus-Mercury


Went out to a coworker’s house today to pick up a bag of bones. He is a hunter, and in November he brought down a black bear on the east side of the Cascades and generously offered me bones for carving. He is a bit of a bear himself and has the proper respect and hunting ethic for me to consider accepting such a gift. I agreed after much deliberation, and I will make him and/or his fiancee rings or pendants from a small part of the bone in gratitude if nothing else.

I am not a “bear person”, neither have I been specially tapped by the (symbolic or real) figure of the bear in any of my spiritual dealings outside of a passing acquaintance within the realm of the coins project. I’m not the owner of the bones in the same way as I am for other animal-sourced materials I’ve collected for magical tool-making. Perhaps this will change as the exploration of the figures of bull and bear as economic totems proceeds. Perhaps not. Maybe owner is not the right word. “permission to use” is more like what I mean. I haven’t had the experience yet that lets me feel like I have a right to use them.

We first talked about it in late November of 2011, soon after he and his hunting partner had shot and butchered the bear.  He had no use for the bones, and he knows I sometimes use bone for carving and so he offered a few to me. After a meditative back-and-forth question session of OK/not-OK with what was my best attempt at asking the spirit of the bear itself, I determined that it would be OK for me to take some of the bones and put them in the ground near my house. But as to whether I ought to clean them, slice them up, and start making things now or later on…that was not clear at all. In this situation, not-clear means NO for now. For whatever reason, NO for now. Allright. They can rest for a while here, possibly permanently if that’s how it shakes down.

So time passes- he got sick, projects came up, and all of a sudden it’s nearly 2 months later. We arrange for me to pick them up this morning because they’re getting pretty stinky in his shed. I thought he’d kept them in refrigeration all this time. Apparently not! They have been stored in a plastic bag inside a large Coleman cooler in his shed. He told me an amusing story about trying to rig up a peppermint-oil soaked bandanna across his face so that the smell wouldn’t overpower him. Of course the vapors from the oil stung his eyes and made them water so much he couldn’t see. And it still smelled- like peppermint and rot. Reminded me of the story of Lon DuQuette’s adventure with the Mass of the Phoenix and Abramelin oil.

Honestly, the odor wasn’t that bad- standard decomposing mammal smell.  I’ve certainly smelled worse.

I’m also mightily impressed with the opportunism and tenacity of the common carrion fly. The bones were wrapped up pretty quickly after the bear was butchered, and kept in a closed cooler for several weeks. I didn’t get the impression that they were left out unwrapped for a significant length of time since the hunt or anything like that. Yet I found some very big maggots in there- probably a couple of weeks old estimating by their length (avg. 12-15mm). And they were still alive! I put most of them in the ground with the bones and hosed away the rest.

I got them home and set to digging three deep pits in what will be the Artemisia bed in the spring. That was another “OK”- lay them under the wormwood. The pits were dug to 2 shovel-depths to discourage unearthing by the various neighborhood critters. Very happy to see so many healthy earthworms down there.  I spoke some improvised psalms as the pits were dug and the bones laid, smoothed the earth over them and poured a small libation.

Now it only remains to wait, and listen.

avant/apres January 8th, 2012

In the “real world” of galleries, museums, and sales (assuming you’ve been given an opening to step into, an opportunity for participation in some way):

For every convention you decide to deviate from, there is someone rolling their eyes over the extra thought/work/trouble you’ve made for them by doing that. For every convention deviated from, there is that much extra effort you will need to exert to jump the gap in expectation/actuality between viewer and art to get it right and get it engaged-with. So choose your battles and your deviations well. And do your job. Show it.

conventions : mark, continued (time) January 4th, 2012

It’s settled- the zeroes will have no maker’s mark or metal purity hallmark. Every time I visualized them with those marks, they weren’t zeroes anymore. The landscape was obscured, the horizon clipped. The sole exception is the one electrum coin I struck, which will be the only one I keep as mine.

I only reached that conclusion when the anxiety over what to do, how to finish played out and I dropped the mental attempts to achieve everything in this one small beginning series of strikes. In the process, a major obstacle to finishing things became apparent.

Because it takes a fair deal of work, of effort, to make anything at all worthwhile, the lazy/efficiency-obsessed (take your pick, they tend to resemble each other at times) part of me figures that if I have to exert myself, I may as well try to accomplish a whole lot of things in that effort. After all, I have no trouble doing just that in my head. That part of me also gets anxious that in focusing on finishing this one particular thing, I may be missing out on bringing to material form every other possible iteration of the series (It’s right, I am. But only for the time I spend finishing that one thing.) I somehow manage to try to fold multiple layers of time into the thing while simultaneously disbelieving in the future.

The solution is to allow these things, the different iterations to spread out in space, to not be stingy that way. And to realize that the unfolding requires more time than the time to think about it. Complete the one thing as the one thing. Respect it. Keep its boundaries clean and clear. A fence, a magic circle, a cell wall. Allow myself to fully inhabit the time it takes, eschewing all other “times” until consummation in the material of that one thing is accomplished. Allow myself to believe that the infinite horizon of possibilities will continue to be there beyond this temporarily self-imposed limitation of vision and action. There will be a “next project”. With luck and long life, hopefully many.

But while I’m in it, be IAO Absolute: confident, all-powerful, limited, flawed, fabricating a truthful lie in a world of my making, a world that I must believe with every fiber of my being is IT.  The time for the graceful bursting of that illusion (and blessed release!) is later. For now, this is IT.

Only by holding to this can I hear what the piece and I are telling each other about what it should be rather than allowing the swarming embryos of future possibilities invade and potentially upset the integrity of what’s going on. Of course it’s a fine line- flashes of inspiration happen and should be listened to, but discerning between an inspiration relevant to the piece at hand, and inspirations more suitable to a later variation on the current theme can be difficult. Is it a voice from within the circle, or without? Is the voice entering, or shouting outward? Does it lead to further fixation of the work at hand or volatility? They are flashes and vapors. It can be hard to know. To know the answers to those questions, it’s necessary to understand what the piece is, to have a handle on its essence…which you only get by keeping to it and it alone while working on it…and not thinking much about it, just doing it…

I heard an analogy recently that applies to the back-and-forth of sensing/thinking/doing: sense and register what’s actually there first before making up your mind about it. Let the horses pull the chariot. Don’t harness your mind to the front and try to pull the horses. The mind should handle the reins, and lightly at that.

Some thoughts can be persistent and invasive. Asana, pranayama, meditation are good tried and true remedies for that (take your own oft-given advice, B). So I put the horses back in front of the cart and see anew WHAT’S RELEVANT to THIS thing and voila, the answer to the question of the mark comes easy. Stop trying to do everything at once. I may be a multidimensional being, but not in that way, in this place.


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