Dangerous Combinations

The Divine Trickster: Visiting weev

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The tree outside of Allenwood.

Defined by paradoxes and anomalies, the trickster is clever and foolish at once, the deceiver and the deceived, breaker of rules, and inventor of culture. He is both cruel and kind, intelligent and obtuse. He is a shapeshifter who crosses not only physical boundaries but social ones. The trickster elicits intelligence from hunger. The Devil derives awakening from overindulgence. The importance of the trickster in this world is not only to break boundaries but also create them. He is necessary to cultural development.

When I asked weev to be in my tarot deck, I knew there was only one card he could be, The divine trickster, the Devil himself. He agreed.

Yesterday Tor Ekeland and I took a road trip over to FCC Allenwood to visit weev. He’s been in solitary confinement for over a month now and new prison policy has excluded books from reading materials that can be sent to inmates in the Special Housing Unit (SHU). In solitary he is confined to a 6 x 11’ concrete box where he spends his time reading, working out, and writing with little to no human contact and a shower three times a week for approx 15 mins. When getting visitors he must do it by phone behind a thick panel of glass. On Friday he was given notice that he was under restricted mail which meant no mail except from immediate family and his legal team. This news was not surprising as the prison has on many occasions withheld his mail, which led to many sending him certified letters and packages. He said he was told in the upcoming weeks all mail would be returned to the senders. If you are on his visitors list it’s important to visit.

The thing about weev is that he is extremely intelligent and incredibly strong. As he walked into the segregated room he looked healthy, he had been working out, eating fairly healthy or as healthy as you can in prison. “Should we break the glass?” He asked. “Yes. This is the best, most logical idea.” I reply and we laugh. I gave him the well wishes of others and passed along any messages and then he and Tor talked for a bit, updating him on his case and other happenings. So what does one talk about with weev for two hours? Well, the conversation went from the mail he has received. He has a few magazines and periodicals left, perhaps five including a New Yorker magazine and a few others. He spoke about how the prison threw out some of his personal belongings including all the photographs I had sent over the year. We spoke of classical music, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and how it changed the way opera was viewed. The saga is a “Bühnenfestspiel” (stage festival play), structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend (“ante-evening”).

Other topics of conversation were the Poetic Edda, Baldr’s death and Loki’s punishment (mythology explaining earthquakes), lesser known symbols in Norse mythology. (I traced the glass with lásabrjótur, the breaker of locks and releaser of bindings and a few other runes), dictatorships, back to runes, how to function in a noisy prison when you are in solitary, boll weevils, (There is a song by Brook Benton. How did I not know this?) rhino horned beetles, much trolling, how America is dumbing itself down, Elizabeth Bathory, abandoned buildings, Roosevelt Island’s history, mental institutes and the psychological effect of solitary which they used to use in mental institutes in early 1900’s, why whistle blowing will land you in prison, how much he hates pedophiles, and ending on Romani culture and language in which is rich with allegory and metaphor. I speak a little of the language to him.

Weev’s brain is a plethora of information. He can recite from a book he’s read only once, create a poem on demand, it never stops, in constant motion and this is why the government sees him as dangerous. If we look at mythology the trickster is the inventor and a liar, they lie, to create chaos, eventually ending in knowledge benefiting mankind. Loki created the first fishing net while exiled from the other gods. Coyote brought fire to the Native American’s. Raven taught humans how to fish. Eleggua lead humans to temptation, misery, and warfare in the hope that the experience would lead ultimately to their maturation. In one of his patakis he says, “Bringing strife is my greatest joy”.

Tricksters are driven by hunger. In every tale the trickster is hungry, some for food, some for attention, revolution, sex, destruction, or rebirth. The trickster always invents the trap. In some mythology the trickster is asked to outwit some larger devouring force saving human kind. With his wit, intelligence, and knack for observation and lies he can quickly trap and defeat a larger problem. The etymology of the word trickster from Vulgar Latin *triccare, from Latin tricari “be evasive, shuffle,” and variant of Old French trichier “to cheat, deceive, or bait.”

For all that has happened to weev, we must be reminded that he chose go to prison rather than fight before the sentencing. Like other tricksters he understands how systems work. He understands there is a bigger message at hand, a larger all encompassing body, and with each troll that becomes more clear. His acts are intentional. Whether it’s the CFAA’s ambiguous outdated form, the flaws in the justice system, or the way prisoners are treated he opens the door for discussion, outrage, and change.

The trickster is unbreakable, infuriating, essential, and always hungry.

***

Here is a poem he wrote on demand which he told me to write on a scroll. I didn’t.


And yes he’s still trolling.


Imagine a lifeboat about to capsize

And drowning men reaching for the skies

A ship of fools will pull them in

the boat will soon sink, none will swim


A wizened marine guided by Aegir

Will fearlessly render with his spear


We must preserve this lifeboat called earth

And its peoples future mirth


So you ask, why Thor?

Because there is a need for something more

For us to march forward without fear

There are six million too many people here.



Speakeasy

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Look out for Jimmy Valentine for he is an old pal of mine. Come on, come on, Jim. Ok, ok, I am all through. Can’t do another thing. Look out mamma, look out for her. You can’t beat him. Police, mamma, Helen, mother, please take me out. I will settle the indictment. Come on, open the soap duckets. The chimney sweeps. Talk to the sword. Shut up, you got a big mouth! Please help me up, Henry. Max, come over here. French-Canadian bean soup. I want to pay. Let them leave me alone. - Last words of Dutch Schultz

I’ve gotten better at preparing. Everything I need in one bag, ready to go. I stand in front of the mirror pulling back hair and applying layers of eyeshadow. This is my Saturday, every Saturday. When people ask my day job I reply to them “everything.” I get to wear sequins on Saturdays and long gloves with pearls. On Sundays I paint in small black slips and the weekdays are filled with readings and painting and bits of writing. Every day I light the candles on the altar and tend to the workings at hand. Every day I lay down a card and answer a question but Saturdays are a special kind of working, one where I’m not me. Instead I slip into a dress and fall into a dream world. Saturdays are special.

Confession:
After ritual nights I have to pump myself up for more performances but those weekends tend to be the most fulfilling.

Oracle:
9 of cups

Body:

Running around preparing for the play, water.

Virtue/Vice:
Not caring that I ditched my high protein low carb diet for a day.

Relinquish:
Same as above.

Inspiration/Gods:
Agnes Esterhazy

Structure:
Full day focused on the play.

The Hunger Moon

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“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I cut valentines during the day, sacred hearts to be used in ritual. The phone rang and the familiar “unknown” number surfaced on the screen. “Hello dear sister it seems the government is trying to keep us apart again.” And now two valentine’s returned, one for being unknown and one for being offensive. I sighed a little knowing that something like this would happen. Andrew told me the story of Vali as it was the feast of Vali. I told him of the ritual I’d be preparing for the evening of the hunger moon. I asked him for two runes to incorporate into the ritual space. He chose Ansuz and Laguz. We said out goodbyes as I mixed a batch of blood in preparation for the evening.

On the floor we drew a labyrinth and within stations for the elements. As guests made their way through the labyrinth hearts were given, dances were danced until they all stood outside to take the minds journey. Sacraments were given and vows made. We turned them from human to beast until one, one was collared, chosen and brought to the stage. There we crowned him King, the collar came off and it was his turn to bless the vows on hearts with blood. From one hand to another he took the hearts and blessed them, the drums played in the background, the energy pulsating and just like that the feast began. The Hunger Moon brought the uniting of crowns, royalty and bloodlines. The Leo moon brought awareness and pride. The room stood filled with bodies partaking in wine and conversation amidst candlelight and a labyrinth whose walls had been unlocked.

All hail the King of Wolves, the Queen of Wolves, King of Serpents, and Queen of Crows. All hail the forest groves, the roots beneath the muddy earth, the bloodlines undulating under a blanketed sheet of snow.

Confession:
When I do meditations I channel them. There’s no planning in where they go. I just let them come.

Oracle:
Ansuz and Laguz

Body:

Running around preparing for rituals

Virtue/Vice:
Mostly vices drank wine and drank coffee

Relinquish:
Nothing really to relinquish today

Inspiration/Gods:
Lupercalia

Structure:
Full day focused on the ritual

Sacred Heart

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“The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”
George Orwell, 1984

A letter came to my mailbox a few days before. It was one of those letters where the energy permeates right through the paper, the kind that makes you flinch as you open it. The return address printed neatly on the side: Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

"What now?" I opened the letter and inside the Valentine I had sent to Andrew Auernheimer was returned with a check marked letter stating the return for the Valentine to be  an unknown substance on the drawing. I took out the Valentine now slashed with an x and carved into baffled. Unknown substance = acrylic paint.

Now I can understand checking a drawing or a painting for substances. The paint I use is generic, it can be found in nearly all art supply stores, the glaze the same, pencil from the MET, no ink, nothing out of the ordinary. The cards I’ve sent before have had the same brand of paint washed over them, perhaps in lighter coats. The part that baffled me though was why such a large gash as the piece was painted on one single sheet of bristol board and cut to the shape. A swipe or a small scrape would suffice, but such a large gash and an x seemed excessive.

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I called Kenneth Ransom’s fiancee. “Typical.” she said. “They used to do that to Kenneth too.” It’s interesting that not much has changed in the way prisons handle prisoners and mail systems. Emma Goldman’s support mail was withheld and only the hate mail sent through. When she was released she was stunned she had supporters. That was 1917. We’ve come a long way baby. Kenneth’s mail was withheld, his birthday cards numbering in hundreds were delivered six months after the fact. That was death row in Texas in the 1980’s-1990’s. And now 2014, a simple Valentine slashed and sent back. Other mail from friends and allies lost, untraceable, returned.

Looking through Kenneth’s documents one message was consistently clear: The Justice system is a beast of it’s own. Kenneth had three wishes in life. 1. His name be cleared. 2. The death penalty abolished and 3. That prisoners be treated fairly and with dignity as human beings. Unfortunately none of these have come to be. Who would have thought 1984 would be a prediction instead of fiction.

Confession:
Really pissed off that they put a gash into the art. There are sensible ways to test things people. Kenneth Ransom has been on my mind a lot as of late as well. i wish there was justice for him. I wish there was justice for Andrew too as well know his sentence is bullshit.

Oracle:
This turned into one and also a tool. The sacred heart is one of the most well know devotions. Taking the heart of Jesus Christ as the representation of his divine love for humanity. Clayton Cubitt wrote this in reply to what happened: The most suspicious object in a corporate security state is something made by hand out of love.

Body:

Running errands, running around like a madwoman all day.

Virtue/Vice:
No vices only virtues today.

Relinquish:
Being mad about this.

Inspiration/Gods:
Trickster Gods everywhere.

Structure:
Made all the crowns. ALL of them. Champion of crowns.

Queen of Crows

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“People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”
James O’Barr, The Crow

Crows have a complex language and each “caw” conveys a different meaning. They can warn a dangerous situation, they can mimic the sounds made by other animals, or they can even learn how to associate noises with certain events. A domestic crow names it’s owner with a specific caw.

Crow: The Keeper of Sacred Law

The keeper of scared magic and mystery. intelligence, adaptability, the trickster, the fearless, transformation, messenger and destiny.

Confession:
I hate snow.

Oracle:
Feeling a bit 8 of swords but it’s all an illusion

Body:
Lets just focus on hydration and not eating sugar.

Virtue/Vice:

I’m pretty good on the virtues and vices actually.

Relinquish:

Perfectionism. At some point you just start gluing.


Inspiration/Gods:
Crows

Structure:
Building crowns. Getting the details of the ritual together. Sending out mailing lists.

Like Little Bits of Memory

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“Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm from an anointed King;”
William Shakespeare, Richard II

Placing twigs in between twine, circling, drops of glue and rope, birch bark and strips of vintage fur. My nights become ideas swirling trying to piece together intricate ideas into something that makes sense. The coffee is on permanently.

Little bits of memory seep in like the days sitting on floors in Bed-Stuy. Paints on the carpet, long nights, and fresh coffee. Those were the days we had schooling all day, and 5 hour jobs after. They were the days of all nighters and caffeine pills, projects due early. We never slept, music 24/7,eyes glazed and glassy. I used to idealize those days. Our poverty never got to us. We had dreams and dreams were always more important.  We were Kings and Queens of concrete.

Confession:
Lack of sleep and time are starting to get to me.

Oracle:
The Wheel of Fortune

Body:
At this point if I can remember to take vitamins I’m good.

Virtue/Vice:

That whole coffee & tea and water thing.

Relinquish:
I ended up going to bed after finishing one crown. Gave up on trying to blog as well. Just not happening.

Inspiration/Gods:
Wolves.

Structure:
Building crowns.

The Streets of Artaud

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“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

I cut the red square and filled it with herbs and trinkets. I always splash a bit of holy water while I pray over them. And then I left the corners drawing the the energy into the bag to be used a charm. The alligator paws sit to the side for good luck.

We sipped lavender lattes in the West Village made with homemade almond milk. Sometimes life is a surreal game.  When you start to interact with time as an entity you are shown exactly where your weaknesses lie, devouring Cronus before he devours you. I start making crowns for the ritual, bits of things I’ve had sitting by altars. Other bits come from the backyard and garden. At first I want them to be simple but as I take photographs I understand they’ll be a lot more intricate than I first imagined. I lose track of time and sleep. The days start to mesh together.

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Confession:
I’m understanding that the cold and winter is seeping into my bones. This isn’t good.

Oracle:
I was more the oracle for others today instead of having one.

Body:

Walked around a bit while running errands. have been very aware of water intake as when I don’t I become terribly cranky.

Virtue/Vice:
Lavender latte but then switched to tea.

Relinquish:
The thought that I can’t sleep and can only work forever and ever.

Inspiration/Gods:
Eleggua

Structure:
Answered emails, did readings, and started crowns & intense planning for the ritual.

Hermit

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"I’m kind of a recluse." - Faye Dunaway

I snap a shot in the mirror before heading out. As a given, a have about two good hours of social time in me before I start to get worn out. If it’s been a long period of solitude, you can get about six. If it’s been a heavy week two hours max.

Walking down the streets of the East Village a man starts following me. I blatantly tell him I’m not interested. He persists. “I’m not sure what part of ‘I’m not interested.’ you’re not comprehending.” I step into the bar and see Kate. We both shake our heads in disgust and order drinks. Whiskey on the rocks, it’s that kind of night.

A man interrupts our conversation. “I’m sorry you got street harassed out there but in his defense he has really good taste.”

Kate and I roll our eyes. Our friends trickle in one by one until we’ve taken over one section of the bar. Tomorrow I meet with a client early in the a.m. I’m already stressing there’s not enough time. Because there’s never enough time. I slip into the bathroom, a graffiti ridden little space. It reminds me of the Mars Bar but cleaner. I miss old NY. I often wonder how much time I have left here. It’s hard to walk on soil you don’t feel connected to, no matter how good the friends.

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Confession:
I think I’m socially awkward. I have a hard time communicating on an every day level.

Oracle:
The Devil, The World. Hello Saturn

Body:
Drank two drinks. In my defense I sipped them.

Virtue/Vice:
Was good with water. There’s that.

Relinquish:
The grossness of unwanted advances.

Inspiration/Gods:
Eleggua

Structure:
Before heading out got a number of things done with a painting. Also errands. They are annoying but necessary.

Onto Reality

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“I would like to write a Book which would drive men mad, which would be like an open door leading them where they would never have consented to go, in short, a door that opens onto reality.”
Antonin Artaud, Selected Writings

I’d like to take a moment to step outside of the spiritual realm, to step outside of  the unseen, the imaginary, the invisible. I deal in darkness most days, drizzled with honey and random river washes. I deal with turbulent love and waves of injustices placed into bottles, buried and burned. I smother cuts in honey to heal wounds and place images in sweetness while candles covered in oils burning in cauldrons. 

I’d like to step away from emotions for a while. The onslaught of emotion can sometimes render you indifferent. This is my reality.

Confession:
I need a vacation, fully paid and far away.

Oracle:
wolves

Body:
Eating habits are much better. Protein, greens, and water.

Virtue/Vice:
water/coffee 50/50 ratio eep.

Relinquish:
Thinking there’s not enough time.

Inspiration/Gods:
Thinking about crowns. As you do.

Structure:

Gearing up for the Witches Compass

Shine

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“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

The camera used to click when I snapped a shot. I had a 35 mm I’d load with black and white film, set the timer, and wait for the sound. I was eighteen years old and it was the first thing I bought in NYC. Pawn shops were plenty back in 1997. The BMW (Beer, Music, Wine) bar still existed and Chelsea Hotel still had some life in it. I lived in Bed-Stuy in a run down apartment on a street so quiet even the police found it suspicious. 

I had written Mingus poetry on the walls and set up the camera on a table nearby. My room was tiny and dark, ISO 400, F1 it was. I’d set up switch the timer on and stay still for as long as I could. The photo would still be blurry but perhaps for a moment I could capture something. I just wanted to create magic. I just wanted to be alone, to be left alone, and to be my own subject. Those were the nights I stayed up late writing in journals and wondering if I could ever compare to the perfection I saw around me. Like a reed in the breeze I had swayed but settled.

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I place the phone on the nightstand and press the timer. I have 10 shots with 3 seconds in between, F Stops and ISO’s are non-existent on the camera I use. It’s efficient and I always have it on me. In these moments I can make the mundane look glamorous. Black slip, white covers, mirror on the wall, black and white and faded, just like a vintage photograph. The classics shine brightest you see.

Confession:
I have confidence, good self esteem but sometimes I let my thoughts get in the way.

Oracle:
The Empress, The Empress, always The Empress

Body:
Eating habits are much better. Protein, greens, and water.

Virtue/Vice:
Plum wine instead of green tea oops

Relinquish:
Confidence good, body image bad. Does that even make sense?

Inspiration/Gods:
Ochun, Eleggua, Pomba Gira, Santisima Muerte, Kali, Ganesha

Structure:
Submitted some classes, researched some things, make a sketch for a painting.