When Dan invited me to do a Residence Series, I remembered that I have had this intention to explore the more explicitly ritual / magick / shamanic side of my practice in a “performance” context. This feels like a great opportunity to explore this in what feels like a pretty safe space, in a small venue, with people that I feel pretty comfortable with.
I will present a series of improvised ritual workings utilising sound as the most prominent medium. My ritual practice has felt a lot more fun, creative and open-ended since I started doing more improvised work. I usually have a clear intent to explore a particular kind of experience and allow things to manifest. Often I use a pre-existing form—a God, Spirit, Archetype—to explore this ‘particular kind of experience’. I use the technique of ‘possession’ by these entities to explore ‘extranormal’ aspects of myself. I also try to remain agnostic about everything. I find the ‘possessed by a spirit’ model a useful tool for framing my experience—and for creating the possibility of an experience—but that certainly doesn’t mean that I believe in the objective reality of said spirit. I do, however, believe that entering such a belief system can facilitate having interesting experiences that one might not have access to in a different belief system. Make of that what you will!
I have never done this with other people around. The extra energy might make things more intense, or I might feel too self-conscious to experience deep trance (and just stand there feeling silly), or it might feel really intense for me, but look and sound really boring to the audience. I feel terrified by the idea of this project; this feels like a good reason to proceed.
Day 1. Invocation of the Serpent Spirit—a pretty common entity in many religious/spiritual traditions. Also (at least in the west) associated with Left Hand Path traditions.
Day 2. Invocation of Choronzon—a ‘demon’ that features prominently in Thelema (Aleister Crowley’s religion). I have taken great inspiration from Demitria Monde Thraam’s writing on Choronzon as well as Tibetan Chöd ritual. Briefly, I often think of Choronzon as a personification of the process of realizing the illusory nature of Ego as part of the path of Awakening (Enlightenment). The experience can feel hard, but one should accept it with love.
Day 3. Invocation of the Spirit of Plastic—Taking Animism seriously, but in the industrialised world. If Oak and Bear have a spirit, surely by now so does Plastic. I have done some work with Plastic before and it has felt intense and very weird. They queer ideas of ‘purity’ and ‘nature’; they embrace hybridity, change and toxicity.
Day 4. Invocation of Unknown Entity—High Dada Magick. Ritual with unknown effect. Last time I performed a rite along these lines I realised that I might have just created time. Or gravity. Or love. Or genocide. Along with a rewriting of history and my memory and that I might never know the effects of this ritual. Or perhaps it altered the flap of one butterfly’s wing... All of the experiential aspects of ritual magick with none of that messy outcome. A deconstruction of the idea of magick as bringing about intentional change in the world. Hail Eris!
Order of Events
People can arrive from 7pm and hang out in the garden.
I will do some pre-ritual meditation and scene setting alone in the space. At 7:30pm someone will show you in to the space. Please remain quiet throughout the ritual. Also, please don’t clap (even at ‘the end’), clapping often feels strange to me—almost like a banishing ritual, dissolving any effect that a performance might have—and in this instance it especially doesn’t make sense to me because these performances will function more like ritual than art; the audience functions more to ‘bear witness’ than to ‘enjoy’. At the end of the ritual I will probably stay inside to do some grounding or meditation. I imagine that socialising might feel a bit weird for me straight after. Please head outside and feel free to chat with other folx, shake all the weird off, etc.
What to Expect
Because of the improvised nature of my ritual work, and because I haven’t ever done this with other people, I honestly don’t know. But based on previous work I have done (in the comfort of my own home / temple), you might expect some chanting, weird singing, possibly some ‘Sage-not-seeming-like-herself’ weirdness, time- dilation, disorientation and general strangeness. Also, I can’t honestly say how any of you will react individually to whatever “manifests”. Perhaps you will find it frightening, confronting, exciting, life-affirming, triggering, boring, silly... I have to ask that you “take responsibility” for your own experience (as much as that makes sense).
A sense of humour, an openness to new experiences, a willingness to ‘hold the space’, a healthy scepticism (optionally put aside for the duration of the performance, but embraced afterwards).
released May 10, 2017
Sage Pbbbt (experimental vocals)
Recorded 27th February to 2nd March, 2017
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Dan O'Connor.