Tradition, Technique, Appropriation, and Exploration Part 2/2

The last post was already in the works when when Gordon, Jason, Jow, and RO began their discussion of the simplicity, complexity, and relative eclecticism of their practices.  I seriously sympathize.  If you’ve read my previous post, I imagine you can see why: eclectic Wicca, years of unverifiable personal gnosis (both my own and that of those I’ve worked with), Hellenic gods, neo-shamanic spirit-journeys, Chaos- and Hermetic-inspired sigils, masks and hammers and things no one else has ever thought to do with a circle.

As I said before: I’ve spent years searching for a tradition.  I’ve played with Cunningham and Conway, dabbled with Crowley, Carrol and Kraig, mocked Lady Sheba and Silver Ravenwolf alike.  I am a student of Tarot and astrology.  I’ve experimented with candle magic and sorcery and astral projection, with auric healing and magically enhanced massage.  I’ve tuned myself to the elements and grounded into the astral plane – invoked the cosmic forces of the quarters and cast spells with nothing but the power of my own aura.  I have gone on spirit journeys and hung out with gods and spirits.  No one tradition I’ve found covers half these things, let alone all of them.  So, while the search continues, I’ve been working on my own: a systematic breakdown of the things I’ve done (as best as I can with my substandard journals), and maps of the things I want to do in the future.  I doubt anyone will ever want to join, but it will be perfect for me. And who knows, maybe I’ll find the perfect apprentice some day.

And yet … I still wax poetic, sometimes, about Traditions and Orders.  I share that strange jealousy for those who can name their path and have it recognized.  Envy for those who’ve found a teacher or a system that they can adopt in toto – even if they still need to look outside that system for new techniques to fill its inadequacies, addendums and appendices to a finite and discrete system.

I’m white, (apparently) cisgendered, and from a (lower) middle class family.  The list of spiritual traditions that I have any “legitimate” claim to are relatively few.  Unfortunately, none of them are to my taste.  Which leaves me either blazing trails in a dark and moonless wilderness or seeking refuge in other spiritual lands … and trying to avoid the ones where the locals would just as soon I curled up and died.  Or, as always, all of the above.

Does it sound a little like I’d like someone to do the hard work for me?  Yeah, it’s a little bit like that: I envy the people who can just accept a prefab structure.  For whom any of the existing systems have meaning.  Satyrs are not, by nature, hard workers: we like to drink and dance and fuck (nymphs, eachother, mortals, deities … I deal exclusively with enthusiastically consenting humanoids of legal age, myself, but other satyrs aren’t so picky).  So, yeah, I wish I could take a lazy rout.

But I can’t.

So I’m ecclectic.  I look to the past and to the modern Western Hermetic and Witchcraft traditions for inspiration.  I learn techniques from anyone who is wiling to share – god or mortal – and try to make sure all my sources are ethically sound.  Still … inevitably … I’m a transgressor of spiritual boundaries even as I am of social ones.  I’m bisexual.  Although I’m male-bodied and I present (mostly) as masculine, I actually identify as “fuck you and your stupid gender dichotomy”.  I am a hedonist and an intellectual in a society that simultaneously condemns both pursuits and sees them as inherently incompatible.  I am a historian in a religion that is (understandably) skeptical of mainstream historiography (a post of its own for another day), and which in its attempts to acquire popular and legal credibility is increasingly absorbing the overculture’s anti-intellectualism.

I am a queer, hedonist, shamanic witch.  The party’s at my place, and we can talk Plato in the morning … maybe hung over, maybe still smashed.

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