Neither Either Or ∴ Haunt Manual
”The Poisoned Pharmakeus”
The full chapter reading with an audiomantic score:
I am haunted.
I find myself in a static stasis, reverberating in place. Like the Tower Card, it's as if I’m always exploding foundations and rebuilding in a constant loop.I often compare myself to the Dharma Bum, a beat-ific idea of anarchic freedom, snickering at the rubble and ash beneath, never tied to what came before. But the thing is, I am haunted. I am haunted by extremes - whether it‘s being an aloof instigator of a creative community, or a dogma-less routine-driven magician. I have never given proper communion to this ghost, this tether to all things pragmatic and artistic, this innate contradiction within all that I do.
I would balk and run from memory, and find myself arrested as to where and how to move forward with nothing truly gained. In hindsight, it’s an old tale about doomed repetition. But I know this ghost simply yearns to be both, or something different altogether. How do I commune with this specter of self? How do I find the “third mind” of energetic revelation between the opposites I find myself forever wrestling.How do I, as a spontaneous creative, become a stable magician? Is it possible?
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The past few months I caught a whiff of being in front of the oncoming Tower. I can see the revolutions of self before me, whether it be behaviors and actions, or environmental interactions. Where will I be next year? Will anything be resolved? Will I continue to churn and burn through habitual sabotage and struggle? Perhaps it is time to finally consort the elements that birthed my contradictory ghost.
My habitual process during these times of existential stress finds myself lamenting on all that I need to rid or exorcise. I find myself hitting black mesas and shallow plateaus looking and looking outward, and I get disgruntled and bungled even more so. But I aim to go about this differently this time: I need to remember and invoke/evoke why I’ve created servitors such as Dakota Slim, Pragmagick, and We The Hallowed. It is time to investigate the inspirations and machinations that have brought me my muse. And it has occurred to me that this same ghost, the one howling underneath, has been both my poison and antidote all along.
Welcome to an ongoing series entitled Haunt Manual that is both an audiocast and column on wethehallowed.org, with the full chapter on substack. In this fluid, multi-media grimoire I will document my ongoing praxis to commune with my contradictory ghost, to rediscover and reveal the tenets of our anarchic collective We The Hallowed, and discuss all artistic and magickal practices involved. The music beneath is an improvised audiomancy liminalstream I will be conjuring for each installment, you can view it in full at youtube.com/c/pragmagick
I suppose going backward is the only way forward…
When I was 13 years old, I had an avid fear of not being creatively productive but was obsessed with film, a medium that devours your full attention across most of the senses. I told myself I would take notes during every watch as to null the neurosis of unproductivity - my thought was I would be able to log any and all inspirational thoughts whilst enjoying the medium I love.
This is where I met Dakota Slim.
I remember trying to evade the warm September's Venetian blind reflection on that ol’ cathode ray tube in my father’s den. My father’s den also served as my “room”, during the evenings as I had just moved in with him in southern California after a raucous roughhousing with my (now ex) step-father in Phoenix. From an isolated desert Catholicism, to a familial beach-ified Judaism. Take note of this seemingly contradictory upbringing moving forward.
I sat on the pull-out couch and watched a film that held another life-long love of mine, surf music, starring Frankie & Annette Funicello: Beach Blanket Bingo.
Not my usual fare, as I was already ingesting the phantasmagoria of splatterfest horror, haunting noir, and black humor cinema - but I’m a sucker for the sixties feel goods. This is because of my repeated viewing of the Beatles’ romp HELP, a film my mother and I would recite line for line, song for song, and encapsulates the non-sour years of my early youth.
As I wrote down everything from “dig song around 23 min mark” or “I wonder how many of these characters have skin cancer” - I vividly remember meeting the henchman of the movie’s villain, South Dakota Slim (pictured below), played by an ominous and darkly brooding Timothy Carey.Carey would become one of my most acclaimed creators of the medium from that day forward, but we shall come back to that later.
South Dakota Slim was a large, brown-jumpsuit clad, and brooding Hannah-Barbara white-eyed Scooby villain come-to-life among the most bubbly and colorful spunk of a film.In the film he kidnaps Annette and plans on mutilating her on a huge meat grinding contraption. I remember writing, “How dark! How brutal for a 60’s beach movie!” And my eyes widened and widened…imagine that? The contradiction? The competing tones. The competing feelings. The crevice between life’s morbidity and its absurd profundity of smiles.
I find myself rediscovering these artistic influences I held dear in my youth, becoming reacquainted with the source of my artistic awakening. Timothy Carey’s South Dakota Slim still haunts through my ongoing musical output as Dakota Slim, marrying not just the contradiction of aesthetics, but the audiomantic processes I have always been developing in marrying physical, analog practices with metaphysically minded digital ones to create each album. I will be discussing these processes deeply throughout this series as the application portion of this venture, but don’t let me get ahead of myself.
I caught Carey’s film “World’s Greatest Sinner”wide-eyed soon after beginning to release music under Dakota Slim at 14 years old. “World’s Greatest Sinner” is one of the crown jewels of outsider cinema, a film he wrote, produced and directed (with a score by a nascent Frank Zappa) that would become a hallmark for me when further discovering the outliers, the outsiders, the misunderstood within these many artistic mediums. He created the film by his lonesome, without the help of a studio, unheard of in the 60s, and parlayed themes of corruption, theological and metaphysical revelation, and redemption. He played with contradiction, as he was a rather famous character actor within the studio circuitry and gambled his stunning career to make a heavy farce about fame and corruption. He embraced contradiction… he did both whilst making brilliant work in both the orderly and dastardly.
Crispin Glover, who has said Carey was his favorite actor, quickly became a favorite of my contradictory ilk of which I am speaking.Rising up through his part in Back To The Future, Glover went on to create nominal works of art such as his album The Big Problem ≠ The Solution, The Solution = Let It Be, and experimental texts like Oak Mot and Rat Catching. He would let it bleed into PR marketing rounds, without qualm or care, and would infamously platform-boot-karate-kick inches from David Letterman’s face while promoting the outsider buddy film, Reuben and Ed. Glover would ensare Colin Wilson’s study of the Outsider, a true iconoclast that transcends aesthetic.
However, Glover, like Carey, remained to parallel studio films with magnanimous artistic output across a multitude of mediums. That parallel deserves further introspection at a later time.
I also see how the extremities of pure artistic oblivion can eat away. John Frusciante’s solo trajectory paints an absolutely brilliant schizoid adventure through pain and dissolution, through theory and dejection, through composition and decomposition. Niandre Landes and Usually Just A T-Shirtstill barks at me through the tape clicks and clacks of a perfect communion of a reckless self, the disintegration of musical theory, and sings with the haunted creaks of spent bones and brittle teeth. He had the communion of mainstream success and artistic abandon, but the contradiction wasn’t as commune’d as it is now, and the allowance of such artistic extremes almost took him. This is not unlike my treacherous early oughts, though artistically prolific I was decaying physically. And in a very miniscule way, I was able to busk back between the scenes of social allowance and outsiderdom. Though, as he found that communion, I still struggle.
Early 20th century Russian revolutionary artist Kazimir Malevichconstructed the Suprematism movement, a movement so anti-establishment that he was incarcerated due to the influence of his radical ethos. A truly iconoclastic movement of anti-dogmatic expression that gave back the subjectivity to the artist first and foremost, foregoing the institutionalized digestion championed in elitist class circles. In his 1915 Suprematism manifesto, The Non-Objective World, he states that the Suprematist movement’s “forms announce that man has gained his equilibrium by arriving from a state of single reasoning, at one of double reasoning. Utilitarian reasoning and intuitive reasoning.” The art would be formless to the purveyor, available to be interpreted in any direction and free from the academic understanding of the purity of the artist’s intentions.
“Our world of art has become new, non-objective, pure.” - Malevich
Malevich’s scoff at individual creation requiring academic absolutes, or any objective hierarchical understanding is as freeing as it is maddening, “If all artists could see the crossroads of these celestial paths… then they would not paint chrysanthemums.”
Which brings me to my need for such a contradictory way of expression. Why are so many magicians, artists, creators, so subject to personify the currents and influences that stain them? But I am not here to balk at painting platitudes, or iambic pentameter poetry writing, or devout Thelemites, no, my purpose is to name my haunted source of contradiction beyond that of the aesthetic. The enjoyment of a supreme creativity that is largely unfettered by the social conditioning of the mediums we create in, whilst adhering to communal spaces and positive accompaniment of others’ unique paths. It is utilitarian to be both the freed mind and the harmonious actor.
The utilitarianism of the individuation process is objectively formless, but subjectively palpable. The act of creative expression, that of manifesting through somatic gestures birthed by imagination written into this shared realm, is the heaviest utility we have as connected brainlets in a web of synapse - and those constructs reverberate, haunt, influence, and mutate. What is humanity’s pragmatic purpose if not to reproduce? Through the creation and communion of art as a magickal and utilitarian exercise, we have the third mind, a sort-of Pragmagick, and one that contends with the biological purpose of reproduction by that of creative exorcism.
Malevich, Carey, Glover, Frusciante, all individual schisms of contrary elements, conducted and composed into this “Third Mind” a term Burroughs and Gysin used to personify the communion of individualized participation creating a voice of “The Other.”The Third Mind is not just their artistic works, but the entire oeuvre of their participation across different planes like distilled ghosts in a blizzard of realities. Their third mind is their art, their art is their story and their story is their ability to exist between the confines of objective art through unapologetically individualized intuitions. As if the only way to survive was through the utilitarianism of finding that communion.
I’m reminiscing on this concept, the concept of contradiction, because here, decades later, I am still ruminating on the power of “Both for a Third.”The confluence creates a new waterway, that waterway is something I have always aimed to transpose through art, but it rings even louder now as a prism of growth for however many years I have left.
I always preach this disillusionment I feel about absolutes, especially in the metaphysical space, and one that I see seep into and sour the expressive fields of which I am somewhat akin to such as Art and Magick. I transfix on the gray, the in-betweens, the individualism, not of the academic or certified. I transfix on the gray in this shared somatic reality as well, the struggle between a social conformity and a cackling rebellion. This is why I have largely been mum concerning my magickally minded output as of late. I am in a time of necessary introspection, rediscovering and documenting the knowledge I’ve ascertained as of yet, to move forward.
There is land in Taos County, New Mexico that has been attained by one of my closest friends.And, with the idea that we’ll monetize the land, will be given a few acres to begin building a truly customized world. This happened right when I was yelling into the neither-neither that I can’t play the game that society at large needs me to play to be independent. I have tried and repeatedly failed to fall into the tracks laid before us, the algorithms from point A to point B, and always, always deter, dally and disrupt. It was not until recently that I had to recall the contradiction of wanting to be somewhat stable and the self-awareness that my instability is necessary that I found that crevice again.
I must embrace the parts of my coyote self, the smirking match-lighter, the dharma bum in a pathworking that allows for growth to enjoy the rhythms that are outside of me - being a jazz drummer in nature, syncopated rhythms when it collates, sporadic a-rhythmic pitter patters when it doesn’t - and the wisdom to know when heed the call to switch either way.
I wallow in not being able to find a routine, like a mad Virgo mind with a Piscean soul, I am entrenched in that frustration.But learning to commune with that contradiction by knowing when to show up and knowing when I might not, well, that’s the third mind. Wanting to be an ordained and calculated day-fellow but truly being an aloof and chaotic night-breed is a heavy internal struggle. Sometimes I can be both, sometimes I’m one when I should be the other, but every time I won’t know until the moment of action. And that’s fucking funny, well, to me…
So how do I communicate that I am accepting both halves, the orderly and the dastardly, to those that require a stasis of orderly for the majority? I can’t come in singing songs of contradiction and saying “well darlin’, you’ll never know and that should be exciting for you!” No, no, no - that’s utterly indulgent.
There should be both. Needing to be stable but also allowing for spontaneity. Needing health but to also revel in the detritus and danger. Needing income but also not from the contemporary standards ways of accruing. I’ve spent the past year or so really struggling with these hard edged (seemingly) opposite endeavors.
So perhaps it’s this communion with the other, but this time not only brain chemistry as the other as I have experimented with in my divergent magickal praxis, but contradiction itself.
I am exalted by the philosophical Pharmakon - something that is both the poison and the antidote - something we innately already are as a sentient species prospering on a dying planet, however the pharmakos also conveys a convergence of both into a third supersedes the warring extremes.Perhaps beyond the physicality of decay, a transcendence beyond the material can be achieved. In one of many of Jacques Derrida’s examples of the pharmakon is the vampire, neither living nor dead. Neither, either, or. Rather, undead, something between but not confined between the blinking scenes of fathomable extremes. An empowered resolve for the struggling contradictory tussles. Empowered and new as both, as neither, either, or, but other.
Perhaps I have always been churning as this unrealized pharmakon. In highschool my first zine, an artistic collaborative effort that would be the proto-stomp to We The Hallowed, our magickal art collective, was titled Pharmakon. And as I sit here, in a wave of remembrance and need to distill the haunting inspirations from my life, I am beginning to see the idea’s inception and hidden undertones in my artistic and magickal praxis ever since. This remembering, this hauntological want to correlate a sort of nostalgiamancy, or the act of using the practitioner’s nostalgia as a sort of necromancy, while documenting and setting form to a new individuation basks in all fortunes and follies of the past.Without the sheer determination to reintroduce the malformed hidden aspects of the self, I am to remain blinking in a disgruntled stasis.
But let us not just pontificate about the nebulous as this contradiction is relevant in archetypal human grumps as well. From wanting to live prosperous, yet rabidly against preconceived notions of prosperity, from wanting to live without the need for pharmacology, but as yet unable to commune with my brain chemistry without it’s useful toolset, from feeling empowered by the trickster and outsider archetypes, yet not wanting to harm the harmony of others.All of these pragmatic issues are stories long sung and woven into the great web of humanity. I know I may be somewhat insular in my filter and pontification of such tales, but I also find solace in sharing these misgivings with others in similar states. Our disparate practices as Haunts of We The Hallowed are only tethered by one main constant, the creation and study of our disparate art as individualized magickal practices. Our disparity communes under that umbrella’d Third Mind as everything communes: communion, communion, communion.
I would compare this disgruntled, unnamed, unrequited haunt to that of the Pretain the Bardo Thodol, the hungry ghost. The more I am disgruntled and calloused by trying to confine either, I’ll continue to be big bellied and thin necked with an insatiable thirst. We might all do well to edify the ghost that barks between the tugs of responsibility and passion without subscribing fully to either, but honoring the contradiction of which we are infinitely more empowered to wield.
To some, this contradictory divination does not need such high intrigue. I know of many practitioners and artists that are just intuitively equipped with such a communion that they don’t give it a second glance. Artists such as Timothy Carey, Crispin Glover and John Frusciante may be of that ilk, the kind not consumed with such internal dialogue, though I have yet to hear or research the ins and outs of their inner battles of existing as both working artists and pure creatives. But I believe Malevich, who funnily enough shares my birthday, was an artist/mage on all matters of the creative self and artistic intention.Perhaps it is because of my neuro-divergence that expressing the need to both has become such a life-long struggle. Perhaps this conflict of opposing halfs exists within you, and you too are infinitely interested in the communion of the micro and macro of these polarities. My point is that this forever search for communion through my north and south nodes is through every vessel of my realities and I aim to explore.
This very collection of speech/writing, both in audio and written form, is the practice (pharmakon) of a magician (pharmakeus); my attempt to study, summon, name and pray to my inner contradiction as a deific servitor, to help nullify the symptoms it being unrealized. I have often found that when these contradictions go unstudied, they may elicit moments of what psychologists term the “dark triad” , narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy, or the other harmful pendulum swing of self-immolation, self-harm and reckless abandon.These unnamed, unsurveyed extremes of harmful contradiction are symptoms of barking demons needing exercise, exorcism and/or dialogue.
Like Dakota Slim, or Pragmagick, We The Hallowed, or other servitors of my creativity and praxis, this is my series on discovering and documenting the communion of my true haunt, the ghost below default, one that is the third, the both, the neither, either, or.
It is my aim of this (tentatively titled) Haunt Manual to both end and begin anew across a multitude of prisms to transcend. To take the past sixty episodes of Pragmagick, it’s multitude of interviews and experiments and document what has inspired or expired within my process. It is my aim to formally digest the myriad of transformative information into a new current of creativity.
In this series I will describe my anarchic praxis of audiomancy and other ritualized applications of my communion with the Third Mind, if only for documentation and illustrative purposes.
This will also be an introductory text with processes concerning the creation, evolution and applications of our art collective, We The Hallowed. Updating and correlating my individuation process, the celebration of other Haunts’ (or WtH members) anarchic practices, and the overarching “tethers”, or tenets, of our collective.
This Third mind, this pharmakon, this vampire, this Undead, this ghost… is the haunted oeuvre of my proceeding output. Stay tuned for audio and article chapters of this fluid and ongoing study that will be tethered to all my artistic mediums.
Next article: Nostalgiamancy and the Hauntology of The Self…
I want to give a big thanks to Eric J. Millar and Michelle Embree for their input concerning this piece. And of course, all the amazing patrons that have stayed with me as I swayed these past couple of months. Thank you Brittany Brown, Bibi, CW Chanter, Jonicide, Jilly Beans, Michelle Embree, Corrie Anne, Spooky, Derek Hunter, Dr. Vanessa Sinclair, Carl Abrahammson, Tony Davis, Vanessa Kindell and Arnemancy for your ongoing support.
I have almost weekly patreon livestreams that act as sort of a magickal and mental health be-in for friends and patrons, as well as unreleased music, documenting my Taos plans with cohort Logan Ford, Haunt Manual drafts, watch parties, the WtH discord and plenty of musings. I am far more prolific there, and you can join for just one bone at patreon.com/pragmagick
This “House Of God” essay on the Marseille deck's Tower (my favorite deck) illustrates many of its interpretations:
The Dharma Bums By Jack Keruoac
The Third Mind by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin
Bleach Blanket Bingo IMDB
The Beatles’ Help! IMDB
Timothy Carey’s IMDB
Actually, South Dakota Slim was never in a brown jumpsuit! Something I have misremembered for years and will discuss in the next chapter concerning memory, nostalgiamancy, and the hauntology of the self
The Dakota Slim Wordpress which archives all releases 2003-2018
“Dim The Tzim-Tzum” and introduction to Audiomancy Video Essay circa 2019
World’s Greatest Sinner film trailer courtesy of TimothyCarey.com on YouTube:
Dakota Slim’s “Lackluster Songs” says it was released around 2005, but all my early recordings, some as early as 2000, are a haze due to heavy output on mp3.com, and could have been earlier. The collection of those recordings is listed on the (not current) Dakota Slim discography here:
Here is a very young Zappa on the Steve Allen show in 1963 to promote his original score for World’s Greatest Sinner by bowing bicycle wheels. A very influential film for me across all artistic mediums.
Crispin Glover IMDB
Crispin Glover’s album playlist on YouTube:
Crispin Glover’s bibliography on CrispinGlover.com, it’s funny, I don’t believe his site has changed in 20 years. My autographed Rat Catching haunting is haunting my storage and needs to be unearthed!
Crispin Glover’s infamous David Letterman appearance that continues to revel in the annals of outsider media:
Colin Wilson’s “The Outsider” - a transformative text that will be discussed throughout this series:
John Frusciante’s Niandra Landes and Usually Just A T-Shirt album playlist on YouTube:
I would like to write more about this time capsule of Frusciante’s career, as it was well documented that he was deep in the throes of and almost lost to addiction. Johnny Depp directed a film called “Stuff” in 1993 that is an artistic look into the detritus that filled Frusciante’s life during the making of Niandre:
Another harrowing look into John’s years under the decay of the drug, and an interview I often come back to when I need to remember my own struggles in 2011 and how far we both have come since:
Kazimir Malevich via Wikipedia. Ahhh forgive me! A wiki article!
Suprematism via Wikipedia. Ahhh, another!
Malevich’s Manifesto via the Suprematism UK website:
I have talked extensively on the Third Mind with guests such as Dr. Vanessa Sinclair and Katelan Foisy on my Pragmagick podcast:
Episode “The Third Mind” with Dr. Vanessa Sinclair: https://wethehallowed.org/pragmagick-24/
Episode “Glitchcraft” with Katelan Foisy & Dr. Vanessa Sinclair: https://wethehallowed.org/glitchcraft-foisy-sinclair/
The number Three will be prevalent throughout Haunt Manual, not only as my inner communion for a third, but the communion of the self and a community for a third, as well as the structure of the following Haunt Manual chapters. I enjoy this numerological interpretation of Three within the Jewish purview:
A recent livestream, forgive the audio quality, with business partner Logan Ford detailing our plan to develop land recently acquired in New Mexico, “Deserter Psalms”:
Kenneth Grant’s essay on Austin Osman Spare and the “neither-neither”:
Was invoking jazz great Max Roach when writing this. He will be popping up in full form in the following chapters. Max Roach’s “Percussion Bitter Sweet” via YouTube:
The debate rages on about what my ascending sign actually is in western Astrology because my birthtime is hotly debated between my estranged parents and is not listed on my tiny, New Mexican certification. They know it was in the evening. Virgo rising makes sense due to the contradictory Piscean sun.
An introduction to my Divergent Magickal praxis, an ever-evolving study to commune with brain chemistry as the “other.” I am finding it morph and mutate within this project and will be discussed more thoroughly in proceeding installments.
A thorough essay on the Pharmakon philosophy:
Another dreaded Wiki resource! This time on philosopher Jacque Derrida
Jacque Derrida’s “Dissemination” (1972) in .pdf format:
It is no coincidence that this “Haunt Manual” shares and expounds on philosophies such as “Hauntology.” The next installment on Nostalgiamancy will be delving further into my hauntological view of magickal and creative praxis. Here is an erudite write-up of Hauntology via The Week:
Lewis Hyde’s “Trickster Makes This World” (199) will be referenced quite a bit moving forward. Be warned!
Preta, or Hungry Ghost, via the New World Encyclopedia:
Bardo Thodol in The Encyclopedia Britannica:
Not many folks I enjoy share my birthday, so it was worth mentioning!
The Dark Triad was used to illustrate behaviors associated with these personality types. I do not believe not communing with this ghost would give gift me with these diagnosed personality types, just shades of them. Here is a dark triad overview via Psychology Today: