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Randolph's Methods

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Randolph's Methods (was: Re: Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor)
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 19:43:21 GMT

Gnome d Plume wrote:
> catherine yronwode  wrote:
> >
> > [...] i have no trouble with "kitchen witchcraft" -- and do not see
> > its adjuncts (menstrual blood, urine, sexual fluids) as a 
> > "gimmick," but as an essential element. In fact, my prejudices turn 
> > in the opposite direction -- calling the mixture of semen and 
> > vaginal fluid a "fluid condenser" as Bardon did or an "elixer" or 
> > "amrita" as the alchemically- and Hindu-influenced Crowley did 
> > seems sort of high-fallutin' and prissy to me. But then, i'm just 
> > an old dirt-hippie.
> Wait a minute! Randolph apparently invented the terms "fluid
> condenser", "volts" and  other psuedo-scientific jargon to make his
> system appear sophisticated. Crowley simply borrowed classical,
> medieval and eastern terminology as it suited him.****

Sure, but that was kinda my point -- if you are working with a woman's
menstrual blood or a man's semen, why not just SAY SO? Randolph was
trying to be "sophisticated," but he is pretty easy to read, anyway. 

By the way, one doesn't need to be hob-nobing with the upper crust to
attempt such "sophistication" of terminology: Some of my favourite
examples of "sophisticated" delicacy appear in Harry M. Hyatt's 1930s
interviews with 1600 African-American root-workers. The number of
nice-sounding euphemisms for urine that they come up with in that book
is astounding. 

And i have a whole web page on the so-called "Girdle of Isis" -- an
ancient Egyptian amulet that few archaeologists can bring themselves to
name either in Egyptian (because the Egyptian word is "tit") or by
direct translation (because it's "the menstrual pad of Isis"). A real
dillemma for the "sophisticated," that one!  
> ****It gets goofy and flakey at both ends of the spectrum. I find
> Crowley's practical "magick" to be pretentious, convoluted and 
> frankly dull--although I enjoy his poetry and his philosophical 
> writings (up to a point). 

Me too, but i actually have the most fun with his writings searching for
textual evidence of his racism, sexism, drug addiction, and impotence.
I'd like to write a parody of the way the supermarket tabloids would
have handled his life. 

> An expensive library does not a magician make -- but
> conversely, some fry-brained loser getting stoned and rubbing crushed
> spider guts in his armpits is not going to get it done either. 

ROFLMAO! And as far as i'm concerned, Crowley crucifying that frog ain't
far behind on the ol' laugh-o-meter. 

> To me Magick is an art form, and I judge it, cross-culturally, on 
> that standard. If kitchen witchcraft (or African Ju-ju) is done with 
> style, grace,  inspirational elegance, and cultural integrity then 
> I'll respect it, and perhaps even learn from it ---but if not, I have
> little use for it.  

Fair enough. I think that to appreciate the style and grace of folk
magic generally, you first need to understand the cultural integrity
whereby spell-craft inheres to its parent society -- and that requires
that you become a participant-observer anthropologist, in a sense,
rather than a book-buyer who decides that, say, Sicilian Stregheria is
going to be the "flavour of the month" and, conveniently, Llewellyn has
just published a book about it.  

> I think a difference between you and me might be
> that some of my students (customers if you insist) are actually
> smarter and better educated than I am. In your case, if they are
> smarter and better educated than you are (and we both know that you
> are quite intelligent and well-educated) I suspect they're probably
> slumming.*****

Wow. That's harsh. I certainly do NOT agree. 

Sure, both of us are smart and well-educated, and some of my sustomers
are country folks from Georgia who never went to college, but i also
have customers who are doctors, lawyers, business executives, and the
like -- certainly not people who are out "slumming" -- and, whether you
like it our not (or, more likely, whether you KNOW about it or not),
they continue to work traditional forms of hoodoo magic, especially for
love and monetary success and to keep off enemies. They do this because
the knowledge was passed along in their families and the work is
concsidered efficacious. 

The persistence of traditional folk magic is often viewed in a racist
way ("Those people just won't give up their superstitions, no matter how
much money we give to the United Negro College Fund") or as an excuse to
engage in socio-economic disparagement of "immigrants" ("Those people
are so  'Old Country' that they put a lemon over their door -- and look
at the way they dress!). But as multiculturalism becomes the dominant
paradigm in American society, more people are coming to see traditional
magic -- along with traditional cooking and traditional holidays -- as
precious examples of the indomitable spirit  that imbues each culture
with its own distinctive character. 

> > > But the DNA in the fluid condenser on an  old Randolphian
> > > magick mirror was a good thought (End of semen....!)****
> >
> > Hehehe. That was a good'n.
> >
> > Seriously, though, using such a fluid consender in a ritual of
> > necromantic invocation was what i had in mind. Don't you agree 
> > that it would be fabulous to call forth the spirit of Randolph? 
> > *He'd* at least see the humour in it, mediumistic Spiritualist  
> > that he was!
> >
> You should re-read Lovecraft's *The Case of Charles Dexter Ward*,
> then look up the actual operation in *The Grimorie of Armadel*.

You crack me up, Poke! That's a good'n too!  

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

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