The unlearning process


Beginning about four years ago, it became obvious that I needed to re-enchant the world, and I meant that literally, not metaphorically. I knew in my gut the reality of magic and that a world which denies its existence is one I don’t want to live in. Although I didn’t–and still don’t–know exactly what this will entail, I felt intuitively that this would not only bridge the rift that had grown in my own psyche, but would be an act of service. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant–I can assure you, dear reader, that I have no idea what I have to contribute at this point. I just know I have to do the work. I have to get Other-wise.

This blog is the story of how I am trying to unlearn the mental and cultural conditioning that has shaped me over the last three decades. Of course, unlearning is really just learning a new way, learning otherwise. Before I started college, I was an artist. I was passionate. I was frequently inspired. During my first year at college I suddenly noticed the well of inspiration had run dry. Technically, I can still draw, but I no longer had that compulsive need or ability to tap into something larger than myself. In part, this is because I have branched out to other arts and crafts, including writing, and with so many irons in the fire no one of them gets all the juice. But a bigger problem is that in college I resigned myself to being “realistic,” while at the same time I had to intensely cultivate analytical reasoning at the expense of intuition and other modes of processing. It was the biggest in a long series of resignations that started in childhood, grew unchecked as I did the things a good adult is supposed to do, and ultimately left me alienated from myself. My life circumstances have gloriously aligned in such a way that I can actually devote time and energy to this, and write about it.

There are a lot of excellent blogs on magic, the occult, broadly-pagan religions, and what Chris Knowles calls “reality-based high weirdness.” The one thing I’d like to see more of is learners’ stories. I like reading about people’s experiences and how they were personally affected, the mistakes they made and how they grew. To paraphrase Gordon White (I can’t remember the specific post where he said it, alas), I am looking for blogs that share rather than teach. It seems to me that many writers in what we may broadly term the online occult community are unwilling to share their experiences lest they appear anything less than expert. Also, there is an incredible amount of backbiting in minority communities that tend to be persecuted by mainstream ideologues. Too many people have set themselves up as authenticity police, and nobody wants to be on the business end of the billy club.

Of course it’s also hard to write about things which, by their very nature, transcend language. And some things are too personal to share. The fourth pillar of the old adage is To Keep Silent, and there is wisdom both practical and esoteric in it.

But I think sharing personal stories helps others find and stay on their path. Not because of the nature of the experiences per se, but just because of knowing you’re not alone. So I guess that’s what I’m going to do here. It’s uncomfortable for many reasons, which is why I think it needs to be done. To be honest, I don’t know what I am bringing to the table that’s different from all the other blogs, and a big part of me is screaming at me to just keep my journaling about this stuff to myself, as I have always done. But a voice has been nagging at me to start this blog for a year now, getting louder and louder, so I’m going to obey it and see what happens.

You’ll notice that many of my posts begin with questions. That reflects my feeling that a questioning approach is the best one. To paraphrase Socrates, the only thing I know is how much I don’t know. You don’t need answers from me; after all I’m just like you, figuring it out as I go. But you might like to have some new questions. Maybe you’ll find some here?