Wednesday, June 29, 2016

St. Peter: Lord of the Key, Lord of the Gate



“Oh Holy St. Peter, Lord of the Key, Lord of the Gate, The Stone of Wisdom; Grant me the key and open the door. Follow me on the Dragon’s Road. So mote it be. Amen!”
Photo: Statue of the Horned Saint Peter made by Troy Chambers of Wolf & Goat and draped with my Crossroads Rosary and other tokens of spirit, used in my private practice.
Text: Excerpt from 'A Call to the Powers of the Crossroad' by Nicholaj De Mattos Frisvold, and published in Craft of the Untamed.

"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” -Matthew 16:18

Another June finds me staring at the feet of Peter, another year at the intersection of myself with myself. I freely admit- this Saint irritates me. He is a journey with promises, failures, and authority, and he reflects my own stubbornness and self-righteousness back to me to wrestle into acceptance and transformation. My witchcraft is not protestant-informed like the general-inherited cultures of England and North America that coat most modern expressions of the Craft. My witchcraft has always existed in the Catholic world, a world of miracles and devils, Saints and blood.* And here, here is where Peter emerges for me, not as the orthodox first Pope, but as man, devil and Saint. 

Here the Lord of the Crossroad comes forth, this Horned Saint Peter, the stang of the witch pounded into the crossroads of every moment, walking upright on serpent feet. Here is choice and necessity, desire and repulsion; somewhere between the in breath and the out breath there is a power of observation that both includes and excludes our spirit – the Rock of Faith and the Devil of the Crossroads both. What clothes the man in miracle? Is the proximity to the Christ all that is needed? For many, yes. But I am attracted to two human qualities that bring this Lord of the Key and Gate closer to my heart: stubbornness and betrayal. On this twain rock, an intersection of baser qualities, the Church is built. At this crossroads, a witch can find familiar ground. 

Look down the roads our key qualities lead- a Dragon waits there, every moment heaven or hell. Stubbornness or perseverance depends on outcome, how we wrestle with the Dragon, how we meet the Devil at the Crossroads. 

Claims of authority and direct lineal descent are important for the plays of politic and power, but for the mystic? For the witch? It is in this hard-headed Saint, whose epithet Petras is felt by many scholars to be as much a humorous pun as anything – Simon Peter the man was, if nothing, rock-headed. Devotion to the ideal of himself, the man he wanted to be: always true, always steady. This devotion to a projected mirage tumbles quickly for our Saint – and when put to the test, he fails. He cannot predict this, for he is masked in clothes of self-deceit, he believes himself to be other than what he is, serving the false-idol of himself rather than the reality of his being. He serves the upright cross, and this illusion is shattered in the face of threat. 

Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night,
before the cock crows, three times will you will deny Me.” - Matthew 26:34

It is in the small betrayals, not the treason planned and strategized, but in the tiny broken promises of our failed resolve that we find sympathy with Peter. Well-intentioned promises that when put to the test fail, even beyond our wish to keep them. What makes us fail? Were we wrong about ourselves? What we desired? If we hold the straw-man of our idealized self to the flame, will it survive? The cock crows either way. 

We strive to keep our word. (There’s a word of the Word pun somewhere in there…) But when we fail, do we become failure instead? How do we react to this failure? Do we now transform from false promises to failure? Peter provides hope. It seems if we remain open, the opportunity to take the test even deeper comes. Its not in just keeping word, its in how we handle the small failures, the weakness of the flesh and our concupiscence. 

Deny three times, and remain open. Remorse lays a road for transformation if allowed, and Peter fills this with his answer to the Resurrected Jesus’ “Peter, do you love me?”– to which Peter responds “Yes.” Three times Jesus asks our Saint this question. Is it a way of making up for the three denials? The burden of the herald of dawn? Is all forgiven? It seems true forgiveness is not in forgetting, but in remembering our failures, and building upon them. A humility won through pride's fall- and here Peter takes the averse cross. So is it the Cross of Denial? Denial as a first step, perhaps, but it is the self-deception of pride, and the Fall that will come that shakes us, calls us back to ourselves (if we remain open- "Let those with ears, hear!"). Here we too take up the averse Cross. This is the Rock upon which we shall build our Church. Take flight, then, witches! The Lord of the Key and Gate will follow us down the road of our Becoming.

My friend and Brother-in-Arte many times over, Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, has written a rite entitled “A Call to the Powers of the Crossroad”, which has appeared in The Cauldron Brazil and in his Craft of the Untamed, published through Mandrake of Oxford. I offer it here as a meditation on the Role of our Saint in the Witches’ Arsenal- for many journeys start here with our Saint. May he follow us all in our wanderings, silent witness to the Freedom of the Witch…



A Call to the Powers of the Crossroad 
(published here with the author’s permission)

He stands at the crossroad, with horn and stang, awaiting the toll of the bell and the foot of those sworn to the exile that ends in the grave and tears. By many names he has been called and to retain the mask we shall refer to him as Dev or he who carries the horns. The horns of Selene, the horns of juxtaposition, the horns of one and the other, the horns that mark transition - the sanctity of murder and rebellion. 

He is the glory of the Light and the path of the ascending power. Be no fool as you seek to take the power, in the blink of an eye, the power that turns, turns. Towards and against, like the tide, amongst his own. Simple is the power. And for this purpose this ritual is presented as a diminutive beacon illuminating the points of the crossroad, a breach in the texture of night, a whisper amongst the forgotten legions. 

So take thy candle, be it red, black or green and place upon thy shrine the icon of the Devil. Take the garland of roses and number thy prayers seven and seventy for the perfection of the prophets. 

Know that black holds the riddle of night, red the riddle of blood and green the riddle of land. 

And for the beads, take wood, pearl or bone. Pilgrim, walk across the ladder and stray not on thy journey. For a lovelorn stranger falls into the siren's embrace and seduction and misery will be the crossroad's gift. With secure step and thy hand fast, thy heart should be fast and secure on the path of faith. So, in front of the candle pray as follows: 
Intercessor at the Crossroad of the Earth
Lover of the Toad-faced obsessors in the gardens of Night
Lord of the many cities of Exile
Master of the Horse and Stang
Oath-taker, oath-breaker
Master of opportunity
The hand that turns the wheel
Instigator of the screams heard through the adamantine desert of our all aloneness
Flaming Lord of Earth and Forge
You who art iron and gold
You who art Devil and Saint
Meet us at the crossroad of rebellion
Meet us at the port of besiegement
Hand down the key to the tower of our enemies’ destruction
And lend they tongue to the sweetness of Fortune
We call thee from the heart of the True Cross
As the children of Exile
Thy brood and bane be upon our brow
Lend us thy helping hand as we search the secrets of murder
Help us in the pursuit of understanding
Help us as you unleash the Secret Powers
Against our oppressors, strike hard
Against our oppressing fall, strike hard
May my heart be cleansed by thy fire
Strike me without mercy
Leave only the pure soul back to walk the serene path of the Master
And if I have been found wanting in my demand
May the curse set aflame all corners of my life
Until cunning descends
For the sake of my soul there is no thing or no one
I will not forswear
For the pursuit of wisdom there is no path I will leave un-tread
For you holds the key to the kingdoms of high and low
You are the man robed in gold and night at the ladders of Light
You are the naked youth at the Ladders of Hell
You are the height and depth and the point between
Father, Saint, Devil and Master
Such is our petition
So mote it be, now and forever more
From height to depth, from dextral to sinister
We call upon thee to meet us in the Crossroad of Power
Take now thy rose garland in thy hand and solemnly pray by each step taken:
Oh Holy St. Peter, Lord of the Key, Lord of the Gate, The Stone of Wisdom
Grant me the key and open the door. Follow me on the Dragon’ Road.
So mote it be. Amen
By the 77th prayer said to the praise of the crossroad you will kiss the cross and say:
Father, Saint, Devil and Master
From the True Cross
May Our prayers be heard
To the True Cross
All Powers will descend
For such is my petition
And such is my prayer
As good St, Peter is my fellow journeyman
Amen.
______

* I’ve written less about my own journey with witchcraft on this blog, and largely because I am uncertain the audience for it. I am not interested in defending the Catholic worldview of the Iberian and Pyrenean traditional crafts I adore at the cost of actual discussion. Perhaps such is the cost in finding dialog. Perhaps there are commonalities that lead to a fellow heretic's embrace of Power that can inspire further discussions. It is still an uphill battle for non-Anglo traditions of Traditional Witchcraft, and if the revisionist and fantastic histories propagated by the more mainstream expressions of witchcraft are allowed to go unchecked, then they will successfully colonize the rest of witchcraft through ignorance, even if well intended. There seem to be a fair amount of people that wish to defend their fantasies at the cost of known context and history. There are many beautiful genuine expressions of witchcraft, many not found in books as of yet (especially in English), and many that are far different from the ideals and public manifestations of modern neo-Pagan movements (themselves inheritors of British/ American protestant egalitarian ethic and notions of 'right belief'). If nothing else, perhaps Peter, Stubborn Saint of Perseverance and Lord of the Sabbat, Protector of the Devout and Heretic alike, is as good a place to start as anywhere. To Heaven or Hell, the Gates are open... 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Happy Muddy Rivers of Divine Blood: La persona, unida, jamás será vencida...



It's an interesting dilemma. To different people, I'm different things. I am MANY things, so this of course makes sense. But I am still always ME. It is doubly confusing when to the same person I am, for instance, 'Mexican' when it pleases them; yet if it proves a different point, I am 'white' when it pleases them. It is here where I happily bear the mudblood pejoratives of the children of the New World. I am mestizo. I am half blooded. I am a proud child of miscegenation, born of the love of my amazing parents.

Mixed race. Mixed raízes.

Rene Hugo Arceo, 2001 'Mestizo'
It is interesting when I am not Chicano enough for Chicanos and Mexicans, or hear 'since when are you not fully white?' questions when my 'passing white' skin confuses people when they find out I have as much indigenous and Spanish blood as I do British and Scottish. I have a strange privilege that spans spectrums of race, highlighted by my light skin and polyglot cultural experience. And I would not change any of my inheritances for anything.  Glory and honor to all the Dead. I will not forsake one part of me for another, even if others demand it. We can be the medicine for our blood in that way. We are who we are, always.

I am a child of many cultures, ethnicities and more. Mudbloods unite. Children of the New World, we have multiple inheritances. And my ancestors are beautiful and strong, cross oceans and continents. What may have been war in the past gives way to a unification in me. I do not mean this as an over-simplification of race, ethnicity or politic. I do however joyously celebrate that I am a happy "muddy" river of divine blood. Fight for the happy flowing of all, for the ocean refuses no river.* Let me be a whole inheritance of thousands, a river flowing steadily to the ocean of these times.

Two important things, to be clear. Firstly, there is systematic oppression and presumption based on skin color. I would be a fool to disregard the privilege of my light skin. But I will not allow anyone to erase the many bloods I have inside me, those cultural bonds I have to both sides of my ancestry, just because it is convenient for them, their politics, or they can't fathom that some of us are more than one thing. Not just ancestrally, but in our present bodies and identities. Secondly, blood does not make culture. I identify as half-chicano because of the family, food, music, religion and upbringing I had. Not because DNA 'proves' it.

Judging someone's native cultural fluency based on presumptive cultural access through skin color? It gets tricky. Light-skinned privilege is a thing. Telling me I shouldn't identify as Mexican-American, or European-American based on my skin or genes... hmmm. Ni modo.

That I, as a light skinned half-breed (although Mexicans like most 'hispanics' are not considered a 'race' and let's not talk about which bubble to fill in on a census), have spent most of my life perfectly at home in both LA Mexican/ Chicano culture with all our food, music, religious expressions- AND the Euro-descended traditions of my father's family with all the "Americanisms"? This is my life. 

May the Dead of Mexico be strong and honored. May the Dead of Spain be strong and honored. May the blood of the First Nations be strong and honored. May the blood of the England be strong and honored. May the blood of Scotland be strong and honored. May the blood of Ireland be strong and honored. May all the bloods that made me, expressed and unexpressed in the rivers of my veins, be strong and honored. Back to the first blood and the first bones. All my relations.

La persona, unida, jamás será vencida... **


____________


* 'An ocean refuses no river' is a line from a Sheila Chandra song: 'Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean'. While I imagine this triptych to be about a lover, in writing this, in remembering in this line, it has expanded, and it seems that self-love, self-acceptance of our myriad mudblood selves, is paramount.

** 
The person, united, will never be defeated, with apologies to Quilapayún. Commonly you hear 'El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido' or 'la raza unida, nunca jamás vencida' or some approximation.  


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Masks of Breath and Song

A replica of the Mexica (Aztec) 'Ages of Man' mask, hanging swathed in orange silk within my ancestor shrine. 

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
- verse from the Catholic Requiem Mass, traditionally used in prayers and rosaries for the Dead


My ancestors are more than just my blood. More than the markers DNA classifications can reveal. It is in the breath of my mother singing to me, the breath of her mother singing to her. It is in the way I make mole, learning from my dead grandmother in dreams. It is in the tears that streamed down my face when I saw a landscape of a certain terrain and then find out years later a distant 4x grandparent lived there. It is twice what DNA tells me and more. And while my ancestors may have been something- a specific culture, a specific bloodline- I am something different. I am their inheritance. All. Of. Them.


Genetics is wonderful, but it is not the whole story. It is not ancestry. I have my grandmother's nose. My father's eyes. My grandfather's hair. My great grandmother's 'don'. My grandmother's temper. My great grandmother's penmanship. But my DNA only reflects half of the story. 1 out of 3 ancestors is British. 1 out of 4 is Spanish. 1 out of 5 is Native American. 1 out of 9 is Irish. 1 out of 20 is Greek. And yet, I have my father's eyes. My grandfather's hair. My great grandmother's 'don'. But genetically, half the story is missing. I have ancestors I inherited 'nothing' from by DNA terms. Yet, I am still the inheritance of all of them. All. Of. Them.



I celebrate them, I celebrate my blood. All those souls and breaths and loves that made me. I will not turn ancestor against ancestor. Their battles were their own, and they are united in me. I will be the antidote to whatever ailed them. I will be the medicine that heals. I celebrate the breath that connects every human to each other, the same breath flowing through each of us since the dawn of time. We are the masks of breath and song, animated by blood and desire, and always more than the sum of our parts.



Flowers descend to earth, Life Giver sends them... 

What do our hearts want on this earth? Heart pleasure.

Life Giver, let us borrow your flowers, those golden flowers, these wailing flowers.
No one can enjoy them forever, for we must depart...
O friends, to a good place we've come to live, come in springtime!
In that place a very brief moment, so brief is life!

- Selected excerpts from Nezahualcoyotl, the Mexica Poet-King (from Cantares Mexicanos, No. 82)


My familial boveda, circa 2006, while I was living in Williamsburg. Embedded in the bookshelves that filled my room, it was a focal point of my work with my Dead for many years. When I moved, it changed, grew and evolved to fit the space I now have. But for 8 years, it was a strong foundation for me- it grew from a small shelf to a cornerstone of my bedroom. 
The living room wall, with pictures of the Dead from both sides. Some dead I knew in life, others are only known through stories and photographs, but I see my family-and myself-in them. I hear whispers, celebrate deaths and birthdays- I am amazed at the guidance, support and stubbornness of the blood. Tenacity amongst progeny. I am thankful my family kept  so many photos- it makes their stories and their presence more anchored, in spite of my forgetful out-of-sight, out-of-mind nature.
My Egun Shrine, or Lucumí Shrine for the Dead. The daily regular of food and drink and such are cleared out on a regular basis, there are always flowers and candles and water present. The shrine always reflects the multiple inheritances of my ancestry, both by blood and through ritual kinship. I offer copal smoke and prayer daily. Maferefun Egun.

I pause for breath and reflection here. It has been a hard month. But I am thankful for my parents, my family, my loved ones. Light to the shadows of my blood, of my mind, and of my body. Light to those dead and spirits that walk with me, for a short time or for lifetimes. I will close with one of my favorite songs for Egun, the collective force of the Dead as they are referred to in Lucumí.  

This is a Yoruba song for the Dead, popular in many permutations in Cuban Orisha tradition. These lyrics were published in George Brandon's 'Santería from Africa to the New World' and perhaps offer an 'original' lyric to a song passed down orally, changed by dialect and time, but not without reverence. Most popularly you now hear "Aumba wa ori" or "La umba wa ori"- this melody haunts me.  It remains one of my favorite songs in the Religion, no matter how the words are said. It is through offerings we commune, it is through prayer we exchange breath, it is through this relationship with the Dead, we gain their wisdom: the citizens of heaven sell memories. 


A nwa wa ori.
A nwa wa ori.
Awa o sun, awa o ma.
Awa o ma ye ya o
Ara orun ta iye.

We are searching for him, we can't see him.
We are searching for him, we can't see him.
We do not sleep, we do not know.
We do not know where he went to, we are only left with a shadow.
The people of heaven sell memories.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Monk Medicine and the Shackles of Myth and Certainty

A photocopy of the ledger of Richard Franklin Hathaway,
containing twelve herbal 'essence formulas' that fascinated me as a child. 

My grandfather died when I was six. I am the youngest son of the youngest of his six children, so I barely knew grandpa the way some of my older cousins did. He was a quiet man, a man devoted to a certain way of life-he drove sixty miles each way in his Woodie (which went through 11 engines and had over a million miles on it) to the Temescal, our larger cattle ranch almost every day of his adult life. My grandmother after his death turned their four-and-a-half acre ‘home ranch’ into a museum, still open to this day. My grandparents property was magical- in addition to the history of the place, the ability to shut out the outside industrial world of Santa Fe Springs and be on a farm that was very much still like it was in the 1940s and 50s- deeply instills a sense of nostalgia for a time period long before my own, a longing and sense of history shared by much of my family. We have more than a healthy dose of nostalgia built into us. We are remarkably both self-referential and self-reverential, to boot.

The passport photo of Jesse & Lola Hathaway and
their three sons, taken for their tour of Europe.
Richard F. Hathaway, my paternal grandfather,
stands back center. 
We have many stories, like most families. In part due to the mystique surrounding one specific topic, and partially due to my own calling towards herbal medicine, some of the most fascinating to me were those stories of an herbal medicine prepared by my grandfather which was called by the family, Monk Medicine. I had heard many stories about it as a child- from its fabled reception to its healing powers all verified by every member of my dad’s generation.

The story is simple, although everyone tells a slightly different version. My family went on a European tour, my grandfather was a teenager at the time. Traveling north out of Italy and into the Alps, my great grandmother fell and injured herself. Enter monk. (There was always a Saint Bernard in my head as a child in this story as well). Monk applies medicine, giving her a small vial. She heals very well. Return home to Southern California and the daily life on the ranch.

My grandfather then becomes fascinated with the Monk Medicine (as it was deemed). He started writing the driver they had used, who tried helping him track down the holy men and get the recipes. I do not know where the recipes we have came from specifically- perhaps we will never know, but there are twelve ‘essence’ recipes in his Lab Ledger, alongside chemical notation for cattle feed supplements and insecticide formulae, notes on how to perform chlorine analysis and how to determine fertilizer components.

Each of the essence recipes has anywhere from four to fifteen herbs in it, all tinctured in 95% pure alcohol. There are no markings as to which is the singular “Monk Medicine” that was used throughout my father’s childhood and up until my grandfather’s death. The formulas have names like “Danzig”, “Carmelite”, “Benedictine”, “Breslau”, “Life Essence”, etc. What herbs my grandfather couldn’t get, he grew.

My father relates its effectiveness with two scars on his body. One you can only see a slight hairline- which was a cut down to the bone he said, and monk medicine was applied. The other scar, highly visible, was one from a wound half as deep but stitched up by a doctor. 



When I was a young teen an starting to look into western traditions of magic, it was really easy to project upon my grandfather this mystical man, further made all the more enigmatic by my not knowing him well. My memory was limited to videos and photographs, stories of him and the embedded time capsule that was the Museum. He was obviously an herbalist. An alchemist practicing the ‘hermetic arts’ (a term he himself *did use*). When my father shared the copy he made of my grandfather’s ledger, the notebook where he kept all his formulas, it was not unlike a family Book of Shadows. I was enthralled.



The 'Big House' my great-grandparents built on the Home Ranch
in Santa Fe Springs, now part of the Hathaway Ranch Museum.
 It took me some time to realize how much of a disservice this did to the man who *did* do all this- my projections and fantasies limited him to my own agenda. And understanding the actual context of the Ledger and of my grandfather made the reality of Monk Medicine even more fulfilling. The more I learned about him, the more fascinating he actually became. Here was a man who was decidedly un-religious. His father instilled in him an extreme distrust of religion. He was born into a family business that he worked in until the day he died- he was born and died on the same property. He didn’t need to be a secret herbalist, the Ledger didn’t need to be anything other than what it was to be of value. It had no prayers, but it had his diligent effort all in it. He corresponded for years to many different people, religious orders, seed traders, herb importers- not to mention his continuing study of lab chemistry to care for the day-to-day of the ranch, tending to the cattle, horses, and crops… When Monk Medicine is put in that context, it opened my eyes to how important the Ledger was as a whole.


When I look at the current publication of ‘Black Books’ and the resurgence of popularity in texts like ‘Long Lost Friend’- I see many peers disappointed by these tomes of folk magic. Disappointment is the miscarriage of expectation, so one might wonder what they were expecting. Certainly my own experience is one possibility.  These Black Books are notebooks, with udder cream recipes and bullet blessings and tick remedies, a smattering of Christo-conjure and pragmatic herbalism. Not manuals for demon raising, certainly, although a demon’s name may be used (as might an angels or a saints, of course) if it brings power to a shotgun or protects an axle. 

We have lost so much of our connection to life with our practice of magic that we often forget the whole purpose of ‘magic’ to begin with- to live. Often magic becomes only about ritual, or ‘expanding consciousness’, fantastical escape through pastoral nostalgia and sense of taboo and other. 

It is a different thing to talk about agricultural praxis as metaphor when its ONLY metaphor for you, in a carpeted room picking up a tool you've only ever used "or the more noble and glorious purpose of". Swords and demons are much sexier than milking the cattle, walking the dog, and mopping the floor. Yet when does a ritual begin? It is easy to ignore (or be ignorant of) the way we are standing or talking to people until the scripted line is supposed to be uttered. What of the time in between? When does a ritual begin? It is in the allotted time, or in the preparation, or in the forethought, or in the inspiration- or, possibly, is there some quality that flows throughout all this, and more? Perhaps, if we are lucky, we can find a more stirring everyday thing to do that takes it out of ritual action/metaphor alone, which then also allows for the expansion of any activity to be an intentional expression. 

It is as much in the tick remedies, the cattle supplements, the stomach bitters, the hair tonics- here is the magic of daily living. Caring for your family as best you know how. Making sure you have the antidote to what challenges your loved ones and livelihood as best you can. Being prepared for whatever life throws at you. Being part of a purpose, whether collective or individual. 

The Ledger still kicks my ass. It is how I’ve heavily communed with my grandfather in the last decade, reading his handwriting and exploring the essence formulas- and I still make myself read the notes on fertilizer, on de-worming formulas- I 'see' him writing it down, making sure he had the arsenal of his lab on his side, to be prepared for anything the world threw at him.  The myth I've made of him. Different from the myth I wanted as a witchy teen, but.. 

Always, the reader changes what they read. (And the post-modern NYU thought comes forth...) So I project upon grandpa, upon the ledger itself- how does this change him? how does this change my relationship to him? what things am I ignoring because they don’t fit my agenda or pique my interest? How often do I do this to the living, not just the dead? What am I ignoring because I need something else from someone I'm talking to? What stereotypes, archetypes and myths have I frozen in time to allow quick judgement, but now are bound by the shackles of my own shorthand?

Necromantic nostalgia, post-mortem pragmatism. The Ledger brings many things for me, and this has proven even as fruitful as any study of the essence formulas proper- for me, 'Monk Medicine' necessarily includes this reflection. The herbs mix with those time-ghosts of memory, all swirling around in the Everclear. Shatter the myth, observe the myth, shatter the myth, observe the myth. Solve et coagula. A private alchemy, but an alchemy all the same. In letting go of what I wanted him to be, he taught me more than I ever could have hoped. Thanks for this, Grandpa. 



Friday, January 29, 2016

Ponderings on 'Lessons in Time Travel: Intersections with the Star Man'

Photo of graffiti by the remains of the memorial outside David Bowie's SoHo apartment
by Troy Chambers, originally published on Eris Magazine
Ponderings on 'Lessons in Time Travel: Intersections with the Star Man', an article by Katelan Foisy featuring Troy Chambers, on Eris Magazine's website (go read the article. read it. go!):

There is a teetering point between honor and worship, and both are possible with any loved or despised figure. "Do not seek the holy man, seek what he sought" is a route toward honor; the map is not the territory (with apologies to  Korzybski and Baudrillard).
Katelan Foisy and Troy Chambers' exploration of Bowie evokes this sense of honor- to delve into the mysteries, to explore the intersections that then become possibilities/wombs of something deeper only when we recognize them, these rifts in time and space and mind where subjective and objective blur into each other. 
Katelan, citing William S. Burroughs, "describes an... intersection... [as] a piece of writing, art, sound, or music that reminds you of something you or someone else has created and amplifies it.This interplay between memory and experience can lead to a depth of presence, and the surface mimicry of the same (forcibly creating moments, creating opportunities) can still lead to more presence- I find this fascinating. That even the aping of this depth-practice can provide the same opportunities (not that it *will*, but it *can*). That our memories and emotions are necessarily interlinked- we of course create memory by engaging in it- the more times we remember something, it is proposed, we actually increase the disparity between the first experience and the recall of it. For we add all of our intersections together, bringing impressions of every moment that reminds us of the first moment, those moments we were forced to recall it, and those subtler scents of our daily goings-on while remembering. What a messy, wonderful thing this is, this 'memory'.
Link this to music, that soundtrack both by chance and choice we impose upon our experience; "I was listening to this song when....", vs. "I played this song", as the passive and active tag-team our awareness. MacLuhan enters the field here, for the pondering of all electronic media as abstractions becomes imperative to examine what is then possible. 
For Troy, who has had a lifelong fascination and appreciation with/for Bowie, it is interesting watching the parsing of the moment. If Bowie's characters, his masques, until now are all fallen (as Troy describes), it is most interesting to see the Black Star on the ascendant, considering what stars are still to rise, slouching towards new Bethlehems... 
Much to think about. And the two of them are always so beautiful.
Today abstraction is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror, or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: A hypperreal. The territory no longer preceeds the map, nor does it survive it. It is never the less the map that proceeds the territory - precession of simulacra- that engenders the territory. -Baudrillard, 1994, Simulacra and Simulation
Where are we now?/ Where are we now?/ The moment you know/ You know, you know - David Bowie, 'Where are we now?' from The Next Day