The very first post I put up on this blog promised an ever-shifting topic base, and to reach into stranger corners of my existence. To have the chaotic bent that most blogs try not to have.
I would say that an extended period of dead air, followed by an explanation of my personal occult views and practices fits the bill, yeah?
Let me get this out of the way first: This isn’t something I openly speak about. I will do whatever I can to keep dodging inquiries into my religious or spiritual beliefs, if any, and I’ll tell you why. First off, my beliefs and practices are wholly tailored to me, so any simple explanations or meaningful examples have to be walked through theory (at times theories) before I can even get to method (or bastardization of several methods, all needing explanation). Secondly, I’ve never felt the need or been in a situation where I had to push my beliefs on anyone, or to use it as some kind of blunt weapon in arguments or debates, like some kind of esoteric neanderthal. And lastly, because my beliefs are pliable, so they will change and bend and mutate with the introduction of new ideas, the rediscovery of old ones, and tossing out dead ends or obsolete programs. What’s true one year/month/week, will probably be different the next.
The point I’m trying to convey to you is that this feels really weird to be writing. Please, just bear with me here. This is something that I see as a kind of art form in itself, but I know there are plenty out there who don’t or won’t for one reason or another. That’s fine, and I won’t try to change your mind. All I ask is that you show me the same courtesy.
Now with all of that behind us, I am talking of course about magick.
Yes, with a “k”.
I’m one of those people.
But what does being one of those people really mean? More precisely, what does it mean to me?
Let’s start with the label/moniker/job title I use: Gutter Mage.
I did not create this name. Not by a long shot. My first encounter with the term was in the pages of “Hellblazer”, the Vertigo Comics powerhouse starring the king of the bastards, John Constantine. It’s used as a derogatory term, casting Ol’ Con-job as a sloppy, haphazard, careless practitioner of the metaphysical arts. Naturally, this resonated with me. It replaced the imagery of perfectly assembled altars sitting before cloaked figures making all the perfectly learned moves while intoning the perfect Angelic names at the perfect times with a deluge of occult graffiti, electric gods, and rooftop rituals conducted under the neon lights of the living, breathing city.
I had to take it for myself.
It paralleled the style that was slowly developing in my own practices, and it felt more comfortable than any of the other tags I saw others wear as a badge, both hidden and out and the open.
But to properly explain the term, I have to tie it to the practice itself. Therefore, I give you…
THE WEALTH MUST FLOW or HOW TO ROB A SPIRITUAL BANK Note: This is an account of something I performed, not a how-to. Take the idea if you want, but if you plan to perform it yourself, I urge you to do it in your own way, and with your own style attached. We’re going to jump back quite a few years, but if you asked me exactly how many, any answer I’d give you would be a lie because I really have no idea. But way back when, I was struck with the idea that the accumulated wealth within the city I live was being bounced between three points, each with its own landmark. These points are The State, The Church, and The Bank. How did I stumble into that idea? I’m gonna say drugs, because, again, I have no clue, but it sounds right. I then followed up with the conclusion that I could triangulate the exact center between these landmarks, and if a ritual of some kind were to be conducted at that center, on could tap into the flow of wealth for whatever purpose one would have to do so.
Fast forward through the years, and there I am on a hot summer night with the man I am proud to call my brother and best friend, feeling like caged animals. One of us points out that it has been a long time since we’ve kicked out any worthwhile rituals, and that old chestnut about the flow of wealth in the city comes tumbling out of my head, and just keeps rolling.
Over the next hour, we gathered several physical components with appropriate correspondences from my arsenal, outlined a kind of journey broken into several parts, threw on some nicer threads, got ourselves balanced in a purely psychotropic sense, and took off into night.
The first leg of our voyage had us aimed in just about the opposite direction of where we planned to end up, but with good reason. As we trekked, our pockets turned out the entire time, we aired our thoughts about the nature of wealth, whether or not we believed we even deserved wealth in our lives, and any other hangups we were holding on to personally. This was a kind of psychic cleanse, just so we weren’t dragging our own baggage to something else’s doorstep. When we arrived at the first stop, feeling exorcised and loosened up, we had a smoke, and aimed ourselves to ascend back into the city.
The second part of the voyage had us tasked with divining the signs and portents along the way to the center of wealth’s flow. An on the fly determination of “true will”. Maybe even a buffer that would allow us to turn back before we actually did anything. A challenge to the Universe to throw what it had at us to help or hinder. Sure enough, within minutes of getting deep into the city proper, a guy jumps in front of us from a bus stop, trying to sell us Xanax. We didn’t even break stride as we blew right by him, calling out that we were in the middle of a goddamn magick ritual, and had no time for his shenanigans. A few minutes after that, my compatriot damn near rolls his ankle, I can only assume in an attempt to scissor-kick something that need not be scissor-kicked.
Oh, we were being made to earn this one, of that I have no doubt. Little did our spiritual challenger realize that random drugs and excruciating pain totaled about 90% of our day-to-day lives, and was thus easily ignored.
Finally, we approached an archway and the path beyond it, both illuminated in electric blue light. We walked through, finding the center that I had triangulated, and began to prep. Candle, essential oil, incense, coins, herbs, and a queued up prayer/petition to Solomon. When the area was set, we sat and meditated on the flow, envisioning how it moved around us. Then we started to speak in low voices at a steady pace about wealth, experiences, the betterment o those around us, and deeper things still. It became almost automatic after a while, our words simply coming out instead of being born in our minds first and spoken second. Then, when the incense finally finished burning, we finished as well.
The final part involved us standing and stretching, collecting whatever components were to be salvaged, and starting up a playlist we had created that was comprised entirely of songs about money, wealth, and the like. We walked the blue path and back under the arch, but as we stepped out, a security car, blue lights flashing and the words “CAPITAL SECURITY” on the side came barreling around a corner and flew by us. I mused out loud how it was spelled “capital” as in money, as opposed to “capitol” like one of the landmarks we were still just blocks from.
“That’s because we just robbed a spiritual bank!” my friend declares, and we went on our way.
Totally on the fly.
Macguyvered ritual magick using spare parts. DIY metaphysical theory mixed with the slight edge of Leary’s Summer Delight. This is what “Gutter Mage” means to me. Take the situation for what it is; use your knowledge and whatever’s on hand; make a run at it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Nothing really changes. No stuffed animal from the claw machine this time, but there’s always more quarters. Components can be tossed, replaced, given multiple meanings, or not exist at all. Workings can be quick, quiet, and imperceptible, or long and drawn out bits of complex psychodrama. The point is results, not the medium that gets you there. Who really cares about the paint job or the body if it runs like a dream? I’m not so damn narrow as to think there’s even one route to get you there! But, like any art, the more you break from “traditional” methodology, the more flak you’re gonna get. This is one o the reasons I don’t talk about this kind of thing often or openly, and especially not with anyone who might actually know what the hell they’re talking about.
Those people are the worst!