pushing back the haze

It is a very sluggish, humid June right now, and we were meant to have the biggest thunder storms in 170 years or something, due to two weather fronts colliding, but all we had here was a bit of rumbling and some rain, followed by sunshine that threatens to become overcast. Could actually do with a good thunder storm, as the atmosphere is thick and on edge, and can easily leave you feeling oddly drained or strangely cold and prickly. So you have to clear any negativity at times like this, just have to, not that it’s bad or anything, but one needs an intentional adjustment. Just find the right balance, and everything flips from “bad” to creative .

Had an interesting talk with my friend Jeremy the other day about the misunderstood nature of the “demonic”, but not much new to report on that. I’m sure there is still a whole lot to be regained from a term as full, complex and flexible as daemon though.

On another note, me and Phil set up a facebook group for people in and around East London with an interest in the paranormal and the occult. We thought we would keep it as a club for people living in the broad area of East London, stretching out into Essex, and taking in some of the other side of the river, eg Greenwich, Rotherhithe etc. We enjoy paranormal subjects, and thought it would be nice for people to be able to communicate and get together on such subjects, based within a broad locality. It’s also nice for us to be able to do that without the constraints of a “Pagan” label.

I also started taking another look at an old book, Doreen Valiente’s “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”. I like Doreen for her independent stance, and I also like the fact that she has such a clear love of the Sabbat God of the Witches. I had not got very far into the book when I read something about the Order of the Golden Dawn having a theory about the Age of Aquarius starting in 2010. When I first read that back in 1979 it was a still quite distant date, but near enough to seem promising. Now it’s more a question of “oh you have to be kidding me! this is it?“. But hey did anyone say it would be like the song? Uranus did go into Aries that year, and the cardinal square with Pluto kicked in, so I guess it could have been a testing run up? But really, I suppose it was just another one of those “wow, I really am that much older now” moments.

While looking for things to post in our paranormal facebook group, I found myself searching for stuff on Austin Osman Spare, as he is an outstanding London occult artist and magician who lived just the other side of the river, and is buried in Ilford. The Wikipedia page for Austin Spare is quite informative, and I was quite interested to read the following on his life in the early years of the 20th century:

“Spare became popular among avant-garde homosexual circles in Edwardian London, with several known gay men becoming patrons of his work. In particular he became good friends with the same-sex couple Marc-André Raffalovich and John Gray, with Spare later characterising the latter as ‘the most wonderful man I have ever met.’ Gray would introduce Spare to the Irish novelist George Moore, whom he would subsequently befriend. The actual nature of Spare’s sexuality at the time remains debated; his friend Frank Brangwyn would later claim that he was “strongly” homosexual but had suppressed these leanings. In contrast to this, in later life Spare would refer to a wide variety of heterosexual encounters that took place at this time, including with a hermaphrodite, a dwarf with a protuberant forehead and a Welsh maid”

I have never thought of Austin Spare as “gay” (and I don’t now), but it is nice to hear of his friendships and his open mindedness. He was my great “hero” (for want of a better word, as I’m not sure what you would call a mentor in spirit) in my early twenties when I was exploring art in a magical context, and he and his whole attitude, his art, his sayings, his philosophy were a liberation and an inspiration to me. Through his work I felt his presence in my life, as if he were actually there, in some atmospheric yet spiritually intimate way. Though I could not connect with the “witchcraft” of what came to be called Wicca, due to its heavily heterosexual bent, the “witchcraft” of Austin Osman Spare, with his astral Sabbats, and his altered aesthetic libido, that I found on late moonlit nights in East London.



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