SPIRITUAL SOAP: Weird & Güd - The Powerful Unseen
Will you choose it or will it choose you?
Before we were The Black Sheep, we were a newsletter named Spiritual Soap. Please enjoy this article from our history!
I enjoy research too much and I’m a shameless critic. Weird & Güd is the conjoining of those misanthropic qualities into something useful: recommendations and fascinations neatly packaged together for you every week, membership in a secret hermetic order not required (though strongly encouraged).
Conversation Between the Moon and a Star, Paul Rumsey
I come to you bearing a crucial question—where have all the occultist secret societies gone? Being that they are secret, they may still be thriving without our knowing, but in the age of oversharing, truly secret societies seem to be a lost pastime.
My favorite flavor of secret orders is the hermetic variety. What better way to drive home the point that you want nothing to do with society at large than to make a secret one that only welcomes people who don’t welcome other people.
If we’re talking about hermetic secret societies there’s no missing the famed (by secret society standards) Golden Dawn. Started by 3 freemasons during 1887 in London, this was no country club. All your favorite historical hermits became card-carrying members at some point, from Bram Stoker to William Butler Yeats, who even published a pamphlet during the order’s fracturing forlornly titled Is the Order […] to Remain a Magical Order?
Like all societies, secret or not, the Golden Dawn eventually experienced a downfall as damned Aleister Crowley got all the occultist golden stars from one of the founders, Samuel Liddell Mathers. The Golden Dawn had three levels of seniority members could pass through and here was Crowley zipping through the first order into the second and demanding his Adeptus Minor 5=6 certificate when he was but a Zelator 1=10 just moments ago. Don’t you just hate Portal Grade skippers?
By Peca Dōbutsu
Even during the study of astral travel, alchemy, and the Hermetic Qabalah, favorites are played and riots are had. Some members tried to have the last remaining founder expelled but ultimately Mathers remained and even opened a few Golden Dawn temples in the United States. Most temples officially closed in the 1930s, but one temple in New Zealand (somehow fitting) kept occult-ing until 1978 when the last hermit finally went home.
While some biters have revived the order and there are a bunch of offshoots now with 501(c)non-profit status and .com homepages, I ask yet again that ever more crucial question—where have all the occultist secret societies gone?
A protest you will only find in nations just non-crap enough to let you say they are.
Yesterday I watched an esteemed (not by me) writer argue that the US is as bad or worse for impoverished black people as Cuba. I could recount the horror stories I’m barely 2 degrees of separation from, but you can find that more impassioned version here. There are many things wrong with the US, but I’ve yet to hear of anyone who’s died trying to escape it.
There’s no country on earth without its flaws—some just have flaws that are more fatal. You know, like unelected authoritarian dictators.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the 1%. No, not 1% of the 1% as westerners define it, but the 1% of the world’s population. We don’t measure ourselves against the world’s population often because it’s almost impossible for us to truly understand the disparity between our lives and most of the world’s.
What do we know about famine? What do we know about living in a war zone? What do we know about dying from illnesses long eradicated in our own countries? What do we know about our family members disappearing and having nowhere to turn for help because the help is who made them disappear to begin with and even speaking about their disappearance could lead to ours?
Of course, everyone can point to such tragedies that have happened in a developed nation. The reason they can be picked out as such is exactly because they are anomalies. Our anomalies are the norm for most of the world.
Let’s do a quick perspective check.
Roughly 801,000 children below 5 years old die from diarrhea every year. That’s an estimate of 2,200 children dying every day (CDC). In the US, 3,320 children have died of diarrhea across a span of 7 years (NCBI).
3.1 million children died of starvation in 2016 (UNICEF). Deaths due to starvation in the United States are so few that there is no tracking done.
As averaged from 2002-2012, the median annual household income in the US was $43,585. Worldwide the average annual income was $9,733 (Gallup).
I’m not going to tell you what to think; I’ve lived only a fraction of life in one of the world’s wealthiest countries—I don’t know much. Instead, I’m interested in how you think.
It’s easy to lose perspective in life. I was scared after I moved away from my home city—truly scared and near crying one night because the fear of change felt like a visceral threat. I have good friends that helped me gain perspective—I had food, I had shelter, I was physically safe, I had social support. I was completely fine though I felt painfully vulnerable. There was no tiger in front of me, yet my heart raced like I was a hunter’s target.
By Gerhard Richter
I started this section with the writer’s comment on Cuba because it perfectly exemplifies the seduction of a warped perspective. We often see what we want instead of reality; we see fantasy where there is failure, danger where there is uncertainty, or evil where there is complexity.
Sometimes we lose perspective and it hurts us, but sometimes we lose perspective and it hurts others. Do you have food available right now? Do you have shelter? Do you have a friend or family to call if you need help?
Make sure the comfort of your life hasn’t seduced your brain into inventing phantom tigers to fight. Never choose to suffer more than you must.
By Alex Strohl
I hope this makes your week a little weirder and a little güder. Now go forth, be weird, and above all, be güd.
I sit alone at a desk biting my nails to bring you every edition of Spiritual Soap. Is it worth it? Don’t tell me, show me.