Awakening to Immanence
Article ID: 14473
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,044
Times Read: 2,432
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Author: Khi Armand
Posted: June 12th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,432
I move through the house with purpose and poise through the televangelist’s shouts-like-bullets ringing out from the television. He preaches Original Sin and inborn deficiency, separateness from the Divine except through intermediary. A commitment to denying one’s subjective experience must follow, he says, and intimate connections with others must be sacrificed if they do not do the same. I grab the tools I feel inspired to work with, the ones that call out to me as I scan my room, and remind myself to thank them for allowing me to use them as offerings to the Spirit world.
“Go to the Crossroads, ” I was told during my meditation. “Go to the Crossroads and honor them.”
I had been recently banned from continuing my practices in my parents’ house, my room having become an overtly productive workshop of intentional medicines and artful curios: contraband. My temple of fervent devotion and active inner work to heal the effects of the false ceremonies of our empty age made illegal. I shove sweetgrass and a sprig of sage into my pocket, grab a half-empty bottle of Coca-Cola from the fridge, and check to see if I have my cigarettes / offerings / vices as I slip out the front door into the frigid night.
I work with and honor many Spirits whose magicks are just aspects of greater perspectives they offer me on life, love, sex, money, power, and what is of value in this lifetime. They are not genies (as I have learned the hard way) but allies – real friends whose wisdom is of greater importance than the bargains they’re willing to make with me now and again for quick assistance in one or more of life’s arenas. They are great and powerful, beautiful and horrible, and are ingenious Masters of Disguise to have survived the colonizing forces who wished to suppress belief in them.
One who is called Maximón allows himself to be called a Guatemalan folk saint (San Simón) , wearing a black brimmed hat and a suit while sitting at the Crossroads. I see him as a Godfather personality, capable of being extremely generous because he understands the metaphysics behind Prosperity. I tell him that I know him and that I am wise to his earlier form – water spirit, Mayan deity of the Underworld. In times of abundance he gets tobacco, crisp tortillas, whiskey, the bright smoke of copal, and lollipops. He will steal the cigarette from between my lips, its cylindrical mass disappearing into the ether, as a joke from brother to brother and father to son. But these have not been abundant times as of late (I still have much to learn about Prosperity) . This evening, I share what I can.
Witches and conjurers love the night, its blanket like a dimmer on a world grown too loud; a world that drowns out the subtle whispers of fey kingdoms, the humming of Ancestors, the decrees and pronouncements of Aesir, Orisha, Olympians, Lwa, Netjeru, and the Gods and Goddesses of other pantheons. The very rumble of Gaia creeps beneath TV static and the lights from Times Square make us blind to the silky threads of Spider medicine connecting Oprah’s tweets to her followers.
This world is bent on drowning these out, for if it did not, we might listen and know our true selves outside the cost of a latte and the struggles of minimum wage. We might shake off the shackles of conformity and allegiance to oppressive systems with greater ease and may unite to rise up like Titans to defend the ancient alliance between people and land. We might topple the Tower whose spire mocks our efforts to live happily, sustainably, with purpose, and with joy without the need for pills or the marginalizing of difference. True Sight stands in opposition to their Profits, and so it must be strangled out of us.
There is neither ritual plan nor toolbox; nothing but herbs falling through a hole in the pocket of a jacket I’ve been meaning to mend for some weeks now. I became familiar with the Crossroads from my conjure work – my hoodoo rites and bathwater tossing; suburban corner road opening work before Thursday sunrises as the 9-to-5ers climb into their cars. I know it as a place of power; a portal for gathering and dispersing associated with innumerable entities the world over. An ecumenical temple found in every town and city, it is sometimes called upon by way of drawing it on paper or laying lines of dirt in its plus sign fashion upon the floor. A Black Man can change your life at the Crossroads and its soil can heal a marriage that still has time left on the clock. The Spiritual is embedded in the Physical like bones within a body. It is Here and cannot be escaped; there is no separation. Our society imagines and creates a kind of osteoporosis. We are desperate for structure and meaning that only recognition of Spirit in all of its subtle density can alleviate.
Standing beneath a streetlamp, I blow three puffs of tobacco to honor the spirit of the Crossroads. Sometimes it is Legba / Eleggua, sometimes Maximón, sometimes something as yet unnamed, but I know that it deserves honor. The smoke mingles with gratitude and intention in my lungs and rides out from my mouth toward the center of the two streets in union. The black tar glistens wet after a recent rain and the sounds of moving cars and trains are as distant as dreams. My rite tonight is eclectic, drawing on wisdom and relationships from all of my paths up until this point. I love traditions, but even these have sprung from innovation. Besides – these entities are my family, so personal that though I know their favorite venues, they can also meet me at a bar closer to my house and we’ll have a good ole time anyway.
The locale honored, I step into its center, facing East from where the Sun rises and days begin. One by one, each of my matches proves futile and my hope for fragrant smoke to rise out of this concrete and vinyl landscape is dashed. Getting over myself and my sensual ideals, I offer the sage itself to the East and express gratitude for the powers of the element I associate with this direction. Turning clockwise to each in turn, I repeat the process with the rope of unlit sweetgrass. Above, below, within, and without, I am centralized. I place both botanicals on the drenched sewer cap beneath my feat. Axis mundi, the center of the world, is where I stand.
There is a war going on between opposing worldviews. An immanent perspective, humanity’s original vehicle, reminds us that we ourselves are Spirit relating to other aspects of the whole as kin, negotiating balance in the ecosystem of life. A transcendent worldview deprives us of this perspective and negotiation turns to battle for resources in an attempt to gain what is already ours. I see many being called to See and I believe that those with Sight are being called to act.
“Performance is currency in the deep world’s gift economy, ” says poet / environmentalist Gary Snyder. By honoring our Spirit kin, we honor and re-member ourselves to the subtle fabric that weaves and is Life.
Coca-Cola is a favorite of Maximón’s; its sweet fizz like a caffeinated elixir spilled onto the ground in his name. The Spirits have evolved alongside us and enjoy many of our creations even more than we do. Libations are poured to my blood ancestors and to the tribe of men-who-love-men who have embraced me, their arms reaching up out of the Underworld to link me more strongly to their strength and the power within our unique cosmic current. I am reminded that I am a living ancestor, here for but a moment in a tag team game of progress, and I carry within myself a message of hope and transformation, an encoded sense of purpose. I will soon make medicines again; some disguised as curious art with the power to pierce the senses to affect the soul. Bubbly corporate concoction to Legba, Light Goddess, and others, their symbols flashing through my mind as the liquid seeps below the ground.
Being followers of Earth-based traditions, we know that natural law gives plenty of guidance. We need not forsake aspects of our current culture to create the world we envision; as with all energy (which cannot be created or destroyed) they need to be transformed. With the Sight, we can see products, media, branding, and other tools used to convince us that we’re no more than consumers for what they really are – Magick. We can use these same tools to remind each other of our inherent worth and of Spirit’s intention to unlock our unique gifts for the greater good.
Acts of honor and recognition of the backbone are the backbone and in strengthening the connection, we strengthen ourselves and our communities.
May songs spring up out of us at random moments of the day. May we tip our beers onto the pavement in the midst of Friday night revelry. May we stage mock break-ups with fear and embrace the place where our passions intersect with our fates. May we touch the hand of another and transmit acknowledgement of innate divinity and purpose. The revolution will be through acts of loving-kindness that reverberate like ripples across the fabric and come back to meet and affirm our own selves. Because belief is not enough. Neither is discussion. We must answer the call to act.
I take a sip of the Coca-Cola and feel myself a thread in the tapestry.
Location: New York, New York
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