Dana, a woman I dearly appreciate, first and foremost as a precious friend, but then also as a colleague in critical studies, and as the wife of supreme master silversmith Aidan Watcher, entices me often to articulate how I view the magical life insofar as it is bound up with the people who feel a genuine impact from our encounters. Not that I make an effort, which is just the point.
So, last night I gave her an example, of, say, my ‘powers’ of summoning. I told her about how my Tarot de Marseille teacher, master horary astrologer, and eminent professor of psychology in a far away land, had just written to me about his impending visit to Copenhagen in two months. He said that he had just gotten an email from Lufthansa threatening to close his ‘silver points’ if he didn’t book a flight to Europe immediately. So, he went to the booking site, and the first city that was recommended was Copenhagen. ‘No way’, he thought, rightly having the feeling that this might have something to do with me.
I saw him last some four years ago, and we have talked since on and off. We came close to having a rendez-vous in Paris not long ago, when he was there, and when he tried to lure me to zip over, saying, ‘I’ll take you to the famed fortuneteller, madame Colette Silvestre, [whom we both adore], for a tarot reading.’ I missed that boat, as I was engaged with other things. Recently, however, as I’ve expressed frustration with the calculating astro gadget programs on the market for Mac computers, we have gotten into some interesting discussions that orbit nicely around all sorts of old stuff. Me: ‘The Chaldeans thought of annual profections this way’. Him: ‘William Lilly is more mundane’. I have a soft spot for Lilly because I know someone whose father lived in Lilly’s house – another master in old stuff, also a professor friend, family, and alchemist, who doesn’t mind being named, Anthony W. Johnson (incidentally I write about Anthony all the time). By a swerve, whenever I talk astrology these days with the other professor we always end up making plans for getting together at Anthony’s childhood home, the home of master Lilly, where we can do some serious horary stuff. It’s incredible what professors are interested in these days, which makes me think that they possess the quality of what Aidan has described as talismanic. But before I get to Aidan’s idea, let me say something about what I told Dana.
I said: ‘You know, because obviously I must be suffering from some blind spot, I need the master astrologer right here to set me straight in my ways.’ But how can one order other people around? This is where ‘the powers that be’ come into the picture. Magically speaking, and by the same kind of swerve as above, I told Dana that for a moment, in the subconscious summoning act – the best kind – ‘I’ was Lufthansa. ‘I’ was also the algorithm that gave the man Copenhagen as the first choice. There was no other way for him than to simply say: ‘Yes. I’m listening. I’m answering the call. I’m coming’. So he’s coming. He is coming because he gets it. Because his own magical powers are made of the right stuff. On my part now, all I have to do is make sure to channel William Lilly by the time the professor gets here, as he likes him the best, or else, if I should stumble, I’ll just need to pull another summoning stunt, or simply get plugged into Anthony’s cauldron. There’s no way Lilly won’t answer. So help me by Anthony’s dead father’s grave. Is this magic or not? It certainly is.
Tonight, as I was communing with my own dead folks, as tradition has it, Dana asked me if I had seen Aidan’s piece of writing on the Talisman as object and being. I went straight to reading it, and I have to say that it moved me exactly in the right way, which is the way that bypasses my head. Which is the way that makes me lump together the circularity of magical swerves. I welcome such, other than mental, pulsations, as they don’t come very often. I left a comment on Aidan’s website, which Dana picked up. By way of quoting me ad literam, she then issued the following request:
If you have it in you some day, I would deeply appreciate it if you would post about the … “With a talisman you inflict a change in the course of events the way culture or science dictates. The great teacher teaches that kind of violence that makes us snap out of cultural constraints and begs us to look at ourselves. The first thing that happens in such an act is that you lose your tongue, and start responding to the world with your being as is, as the thing itself.” I’d love someone to speak up for us who’ve become somewhat “incoherent” or rather, “forbidden” to speak of some things and instead encouraged to simply “be it.” I think it’s important particularly now with all the nonsense flying around about being LOUD and VISIBLE and OUT THERE. There are other ways… so for me, some day, I would love to see this piece. Please.
Well then, here it is. The talismanic people don’t know what lies are. They don’t speak in clichés, and that’s how you know them. The talismanic people are not popular because they are not interested in stolen magic. They are more interested in how you get to sing a song of the stars by looking at the stars themselves, and then by riding on their flickering light. How do you get your visions right? That’s the question they ask, and they don’t go to the popular thought for answers. They fly with Lufthansa when the time is right. The talismanic people act from behind the scenes, where another set-up than the status-quo orients their actions. Aidan defined the talismanic people this way in his fine piece:
They are like pole stars, and can be used in the same way one might use a more classically defined ‘talismanic object’. They intrinsically hold power, and they can transmit it. It’s often accessible to other people, it’s not something they only ‘hold’ for themselves. These are not always the people setting up shop/temple/church/spiritual office. These are peoples’ sisters and grandmothers, grandfathers and uncles, midwives, watchmakers, fishermen.
Excellent insight on Aidan’s part.
And so it is as it has always been with the good teachers. The good teachers transgress boundaries in a subtle way. Yet they are more than supersonic when they break silently and violently through the cultural trumpeting of what else is new, or what else is popular. When the good teacher speaks, the earth breathes, and we all know that in such breathing the ‘incoherent’ and the ‘forbidden’ are the only states free of fake solutions. Solve et coagula. Abracadabra. Barhuyex, Emirex, Hamerix, Sehix, Deryx, Meyer, Deherix, Baix, Faurix.
Note on the cards: Tarot de Marseille, Jean Noblet (1650), as reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy (the hand-stenciled set).