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  Not Psychic TV
Magick Posted by Peter Grey on April 24, 2001 @ 04:18 AM
from the current-transmission dept.

What is it that makes Magickians appear on TV?

That's the question left hanging in the air after England’s BBC2 regaled us with ceremonial magickians making the sacred appear mundane.

TV is a visual form, and there are going to be two outcomes, they bang on lots of effects a la Dennis Wheatley, or you get like a bunch of flakes waving their arms around.

This latest documentary chose the latter approach. Internal working doesn’t really convey on a flat screen and any Magickian worth their salt, sulphur or mercury should have worked that out.


The main group the documentary focused on were nerds dressed in bad jumpers. To compound matters they had a new initiate stumbling through the GHR repeating the lines like a scared bride on camera, and quite obviously twitchy as a cat with the ritual. Whatever was happening in ritual terms didn’t show up. What were they thinking? Are documentary makers wielding kirilian cameras? Is the experience of gnosis really going to be conveyed? Is initiation good TV?

You could feel the producer's delight when they discovered one of the group was undergoing gender re-alignment surgery, had done a runner, and subsequently been dragged back to the group by the employment of a goetic spook. Aha! it must be the severely troubled who resort to fiddling about with magick -– and the severely dim who don’t realise how lame this looks to the passive telly audience raised on Buffy where a few words and a bit of hand holding bring on the pyrotechnics.

In addition Mogg Morgan of Mandrake hosted a dinner party filled with pontificating windbags and showed the kind of conversation that a middle class dinner party would have about the ‘black arts’. This ‘give them enough rope and they’ll hang themselves’ technique works beautifully with a bit of work in the editing suite.

Rodney Orpheus to his credit did a fine job, and talked sense realising that other forms of magick, such as rock and roll, are far more effective ways of interfacing with the media and public than po-faced western ceremonial shennanigans. This is where the lesson lies.

The Media generally uses three angles on Magick.

One is the Doreen Valiente, the slightly sneering ‘she used to be secretary’ approach. With this, you highlight the mundane aspects of the practitioner whether that’s bad housing, lack of education or sartorial elegance. The message is that magick is for the slightly batty and largely about self delusion. Straight documentaries will favour this message, and very often this is the case.

Two is the ‘some magic is harmless’ angle. So astrologers, fantasy novelists, healers, crystal workers and a million publicity hungry white witches with improbable surnames selling their velour spell books on daytime TV are OK. If you want to get this kind of coverage, get a product, dress in white and stress what a harmless bunny you are.

Three is the Genesis P Orridge / Gerald Suster / AC / Tim Leary approach. This is an attack on Magickians using moral outrage to sell product. The press stress that these are evil black mages boiling cats, cursing and partaking of lewd sex acts simultaneously. Very often this is the case.

So why do Magickians appear on TV?

Stupidity and Ego is one explanation, and Modern magick is stuffed to the gills with the self-important, the deluded and the pointless.

Another reason is an attempt to ‘out’ Magick and turn it from a secret art to an acceptable lifestyle choice. The smiling ‘Hey, we don’t really sacrifice kids’ does get a little complicated by the fact that, to the profane, lots of what we do looks very wrong, if not down right satanic.

The unconscious often wears terrifying masks. Ra Hoor Khuit is not a fluffy bunny, the lessons of Karma learned from Maat are hardly tranquil and nature is red and tooth and claw. Magick is about the uncomfortable whole (that includes the bunnies). Magick is a terrorist threat to concensus reality.

You can guess how this would get made into mass media can’t you? All of you still waiting for a sympathetic film on Crowley please take note.

So, we have Marilyn Manson to take over the showmanship of dead La Vey with cartoon Satanism for popular consumption. We have wicca pushing for more TV and Magick is feeling the need to be a brand behind the unicursal hexagram and the dove from above.

I favour the Ra Hoor Khuit approach to the media of, ‘lurk, withdraw, upon them’. If you want to manipulate the media, putting on the funny hats and inviting them into the circle is not the way. Apply your Art.

Good Magick is sexy, dramatic and powerful, but the lesson from the idiot box, is that this has not been learned by the bells and smells crew.The model of the Hashishin is far more use to the technologically adept than the cudgel of religion. If you are drawn to it then takeover the media rather than be passively controlled by their magick.

We can do far far better than this.



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  • The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them.


    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Mark Shekoyan on Tuesday April 24, @01:10PM
    Peter, Excellent article.

    I think Hakim's Bey's notion of the Information War and the Occult Assault on Institutions fits well here.

    Bey would have Magicians "Hexing" the media from places of secrecy to warp its messages to liberatory ends. He sees the media space as a warring domain of contested ontology. In more direct terms, there is a fight on for how we define reality, and how we can be in the world. The central battleground for that fight is the info/media space.

    I think anyone who is a good reality hacker: An Indie Film maker with a potent message, a innovative and provacatory novelist, can do a better job at Magic than someone who comes out and says, "Hey look, I'm a magician, accept me, blah, blah, blah..."

    As our good friend and master strategist Sun Tzu said: "Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy, A Thousand Victories." Its seems some of those out to "out themselves" as Magicians could use a little education in the Art of War. There's an information war on, and the shape of reality is at stake.


    Love Is The Law, Love Under Will,

    Mark

    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Anthony on Wednesday April 25, @03:11AM
    Totally agreed.
    The "channeling" of Babalon was unwatchably embarrasing, and since when does one need to invoke a goddess to learn the obvious. It looked like VI Form Shakespeare.

    And as a totally gratutitous insult, the guy using VIII degree techniques to improve his sexual charisma... well if that's the result he should lock himself in a room 24/7 and do nothing else.

    I am concerned about that black guy obviously going through a genuine ordeal of sorts and obviously without the necessary guidance to get through it. Well "let go" is the right thing to say I suppose but... hope he's ok.

    Was lovely to see the rituals performed as dead as church liturgy. They were too "gee whiz" about the results.. and why hasn't he embraced the delicious dread of "rising through the abyss".... etc etc etc.

    Yeah that rock guy chap was ok but his band sounded awful in the main, like Xian rock. I'd sooner have Manson over that any time.

    I hated the way they patronised AC as a rebel who never grew up kind of... which negates the whole point of Do What Thou Wilt.. everywhere implicit was the view that you're young, you have your kicks, you settle down to the mediocre prescribed insect life... terrible programme, they didn't know zip.

    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Aaron Wolfrom on Wednesday April 25, @10:30AM
    This was a very good article that illustrates one of the biggest problems there is today. Namely the media.



    It seems though that a very important point is missed. In order to become part of the media it is neccessary to internalize the structures of concensus reality. That is why the media only has three angles on Magick. And it also why Magickians appear on TV, because the media wants to put the terminally stupid up for public view. The blame for this trend is, I would say 50/50 human greed/corporate (the people who own the media) greed.

    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Anthony on Wednesday April 25, @01:55PM
    That witchy blonde woman was a babe though.. the one who didn't practice magick but liked tarot.
    One flash of her eyes has more magickal power than the rest could ever hope to attain in several thousand lifetimes.

    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Xnoubis on Wednesday April 25, @02:08PM
    I received an email message from the BBC a few months back, asking if they could post a request for participants in a documentary about occult lifestyles. Being the (mostly) unrepentant Anglophile that I am, I immediately gushed back, "Yes! YES!!" But I never heard from them again. Probably whoever wrote to me discovered that they had already found enough participants.

    I would suppose that this was the same event reviewed in this article. Just as well they never posted. I probably would have attempted to jockey myself onto the screen, and have justly become the object of derision, as I attempted to market my guaranteed "Beast Bay(tm) method of total realization through threaded web discussions or your money back!"

    • Re: Not Psychic TV
      by Mordecai on Thursday April 26, @09:19PM
      Yes, imagine how you would have gushed to them about Crowley :-)


    Re: Not Psychic TV
    by Anthony on Thursday April 26, @01:25AM
    I think they should make another programme, these people, an introduction to the cultural phenomenon of rock'n'roll, and base it around Freddy And The Dreamers.

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