Familiar Shapes at the Museum by Heather Freeman
But I’m also using my time here as an ad-hoc artist residency. While I love working on narrative films, it’s very different creative process than when I make prints or drawings.
It was a stroke of good luck for me that my visit happened to overlap with the Museum’s 2018 Annual Conference Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic. While all the panels were really quite fantastic, and my brain is still buzzing from the great information presented, I particularly enjoyed Judith Hewitt’s “in-between” talks, which built up a fascinating picture of Cecil Williamson’s interest in the work (and person) of Aleister Crowley. I won’t try to summarise, but I’m sorry I never met him. But it got me thinking about the Golden Dawn, Crowley, and what these ritual magic structures can offer to any creative practice (and if anything, witchcraft is a deeply creative practice.)
Inspired by the dynamic of Aleister Crowley’s influence on witches and magicians from various traditions and vantages, I’ve started a series of small watercolors and drawings based on Crowley’s Liber CLXXXV: Liber Astarte vel Liber Berylli – On uniting oneself to a Deity.
First, an Imprecation, as of a slave unto his Lord.
Second, an Oath, as of a vassal to his Liege.
Third, a Memorial, as of a child to his Parent.
Fourth, an Orison, as of a Priest unto his God.
Fifth, a Colloquy, as of a Brother with his Brother.
Sixth, a Conjuration, as to a Friend with his Friend.
Seventh, a Madrigal, as of a Lover to his Mistress.
Starting with the Imprecation on the first day, I focused my attention on that particular alignment to a deity (the Goddess of the Moon for this first set.) Each day, I work through the set so that each drawing is the result of a particular method of alignment. Next, I’ll go through this cycle for another seven days, aligning to The Horned God. Before each drawing, I write about this alignment (usually prose poetry, sometimes more prosy, sometimes more poesie) before I begin the drawing as an automatic action.