I think a Queer everything is important. I think it is good to reinvent spiritual traditions, rejuvenate them, keep them alive. I work with the Jodorowsky / Tarot de Marseille, one of the oldest ones. I like the mystery surrounding the Tarot—no one is really quite sure where it came from. I also quite like the open-endedness of that, I feel like it invites reworking and reimagining. I think it’s best viewed as an open ended archetypal playground.
I chose the 2 of Pentacles, because it has come up in a bunch of readings around me and how I engage in the world. Most recently as a “take it as it comes” take on the world, and I like the infinity symbolism in some versions of this card. The duality—or the illusion of duality—spawning lots of different potentialities, it resonates with the snake eating its tail image. On a personal note I’ve worn an inverted pentagram for a few years now, as part of being present in this world and not some idealised abstract kind of thing. Recently I was initiated into a witches coven, which involved getting a point-side-up pentacle. Hanging out with some witches of late, and actually reading about witchcraft has got me really excited about witchcraft as an open-ended, queer creative western esoteric practice. Maybe there is some exploration of self going on also.
To explain the pentagrams, most people associate point up pentagram with witchcraft and paganism more broadly, whereas the point down pentagram has association with Satanism and more broadly left-hand path spiritual traditions. Some people draw a distinction between left-hand path ritual traditions where the focus is on the self, and maybe the end goal is self-deification or changing the objective world in line with your subjective experience. Right-hand path being getting your subjective experience in line with some objective truth. I’ve been drawn to left-hand path experiences of magick to counter my Buddhist tendencies of seeing one truth. Chaos magick has been my way into magick, I think this binary between the two is absurd and reductive. I quite like some versions of middle way or middle path ideology, not as a wishy-washy no commitment non-way, but as a willingness to experience the full spectrum and both the extremes.
It feels like juggling different things, maybe different binary or language as an obtuse or sometimes useful tool or identity politics as inherently limiting and exclusionary, but also arguably useful to navigate the world. Balancing different aspects that come your way or experiences but realising they are just experiences. I also like pentacles or coins or discs because the mundane relatability of it as well and in part this is about “the mundane” and being manifest in the physical world, the social world, having your shit together as a person.
I feel like I have done some intense and a lot of weird ritual stuff but also its hard to place one’s self against other people or some imagined ideals, I feel like I do an okay job of being relatively well adjusted and being able to talk about my spiritual practice in a way that doesn’t freak people out. I’m doing a PHD at the moment in weird possession work, with voice integrating meditation and lots of weird vocal techniques. I try and talk quite freely about my practice, though I’m careful about the language I use. For me it feels important at the moment to have that resonate through my life and be able to integrate that into my social world. Dualism and binary have such power because they are useful tools for navigating the world sometimes, that’s why they are around still. For me it’s not about discarding that or seeing through the illusion of it so much, just recognising they have limited applicability or their limitations and not letting that normalise / not letting normative power take over.
The person I am today is very much reliant on the person I used to be and all the lessons I learned came from that. I don’t think me then is ready to know what I know now. Maybe I would gently prompt myself to explore meditation sooner on to be able to sit with the highs and the lows, the lefts and the rights and the ups and the downs. Aside from, “Meditation might be really good for your mental health” I don’t know.
You can find balance and harmony amongst the turbulence of life in either extreme, and that we have some agency in the world and in some sense no agency. I’m pretty convinced “free will” is an illusion, that there’s stuff happening and we’re just conscious of it. That said I think we have some sort of agency to be able to choose how we engage in the world. Sometimes it’s ok to just take things as the come, it’s also okay to roll with the pushes that that pushes them in a way that is more helpful and more nourishing to you.
Washing machines – cause they go round and round in cycles. A big part of my spiritual practice has been influenced by Tuvan and Mongolian overtone singing and feeling inspired by the engagement with landscape and environment, using voice as a way of connecting and communing with that. Not wanting to do the cultural appropriation thing, wanting to be try to be true to that intent recognising I live in a quite different environment, with the influence of industrial music. Industrial music for industrial people. “Throbbing Gristle”, “Psychic TV” and the chaos magick thing has been a big part of my practice, in a rich part of my cultural heritage. It feels like a big part of where I’m from, so trying to explore those two. I’ve done lots of overtone singing with washing machines and fridges, buzzes and hums from the industrial environment I live in, and I particularly resonate with washing machines. I’ve done some intense ritual work with a washing machine, I’ve a tattoo of a washing machine. I sometimes only half-jokingly say that “washing machines are my spirit animal”. We are at “My beautiful Laundrette” in Melbourne, which is also a beautiful queer film from the 80s set in England. It makes me really happy that this place exists.*