Friday, September 30, 2011


There's a full interview with Grant Morrison now on Comic Book Grrrl.

Morrison is, of course, a practicing Chaos magician:

"[T]he idea of magic is actually really simple and down to earth --- it's all just about enchanting the world you live in ...

It's about not just taking that [lamp] as something boring to be ignored, but looking at that light and seeing a manufacturer behind it. There are human hands in there, there are atoms that go back and probably appeared in Christ's body, all the way back into the Big Bang.

This is this immense magical process that we're all caught up in, and magic is about being aware of that constantly, making everything special."

I love the correlates between ritual magic and puja; both are an elaboration of the sacred in which we make an offering and receive gifts.

Both Yoga and puja are the practice of one's entwinement with the sacred.

The ritual elements with which I think many of us are familiar, at least in Ashtanga Vinyasa, are the establishment of intention (sankalpa) and the 'application' onto our bodies (nyasa) of that intention, or the archetype that represents that intention (ista devata).

For those who are curious, there are a few more ritual elements in an Ashtanga Vinaysa practice: the summoning or invocation (avahana), fulfilled partly by our opening chant or invocation.

We create a boundary (avarna) or container into which we summon our intention or archetype (ista devata); quite literally, this may be the length/breadth of our sticky mats, or as Richard Freeman once described it, our own "dharma kshetre, kuru kshetre," quoting the opening lines of the Bhagavad Gita and comparing our sticky mats to the "field of dharma" and the "field of the Kurus" (dharma kshetre; kuru kshetre) onto which the drama of the Gita plays out.

Then begins the rhythmic pulsation of the ujjayi breathing as the breath-movement of the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice begins. This heat (tapasya) turns our insides into a blazing fire onto which we heap ... what? That which is inessential, perhaps.

I quite often simply dedicate each breath to my own archetype or intention.

The practice of intention, invocation, and boundary-setting can create a profound and intense inner experience (antaryaga).

The ritual practice ends with the closing chant, which signals the end of the practice, the ritual, as well as the dismissal (visarjana) of the archetype or intention that we established at the beginning.

With visarjana, perhaps we have inhaled/exhaled the sacred such that we now in turn see this archetype or intention everywhere we look: "Everywhere looking, is God!" as Pattabhi Jois used to say. "You look at wall, not seeing wall --- seeing God!"

To paraphrase "Arthur Avalon" (Sir John Woodroffe), it's not that we have shrunk the sacred to fit --- it's that we have stretched our minds to more fully encompass the sacred.

We have, as Grant Morrison suggests, "enchanted" the world in which we live. We've made "everything special."