plant-esp-performance

Use Your Illusion

From investigating the psychic potential of plants to dispensing ice cream and literature from their Tactical Ice Cream Unit, the California-based Center For Tactical Magic mixes art, social theory and magic(k) into their works. In the group’s view, magic is less about arcane lore, and more about seeing the world through a new lens, easily accessible to anyone and waiting to be tapped into. A CTM mission — part art project, part magical working, part psychological exercise — could happen anywhere people gather, from art galleries to universities or even a public square.

I spoke with Center co-founder, director of operations and eloquent spokesman Aaron Gach, and our conversation ranged from CTM operations and ideology through  magical thinking, summoning demons and different ways of understanding magic and the world.


How many people are in the group?

I’d say, for the core group, there’s something like 5-12 people that regularly work on projects, but on a whole, it’s totally project dependant. It’s  a collective identity where different people jump on-board for different projects, depending on their interests and the scale of the project.

Can you trace the group back to a definite start or was it more of a gradual coalescing?

We trace the start to 2000, and I can kind of say that, for the most part, it was a pretty humble start. It was myself and a friend of mine that were in conversation about ideas of power and how it manifests, either individually or communally or nationally or trans-nationally, and looking at modes of being that deal with power. We wanted to conduct interviews with people who had unique skill sets and look at how they related to issues of power. The first three people we wanted to interview were a magician, a ninja and a private investigator.

Those are interesting choices. How did the initial focus morph into the idea of the Center For Tactical Magic?

It fell apart pretty quickly, even though  we were able to get ahold of people who were willing to do the interview. In the case of the magician, he had to teach me concepts of magic in the process of explaining his ideas. That turned into an apprenticeship. The Private Investigator was a cagey fellow. He told me that he didn’t have time to do an interview as he was working on different jobs, but he needed an assistant. I think ideally, in his mind, someone he didn’t have to pay. So, he said if I helped him out he’d explain what he was doing as he was doing it. The ninja was a different story: he didn’t want to do an interview, but he was interested in what the interview questions would be. When I presented him with the questions, he said he felt that I could answer all of them myself if I trained with him, and that, through the training, it would all make sense.

That’s funny that the magician was so willing to share his secrets, as they’re portrayed as being so guarded.

It’s a funny world. On the one hand, you have the idea of the magician’s apprentice. On the other hand, you have the magician’s code, which says they’re not supposed to reveal anything. The commercial side of doing magic, in terms of tricks, is based on magic shops and magicians selling their secrets. It’s this situation where they say, “no, we can’t expose our secrets,” but if you walk into any magic shop, you can buy their secrets if you put up the money. There’s also this idea in magic that your initiation starts as soon as you ask, that taking that first step to find out. In that world, a lot of people welcome that.

So, these interviews helped you define a sort of mission statement?

Initially, these three interviews formed the basis for how we do a lot of our projects now, which is to say we look for different individuals to collaborate with that have different skill sets that approach the world in a different way. That’s become a really important part of just being engaged. We try to strategize around different ideas and figure out what it is they have to offer and how they understand the world. We’ve definitely pulled apart a lot of different cultural activity, not just the ninja, PI, magician. We’ve worked with hypnotists, lock smiths, aquatic biologists, cyclists, former members of The Black Panthers, the American Red Cross and a lot of different groups to figure out these different modes of activity. In the end, we’re not just looking at martial arts or magical arts, or contemporary fine arts or culinary arts, but really trying to look at the essence of creating and putting that creative energy out into the world.

My first introduction to the Center For Tactical Magic was through your regular columns in Arthur Magazine. How did you get involved?

Jay Babcock, the editor of Arthur, wrote an email to our website that said he had heard about what we were doing and wanted to send us a couple of back issues of the magazine so we could check it out. At that point I had heard of Arthur, but I had never looked through one before. That was a couple years ago. Jay invited us to do a short piece on magic which turned into an ongoing thing, and it’s been great! I think a lot of people find out about us through Arthur.

Up to that point how were people finding out about the Center?

The website gets a ton of activity. It’s interesting because the website is ambiguous as to how it’s set up. I think one of the small ways we measure success is that the website circulates in a lot of different areas of social and cultural activity. You have artists that are blogging about us, martial artists, people in the pagan community, people in stage magic all coming to the website. We can track it all through where people are linking to the site. There’s a lot of word of mouth, and a lot of action that comes through the site, where people are looking at it through different lenses and different aspects that they’re interested in when they come to the website.

You’re mixing so many things together with your projects that it seems like there’s a universal appeal, where anyone could take something from what you’re doing.

I think it goes both ways in that there’s also a universal repulsion. People see something they’re deeply interested in and feel it has been corrupted in that it’s attached to some other community as well as their own. Once in a while someone will make a remark like “I like the stage magic aspect of this project, but why is it connected to ghosts?”  They think that you can’t mix theatrical magic with the occult or vice versa. Sometimes you have people in the occult community arguing over whether something that we’ve done is even dealing with real concepts of magic.

Going back to Arthur for a second, the first issue I read had the Grant Morrison interview. In it he talked about chaos magic and other magical concepts and how they’ve put a spin on his reality. You’ve also mentioned the Pagan Community. Do you think that the Center’s ideas fall in line with these other two philosophies?

Some of them, certainly. When I first hit upon the idea for my initial project, I wasn’t geared towards occult and metaphysical ideas. It’s funny because I think part of it has to do with living in the Bay Area and having this immediate, dismissive tendency. Early on when I was speaking to the stage magician, he asked me what our plan was in doing these interviews. I gave him some arty answer about looking at the veils of illusion and how that manifests in society through politics and marketing. He said, ‘no, what’s your aim?’ I told him that it was about empowerment: how we can take these ideas and, throughout different communities, help people understand what their power is and how they can organize or understand what’s going on around them. He asked if I was looking at the right kind of magic. I thought maybe he meant we should be looking at mentalism or card tricks or something. He explained that he was talking about the occult, and that one of the reasons he studied stage magic was so he could determine what was real phenomena and what wasn’t when he was performing ritual magic. One of the really important things that came of that talk and of doing stuff with Arthur, which we built into the CTM ethos, is looking at what our dismissive tendencies are, and how we’re already set up to dismiss certain ways of being or information or types of knowledge before we’ve even experimented with them or learned about them. That’s true of a lot of the different worlds we mix in the CTM. A lot of people are dismissive of ideas in martial arts, for example, like the art of the ninja. That’s a topic that always gets a lot of wry smiles. Or people that are dismissive of magic. A lot of people will come up with an idea of magic they’re not fond of, like a goofy guy in a tuxedo pulling silks out of his sleeve, and they don’t say it in a fond or endearing way. I think that’s true of a lot of stuff in the occult and metaphysics.

How did you reconcile these ideas about magic and apply them to your own world-view?

Personally, what I found valuable was that a lot of the concepts the occult communities throughout history have explored are ideas of positive social transformation — how they can come together and realize a better world or a way of unifying their energy, potential or skills to act on the world in a positive way.

Based on my own limited readings on figures like Crowley, Carroll and Austin Osman Spare, it’s like they’re breaking down large, abstract concepts into something slightly more manageable, as if giving a name to something gives you more power over it.

That’s a part of it. Magic is one of these words where if you say it in front of an audience, everyone will have a different idea of it. Historically, magic is the term applied to these realms where things aren’t totally tangible, where people are trying to bend the rules a bit or explain something that’s going on in terms that aren’t easily grasped. I think it’s a way of categorizing something in order to manipulate it, and sometimes I think it’s a way of speaking to something that they’re not quite sure what it is, and it gets lumped into this realm of magic.

Let’s look at your name: the center (a group of people), tactical (meaning specific targets and strategies) and magic. What do you mean by magic?

Well, to back you up a step, if you look at the name, there’s a couple of different ways to even read it. As a center, we’re very de-centered, actually, which is the first illusion you come upon. It’s maybe more beneficial to look at center in the verb form. We’re advocating that one would center for tactical magic. In this case, it’s tactical rather than strategic. What we’re presenting to people is a set of tools. Hopefully they can look at the principles of those tools, dissect them and apply them to their own situation.

In your own work, how do you apply these magic(k)al ideas?

There’s an underlying principle that is applicable to most people that are trying to organize within their communities. In terms of magic, we’re dealing with both sides of the coin. We’re not just looking at tricks and illusions, we’re also interested in these occult or secret ideas or notions of metaphysics, that we can somehow tap into either latent energies or existing forces, or really look at how we recognize its relationships.One of the ways we break down magic is that this one word runs in multiple paths. It’s easy within our society to think that magic is something archaic, but it ripples from way back in history, all the way back to the present, and it pops up all over the place, both in illusion form and in its occult manifestations. One rooted way of thinking of it is if you think about what the initial art is, what some caveman in the back of a cave would have done. They would’ve started off with one abstract idea bouncing across their gray matter and trying to visualize some sort of imagery and then look at the materials around them and throw it up on the wall. That first generative, artistic process is also a sort of magical act, in that you’re trying to manifest your ideas in the world around you, or trying to play with the ideas already circulating and combining them in ways that are going to produce meaning and hopefully some physical effects as well.

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I think some of these magicians — Crowley, Spare, etc. — were using these terms to nail down things inside themselves. When they talked of channeling the demon Choronzon or whatever, nothing is really expected to manifest. That’s arguable, of course. Is the CTM similar — more of a “changing yourself to change the world” mentality?

I would say both are worth doing. Crowley is interesting, because in his writings there’s a lot of humour that’s often lost on some people. He’s being pragmatic as well as poetic. He’s wondering “how do you create a shift in perception” and “what does it mean to evoke a demon”, and how does that happen. To paraphrase something he’s famous for saying, if there’s already an existing force in the world that’s doing something, find a way to use it instead of summoning it out of nothing.

I’ve read the same thing, and in one of your own columns, you mentioned that Crowley wasn’t opposed to the blending of science and magic(k). One builds off the other.

Right. It’s this idea of putting art and science in cahoots with each other. It’s now this mode of making art. But, for Crowley, he was saying there there were these different ways of looking at and understanding the world. If you put them together, you have a new understanding of how to depict the world. I’ve run into people that follow his writings that don’t understand that Crowley, in regards to his rituals,  was often talking about becoming, in this way of becoming a sort of embodiment. When you did an invocation, you said a bunch of words, lit the right incense, made the right stances and then all of a sudden this entity was going to show up in front of you. When he was talking about embodiment, in the process of going through these physical acts, you were trying to embody the thing you were trying to invoke.


It sort of reminds me of John Whiteside Parsons, the brilliant scientist who was a founder of Jet Propulsion Labs and one of those who made NASA’s space program possible. At the same time, he was also an intense spiritual seeker.

When you get to a point where you can shift perception and bend your concept of what reality is and start looking around the world and seeing it in different ways, all of a sudden you’re open to a whole range of different possibilities. I can say that in these times, we live in a social system that structures our way of thinking from a very early age and reinforces that throughout our lives. I think that when people get comfortable thinking a particular way, they’re not seeing a range of possibilities. As soon as you’re willing to step outside of that, even momentarily, you can see that there’s another way to act or use something in a different situation. To give you an easy example, if you give a kid an orange, if they’re hungry, they’ll eat that orange. If they’re not hungry, they’ll use it as a toy: draw on it, bounce it, throw it, etc.  When  we get older, if we see an orange and we’re not hungry, we’ll ignore it. There’s no relationship to that item, it’s just a food item. The trick there is having the shift of recognizing that in this one material there’s a lot of potential. It’s through conditioning that you limit your understanding of that material.
With Jack Parsons, I think he began to see the world through a different angle and recognized that there were a lot of different possibilities. As a scientist, I think he really did start to wonder about the limits of possibility. He famously teamed up with Crowley and L.Ron Hubbard and tried to summon Babalon, the Scarlet Woman, to bring about the end of days situation. They became convinced that they really had summoned her and drove around LA until they found a woman who they thought was the Scarlet Woman and managed to convince her as well. That story runs really, really  deep. I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell you if Jack Parsons was off his rocker (laughs), but it’s interesting. You have Aleister Crowley on the one hand doing his thing and Jack Parsons running Jet Propulsion Labs.

That seems to be a bit of mythology there, building on myths and their power. Do you see the CTM as tapping into the same types of ideas and drawing power from them?

I think ‘myths’ is a good word but, at the same time, I think it’s more important to make those myths reality. When we source ourselves to the magician, private investigator and ninja, a lot of people come to that as a metaphorical or mythological structure, but the truth is that there was an effort made to work with these people that came out of thinking that there are these mythological ways of knowing. We could just say we tested those things but isn’t it more interesting to find out what they’re actually about?

I was going to ask before whether that was mythology or not, but it doesn’t really matter to me; I think the myth is more important than the reality.

I think what happens where mythology becomes more interesting  is that it’s based in a truth, it’s not entirely constructed. I’m sure the Greeks didn’t believe their gods and goddesses were myths, they really showed up to the acropolis or the oak grove convinced that there was power there. I think it’s important to be rooted into some of that stuff, but to also be malleable as to what you get out of it. A lot of the time, this stuff becomes weirder the more you become engaged with it. You can watch some ninja movies or whatever, but when you actually start getting involved, all of a sudden it gets way weirder than the movies make it out to be. When I first started training, almost everyone within the dojo had a military or law enforcement background. I didn’t expect that. It wasn’t that the martial art was imaginary or fiction, even more so it was that this martial art is real and is what the establishment is most interested in. And that’s when you start thinking that there’s really something going on, not in a conspiratorial way, just in terms of how these kinds of worlds unfold upon themselves.

When I first mentioned that I was doing this interview to some of my friends, they sort of scoffed. They found the whole thing to be sort of hokey, but if you look at the majority of the world’s power structures, from the Nazis to the current administration, they buy into these myths and symbols — they have a lot of power.

Absolutely. Within a lot of occult writing, one turn of phrase I throw around is “There’s a lot of shit used to fertilize the fruit.” There’s a ton of terrible occult writing and new age metaphysical writing, but within it there’s a lot of really interesting info and concepts. Some of it reads as completely hokey, but with some of it, it was written specifically to do that. If something is dismissed, it preserves itself; it doesn’t get thrown in the book burning pile and you don’t have to deal with persecution or secrets falling into the wrong hands. The word occult means secret. If you look at the history of thought and prejudice towards certain ideas, people couldn’t always write what they were thinking without fear of persecution. Within a lot of occult writing, you end up with a lot of terrible stuff,  but a lot of the core ideas and principles are great. We think we live in pretty disenchanted times and we think that the idea of a magic word or symbol is passe or fantasy, but if you take this cliche of a wizard mumbling some magic words to strike down a knight on the other end of a battlefield, there’s a contemporary corollary: that of an underground bunker where some guy with insignia and medallions on his uniform says his magic word, “fire.” A button is pressed and 100 miles away, the ground opens up and this giant missile shoots out of the ground and destroys some unseen battlefield. That relationship with the magic word is very rooted into language itself and we can look at the different layers of symbolism there.

Speaking of symbols, there’s also a lot of power in the symbols that corporations pick to represent and sell their products, which you’ve discussed in one of your columns.

A corporate logo is created with the intention of influencing you whether you know it or not. It’s not sci-fi mind control, but they’re trying to build up a conditioned association so that when you see that logo, your responses are already dictated: they want you to be hungry or thirsty.

As a writer, my choice of words can strike a tone, either subliminal or outright.

Absolutely. I think a lot of readers aren’t necessarily aware of that. That’s the challenge of writing: having the right choices that affect the reader the way you want.

You mentioned our disenchanted times. One of your articles talks about the overuse of words with a lot of embedded meaning for mundane purposes, for example, the “power” in power drinks.  It might seem like these words have lost some of their meaning, but I don’t think these people in power look at it the same way.

I think people in power also have an understanding that when they tie themselves to different symbols and associations, one of the mechanisms where they gain power in that moment, for people who want to attack and criticize them, it’s seen as attacking everything that they’ve connected themselves to. If George Bush says that the reason we’re in Iraq is because Jesus told him so, which he has, if people attack him for saying so, he has a huge amount of support from other Christian Fundamentalists who feel it’s themselves that are attacked, not George Bush. It’s definitely about power of association or attaching yourself to a bigger power structure.

In another column, you talk about wishful thinking vs. magical thinking. It seemed like you were attaching a negative connotation to wishful thinking, whereas magical thinking was more of a tool.

Well, like I said with the example of the child with the orange, that’s an example of magical thinking, which is looking at the world around you and trying to figure out how to use it differently. Wishful thinking is synonymous with wanting things to be different but not acting. That’s the difference. One is about acting and one is about standing by and hoping things get better.


You also talk about enacting political change by hexing members of congress, regardless of whether or not those people believe in such things. Whatever action is there is pretty subtle. How does that fall into the category of magical thinking?

Hex is a really good example. I’m glad you brought this up, because it’s an example that gets blogged about in funny ways. There’s one hex project we did in particular where we made these institutional sticker hexes. It was based on a much older form of hexing that gets written about in relation to the Middle Ages, but probably dates back much earlier. During feudal times the peasant class had no real representation or say in what was happening on the lands of the feudal lord. If things were going bad, there was no way to go to the lord and say, “conditions are shitty, you need to do something”. In most cases conditions were what they were and people dealt with it as they could. The revolt wasn’t a common practice. The peasant class had to find a way to get the ear of the lord and since they couldn’t address him directly, one of the ways they’d do it was through the hex. They’d make a diagrammatical drawing, a magical drawing, and write the lord’s family name in the center of the hex and attach these pieces of parchment to the property of the feudal lord, maybe to the saddle of a horse, inside the house, under a dinner plate, whatever. It wasn’t so much for the feudal lord to find but for the servants, other peasants. They would discover these hexes and because they were superstitious, either legitimately or not, they could refuse to work, based on the fear of being cursed. They would demand something be done in order to remove the curse so they could be protected. It was a way of creating spiritual resistance, almost like a labour strike, but through the modes of creating these symbols. The feudal lord might think ‘what’s going on with these superstitious peasants’, and the servants would tell them that they had been cursed for whatever reason, whether the peasants were working in the fields too much or the crops were going to fail. The the lord would have to rectify the situation. The contemporary version of the curse was a way of looking at superstition as one of these latent energies.

How did you expect this energy to manifest?

There’s a difference between doing a curse where you expect the symbols and words of the curse to actually invoke a demon vs. setting up a curse, knowing that a superstitious person is going to change their behaviour for fear of what the curse may bring. The curses that we made and distributed were similar to the ones from the feudal period, but they were done as stickers, so you could slap it somewhere on a product or in an office, or send it to a politician with an explanation of what that particular curse was designed to do. Within that psychological structure, hopefully you’re influencing the way people think about their own activities.

ticu-kids

I understand you experienced a bit of a negative backlash based on this project.

Yeah, there was one blog in particular that felt that it was black magic. It was a pagan blog, connected to Wicca. They liked a lot of what we were doing, but felt that this was a line that had been drawn for them. It opened into an interesting debate as to the difference between white and black magic. Without going too far into it, how you define black or white magic depends on which part of the pagan community you come from. For our purposes, we said that we don’t abide by binaries or false dichotomies, but if you were to look at this in the context of different definitions of black or white magic, white magic is performed for the purposes of benefiting others, while black magic is intended to hurt others. We said that in this situation, our project is targeting non-person entities like corporations or institutions, and clearly not individuals. The emphasis of the project was to target these non-person identities that were producing material effects that are hurting people through their corporate practices, laws or the way that they do business.

In your opinion, what is the largest magic trick played on society that people might not even consider magic ?

I’d say the greatest trick is definitely structuring people’s thinking in a way that causes them to dismiss different areas of knowledge or types of activity before they’ve engaged in them. And I think this falls into the equation all the time. That isn’t to say that you have to kill someone to know that it’s bad, but I think a lot of the time people look at something and see that it’s different and find an aspect that can be easily ridiculed and they don’t look past that initial level. If you look at the things you hold onto or are interested in, you can always find ridiculous aspects. You can can find ignorant people that advocate for the subjects you’re interested in. But, what maintains your interest in those things aren’t the ridiculous people or aspects, it’s the smart people who are talking about it or doing it, and it’s the subject matter. Something about it appeals to you, because you’ve invested the time and energy to figure out what it is and what it can do for you.

Let’s get back to the CTM’s  activities. In a lot of your projects, you look at taking back public space, for instance with the Tactical Ice Cream Unit, which operated in public. Do you feel a lot of kinship with public art groups?

Sure, and also non-public art groups and people trying to do interesting things in public space. This idea of public space is an illusion, and a lot of times, when you try to do interesting things in public space, you’ll realize how quickly the authorities are there to tell you that you can’t do it there. Even when it’s not invasive, destructive or breaking any laws, a lot of public space is privatized by corporations that own the plaza or by the city, which is different than public property owned by the city. All of a sudden, when you try to do something besides shopping or going to work in that space, oftentimes you’ll encounter an authority figure. I’m not talking about really crazy activities, I’m talking about something as simple as playing a game or trying to set-up a stand to ask questions in a public space.

In an interview, you stated that you want your projects to be acknowledged by your target audience (i.e – the public), yet you wanted to maintain a veneer of invisibility so that you can blend in. Is this along the lines of the subliminal aspect of magic?

It really depends on the context of the  project. Some are more visible and other projects are more invisible. One of the problems that some public artists may not think through is that they can create a division in their own minds between themselves and the public, and then they have this attitude that they’re going to do this art project in a public space, and then they have expectations of what the public is within that project and how they’re going to act. That’s a lot of assumptions. I think one of the differences in the way we set up our projects is that the public plays many roles, but one of the roles they play is that of participant.  You can set up a spectacle where the public sits back and watches, and you can create that division between stage and audience, or you can come up with strategies to engage the public where people are actually becoming active in whatever it is you’re doing.

You talk about engaging the public and you obviously try to push the boundaries of what’s possible in public space. Is it more of a political thing or more about engaging the audience?

Both and more. People tend to compartmentalize themselves and I think society tends to compartmentalize people, in that we constantly rush off from enclosure to enclosure, from our houses or apartments to a classroom or office or store or whatever. Public space, especially in an urban environment, tends to be less of a gathering place and more of a transitional space. I think there’s real opportunity to think about how to use that space differently or what it’s useful for, or how do we expand social contact within that space. Working in public space becomes political once you realize that there are forces that will actively resist any sort of creative occupation of public space. Even if you didn’t set out to be in a political struggle, you’ll find that being active in public space becomes a political act. There’s no two ways around it. It’s probably one of the gateway activities towards activism, on some levels.

Do you get many negative responses from people while in the field?

Occasionally, but surprisingly few. Initially, I thought that the Tactical Ice Cream Unit would get more negative responses, at various points, depending on who we ran into and what their ideological views were. We started that project in the Midwest, in Kansas City, and we did a small loop of the so-called red states. That’s probably one of the projects that has the most potential to draw negativity, because we’re distributing free ice-cream, but also propaganda from different community groups on a whole slew of different topics and issues. That project has been tremendously popular and successful, even among people that don’t necessarily agree with the majority of the information that’s being distributed out of it. On the whole, I’d say we see negativity more on the internet, in terms of how people blog about projects, rather than in public space. That may have to do with people not wanting to confront you. It’s possible that people prefer to walk away and not say anything. But, on a whole, even people at different ideological ends who come up with questions often find something that they’re excited about with the project, and I think that there’s a way to talk to people without being confrontational and that leaves room for discussion. There have been a number of times where people have come over probably wanting a confrontation, but leave a pretty amicable situation.

What separates a potential CTM project from one that doesn’t fit the group’s ethos? What kind of elements do you try to include in a project?

Good question. There’s definitely a lot of projects that don’t end up on the website for different reasons. Sometimes it’s work that’s hard to explain in the context of a website, for example assisting another group in coming up with a strategy for approaching an issue they’re working on, and the results aren’t so visually sexy. You’re left in a situation where you think that it was a great thing to do, but how do you even write about the experience or talk about what the work was? Sometimes the work is relational and there’s no direct result you can point to. We decide what projects to do in a lot of different ways.

How are projects usually initiated?

Usually, either someone invites us to do a project somewhere, saying they’re organizing this or we have a space here, can you do something, or someone within our group says we need to address something. A lot of times people will email us about an idea they have for a project asking if we can help them, or asking how it can be done. Sometimes people will say that they have this thing, and can we use it for something. Our answers to these questions are usually yes.When deciding on projects there’s always a discussion about what kind of effect we want to produce, and it usually doesn’t have any clear answers. We also try to figure out if it’s useful to people — if they can take something away from it, some aspect that they can apply to their own lives in their own context. A big quality we look for is if the project is going to be fun or whether we’ll get bogged down and feel it’s not worthwhile.

You name-check a lot of your influences: Houdini, The Yippies, The Situationists. Do you feel like you’re carrying the torch, in spirit, perhaps?

I certainly hope so. I hope that we’re part of something larger, in the sense of looking at other groups that are active and people that have come before and hopefully those that will come after. I think we see ourselves as part of a larger continuum in that respect. I think in terms of how we’re trying to introduce ideas, we’re looking for different ways to bring ideas into the equation. If we can set up ways in which people re-calibrate what it is they know and how they know it, and open themselves up to thinking in different ways, that becomes liberating. Within the history of magic, maybe that’s what gets termed “The Great Work” — working towards “The Great Transformation”, which is this kind of social, utopic, very magic(k)al idea of creating positive social transformation.

-Kevin Nelson


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