"Behind the veil of all the hieratic and mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the shadows and the strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of the old temples, and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvelous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the strange emblems of our old books of alchemy, in the ceremonies at reception practiced by all mysterious societies, traces are found of a doctrine which is everywhere the same, and everywhere carefully concealed. Occult philosophy seems to have been the nurse or god-mother of all intellectual forces, the key of all divine obscurities, and the absolute queen of society in those ages when it was reserved exclusively for the education of priests and of kings. It reigned in Persia with the magi, who at length perished, as perish all masters of the world, because they abused their power..."
"Actually, art and magic are pretty much synonymous. I would imagine that this all goes back to the phenomenon of representation, when, in our primordial past, some genius or other actually flirted upon the winning formula of “This means that.” Whether “this” was a voice or “that” was a mark upon a dry wall or “that” was a guttural sound, it was that moment of representation. That actually transformed us from what we were into what we would be. It gave us the possibility, all of a sudden, of language. And when you have language, you can describe pictorially or verbally the strange and mystifying world that you see around you, and it’s probably not long before you also realize that, hey, you can just make stuff up. The central art of enchantment is weaving a web of words around somebody. And we would’ve noticed very early on that the words we are listening to alter our consciousness, and using the way they can transform it, take it to places we’ve never dreamed of, places that don’t exist."
“In Mexico City they somehow wandered into an exhibition of paintings by the beautiful Spanish exile Remedios Varo: in the central painting of a triptych, titled “Bordando el Manto Terrestre,” were a number of frail girls with heart-shaped faces, huge eyes, spun-gold hair, prisoners in the top room of a circular tower, embroidering a kind of tapestry which spilled out the slit windows and into a void, seeking hopelessly to fill the void: for all the other buildings and creatures, all the waves, ships and forests of the earth were contained in the tapestry, and the tapestry was the world."
Remedios, I told you that I am making you a spell against [the evil eye]. There it is. Last night I had a fever of 38, auto-suggestion perhaps—I do not feel well enough to go out—Come to see me if you can? Can both of you come to drink your tequila? … Leonora.
- Alleged Note from Leonora Carrington to Remedios Varo written on a drawing - found here.
Alan Moore, described as "the greatest graphic novel writer in history" - and, a self-professed magician - has been constellating on the web in recent weeks, beginning with the Mysterious Universe article: Artists Manipulate Minds Using Powerful Magic. Well, that's an attention grabber for sure, but, In the article, Lee Arnold is, for the most part, referring to graphic art; pulling examples from the advertising world, and the slick shlock found on television. But, then, the ways and means by which we're manipulated via the televised world is a given; it goes without saying. In reference to magic however, advertising and commercial iconography is the lowest common denominator - the bottom feeder - of the creative spectrum. It represents mere tricks of the trade, a practiced sleight of hand, and not the workings of the "Magus."
But, it got me to thinking about art and magic, and, although Moore was elucidating specifically on the written word - he is, after all, a writer - my thoughts turned to line and form... as they would, in my perennial investigation of a form language.