When I moved to Olympia, I discovered that I was a witch. There were signs and portents, to be sure. In high school, my wardrobe consisted of variant shapes and forms universally shaded black and o’ershrouded by a de rigueur trench coat, long before there was ever a “trench coat mafia.” I had a penchant for fantasy novels, and an abiding interest in exploring the new age section of every bookshop.

But, there were also contra-indications. I have long been a technophile, tending toward the geeky nexis of computers, science and the presumption of intellectual aristocracy. My interest in fantasy novels was far outweighed by an interest in science fiction. My rejection of Captain Kirk as exemplar in favour of Mr Spock would have suggested the inclination toward scientism and a purgation of emotional thinking, except that the archetype actually is one of deep inner conflict between intellect and emotion, both strong and always close to loss of control.

I think in many ways the theatre was the crucible in which my personal process of integration and wholism was kindled. The strength of my explorations into the imaginal and in manifesting the imaginal in the tangible world offered a way to realize and become a self that was more than myself.

And, an early self-identification with atheism, which evolved, with the acquisition of complexity and pretentiousness, into “agnostic mysticism” …

Reclaiming Principles of Unity

Reclaiming Principles of Unity

However, logic, in the face of the elimination of all reasonable explanations for phenomena requires that the unreasonable be considered. Some things, it seemed to me, were just beyond explanation by the metaphysic of the prevailing paradigm. And, there is in the imagination a call to yell out that reality is not, can not be what it appears. (Houellebecq, 2005, pp 16-17). This “resounding NO” to the mundane is at the same time a resounding YES to the imaginal.

For the most part, with some exceptions, such as a stalwart cynicism, I have managed to nuance this “resounding NO” to life into a resounding NO to life as it is. Instead of devolution into what I’ve euphemistically called a culture of corrosion, exemplified by much of my generation’s smug and satisfied alienation from meaning and life, I have managed to maintain some fraction of optimistic idealism, which in turn I have sought to manifest in the world through my actions.

Witchcraft can be seen, like my history with fantasy and theatre before it, as part of the same heartfelt cry for a “supreme antidote against all forms of realism” (Houellebecq, 2005, p 29) that led me to poietic practices, the pursuits of active creativity, the praxis of imagination.

Posted by John Bell on June 8, 2006
Tags: Putting Community In

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