Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Eshu and the black/red hat"

This is a great tale of the trickster spirit Eshu from the blog of Dr. Catherine Svehla that I found via Disinformation. Since my next booklet is about "The Devil" in conjure, Eshu will of course have to make an appearance. This gives some insight into an aspect of this mysterious spirit. Enjoy..

Eshu and the black/red hat

Photo James C. Lewis of http://noire3000studios.com
This is one of the most famous stories about Eshu. I'll be surprised if, after you've read it, you can't think of at least one instance in which you've met this Trickster...

Once there were two men, fine friends who lived in the same village. They had known each other since boyhood and loved each other like brothers. They lived next door to each other. They eat their meals together. They even kept fields in close proximity to each other; one farmed the land on the south side of the road that led out of the village and the other farmed the north side. These two were inseparable. Every morning, the two men met outside with their lunch and tools in hand and walked up the road together. All morning long one would hoe and chop in one field and the other would hoe and chop in the field just across the road and at lunchtime they would stop and come together under a big tree and eat lunch together. After lunch, and maybe a nap, they would go back to work until the end of the day and walk back home together. The people in the village were so used to seeing them like this that they could barely think of one man without thinking of the other.

One day, Eshu came to the village. And he saw the two men greet each other in the morning and he saw how close they were and he decided to have a little bit of fun with them. That day the two friends, who loved each other like brothers, walked up the road as always and one man went into the field on the south side of the road and the other went into the field on the north side of the road. They chopped and they hoed and they chopped and they hoed and it was a really hot day, so at one point they both paused to wipe the sweat from their brow.

A stranger was coming down the road. It was a really nice looking man on a horse. The man was wearing a cap. Now there was not a lot of traffic on this road, the village was small and not many people had their fields out that direction. So the passing of this stranger was kind of an event. Both of the men stopped and noticed the man and he waved at them and they waved back. 

When it was time to stop for lunch the two friends, who loved each other like brothers, met under the tree and opened up their lunch and started talking about their morning. The man with the field on the south side of the road said, “My dear friend, did you see that fine looking man come by on the horse?” and the man with the field on the north side of the road said, “I certainly did. He was a fine looking man on a fine horse, and I really liked his black cap.” His friend looked at him and said, “I liked the cap too brother, but it wasn’t black, it was red.” And his friend who loved him like a brother  said, “No, the cap was black.” And the other man, who had never disagreed with his friend before insisted, “I tell you, the cap was red.” “Black.” “Red.” “Black.” “Red.” “It was a black cap and you know it, why are you being obstinate?” “It was a red cap and why are you being stubborn?” “Black, and you must be a fool.” “Red, and you must be blind.” The two men got quite angry and before you know it they were cuffing each other and rolling around in the dirt yelling and insulting each other at the top of their lungs. 

People way down in the village heard them and came running up the road to see what was going on. They were shocked to find these two friends, who loved each other like brothers, fighting in this way. They jumped into the fray and pulled the men apart to find out what was the trouble. The man with the field on the south side of the road said, “A man on a horse came by in a fine red cap and this fool insist that the cap was black.” The man with the field on the north side of the road said, “Well, this idiot needs to do something about his eyes because the cap was black.” 

The people stood around scratching their heads and they weren’t sure which was more confusing, the bit about the cap or the sight of these two dear friends fighting. In the midst of the confusion, up rides Eshu, wearing his cap. The two men saw him and said, “There he is, there is the man.” Eshu waved at them and they waved back. Then Eshu slowly turned his head to the right and he slowly turned his head to the left. The two men were dumbfounded. The cap was red on one side and black on the other. They got down on their knees in front of Eshu and asked, “Eshu, why did you mess with us like that?” 

Eshu replied, “Causing discord is my greatest joy.” He rode away.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Coke and a Smile

I just came across the last blog post by Brother Moloch titled "The Wise & the Ignorant". In it he makes some good points about the importance of communication skills to sorcery. Which is certainly something that I plan on talking about more in the future. Further in the post the following statement is what really caught my attention:

"Hoodoo is typically the Occult practice of the ignorant and superstitious. Most of the folks who practiced it back in the day were illiterate and highly superstitious. "You need to tear paper and not cut it so you can use it in Hoodoo"... really? Who is the moron that believes that shit. What, scissors too high tech for you? Or my personal favorite, "You need to use a paper or wooden match to light things with in Hoodoo"... pure horse shit. A lighter works just fine. Why? Spirits don't give a damn about matches or whether you cut/tear your paper. Hello???"

First off, it can be said that all forms of folk magic were the Occult practices of the ignorant and superstitious. Hoodoo is not alone in this fact. Also there is particular reason that scissors aren't used in making name papers, and it has nothing do with them being too high tech. I already covered that reason here. All forms of folk practice have methods that seem ridiculous to the outsider, but have a specific reason and purpose. In my opinion, most of spell casting is just superstition, rather we want to admit it or not.

1 a :  a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic              or chance, or a false conception of causation.
    b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God                    resulting from superstition.
2 :   a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

When it comes to conjure, and sorcery in general, I am no purist in any sense of the word. Everyone is free to take what fits their practice and omit things that don't. But don't feel that what you have decided to keep is somehow more true or the core of what's needed to work. I take a "to each their own" mindset to sorcery, and encourage others to do the same. The fact is that little or none of what I do in my spells or rituals can be proved to be the cause of the results that I obtain. There have been some studies that show "why rituals work".  There was even a study showing  that people are more likely to trust a ritual or spell that seems more complicated, or has more steps. So it doesn't matter if if one insists on wooden matches, or not not using scissors. It's all just personal belief. My belief is that we all have the ability to influence the world around us and effect outcomes. But I can't prove that my rituals, or any one step in them are the cause, nor do I care to. Any quest to do so would more than likely be plagued by confirmation bias. While typing this I thought of the bit in Eddie Murphy's "Raw" where he recalls the story of being called up by Bill Cosby, who tells him that his act is too dirty. After talking to Cosby Murphy called Richard Pryor, and part of the conversation went like this:
"Do the people laugh when you say what you say?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Do you get paid?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, tell Bill I said have a Coke and a smile and shut the fuck up."
The point being, that the end results are what matter,  You go about achieving those results using whatever techniques you see fit, if they work for you. If anyone wants to talk trash about it you tell them that Ash said to have a Coke and a smile, and to...You know the rest.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Midday Veil - REMEMBER CHILD (Official Video)

Starting off my day with this little trippy video.

"Remember child: you are a universe within yourself

All the sun and moon and stars above all have their parallels

Inside each microcosmic vessel of your human cells

You are the alpha, the omega, heaven and hell"

Friday, September 6, 2013

Introducing the Crossroads of Sorcery E-List!

Ladies and gentlemen step right up! Please direct your attention to the right sidebar where you will notice a sign up box for the brand new Crossroads of Sorcery E-lists. Why would you want to sign up for this E-list, you ask? Well because you will receive exclusive content not available on the blog starters. Starting next Friday I will be previewing content of my upcoming pamphlet, "Conjuring the Devil" every week. You won't want to miss that. I will also have exclusive deals and contests only available through the e-list. So check it out!

Coming Forth By Day

I mentioned in the early days of my blog that I was at one time involved with a “Vampyre” organization known as the Strigoi Vii. I am not active in the community anymore, but I did meet some exceptional and dynamic individuals there. While I don’t include any of their esoteric concepts in my work anymore, one thing that did stick with me was the notion of the “Dayside”. This is something that was inspired by and borrowed from the “Temple of the Vampire”. They describe it as follows:

The Vampire by Day
The Dayside is a fundamental part of our religion.The practical side of the Temple is our Dayside. This is the common sense view of reality shared by most people. This perspective includes our emphasis upon achieving and maintaining success with regard tosix critical issues in life. These include:
  • ·        Emergency survival planning and skills acquisition.
  • ·        Increased self-understanding and self-acceptance.
  • ·        More effective communication skills and strategies.
  • ·        Gaining control over personal finance and achieving wealth.
  • ·        Improving and protecting your physical health.
  • ·        Scientific life extension leading to physical immortality.

Replace the word vampire with sorcerer, and you have a decent list of areas to focus on outside of, or to be backed up by your magical work.  I don’t put much focus on scientific life extension, or survival planning myself. I have actually been on a magical hiatus for the summer and been focusing on dayside concerns which I have let slack for the last couple of years.  Within both the ToV and Strigoi Vii system, Dayside mastery is meant to come before any Nightside practice. The reason begin that when a person has their day to day affairs in order, especially financially, it makes for sounder base to begin magical practice. Far too often, I talk to people that are sure spell casting is their path to riches and success. That someone where out there is a spirit, or spell that will solve all of their problems.  I could be wrong, but in my experience there isn’t one.  To make matters worse, usually the same people that are looking to strike it rich through sorcery often end up spending vast amounts of money on unnecessary tools, books, and charms, in their pursuit. This money could have been invested in more worthwhile ventures, and then backed up with a little magic as well. To me, a good working can come from strong desire, but not from desperation. A sorcerer is a master commanding their universe, not a slave begging from it. 

To some readers of this blog it may seem that I have been losing my “faith” in sorcery. Honestly for a while there I did. I needed to take a step back from it for a while and reevaluate my reasons for practicing. I see it as a weapon in my arsenal of personal advancement, and success. It’s not always the best tool for the job, or needed in every case. I also feel that the same sense of power that one might feel during ritual should carry over into every aspect of their life. If not, what’s the point in doing this in the first place? I don’t consider myself a powerful sorcerer. I consider myself a powerful person that utilizes sorcery as one way of directing that power.

That got a bit rant like at the end. So yeah, consider your Dayside.

Brother Ash

As always.....
“Don’t quote me boy, cuz' I ain’t said shit.” Eazy-E