I send love from the beings and spirits here at Mantis Hill to each and every one of you. A tale for children and adults about being lost and finding your way back home, and all kinds of real and imaginary creatures that inhabit the woods and the rocks and a stream. Sometimes poison is the medicine. Sometimes the action of this medicine is as gentle as waking up, but sometimes the world as you know it is dissolved in a torrent of seeming madness, so that another world might become visible. Dale passed on January 13th about an hour or so before sunrise. Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!
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He will be missed, and celebrated — a joyfully knowing presence in our moments of poetic ecstasy, a warmth strong enough to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with bitter world-weariness. He paced back and forth, his delivery measured and careful. But this was no timid circumspection. His slow pace tried to give space to the spontaneous, to create deeper spaces for his risk-taking to dive into.
I was hooked. Dale quoted Norman O. Brown in his talk, one of my biggest formative influences. Realising that Dale had been a pupil and friend of Brown added another dimension to discovering him — not just an exciting new thinker for me, but also a thread of connection to my sense of lineage. Here, one woman spoke of her lack of direction, feeling lost, and she burst out crying halfway through. Advising the practice of magic in such a situation might seem… ill-advised.
Maybe try some of this magic stuff? Leaving a little flower offering, or tobacco offering at four cardinal points, or by your door every day. Add a little bit of beauty someplace. You will see. Look at it as art and theatre, and you can do the same thing that way. Over the years, this take has stuck in my mind, and functioned as one of the most profound catalysts for opening and deepening magical practice that I know.
Superficially, it seemed like a very superficial and evasive take on occultism. Coming from Dale, its pragmatic playfulness had heft — a very potent combination. I recorded and transcribed this discussion, and kept in touch with Dale. I ended up doing his website for him. He was always gracious and supportive.
The last time I saw him was at Breaking Convention in Greenwich. He was still kind of recovering, but delivered a beautiful rambling talk. Of course stuff like this gains some extra bite once someone dies. Death sharpens the teeth of regret. The trick is to Hear it, separate it out, write it on a piece of paper, stick it on a nail, light a stick of incense, and pick up the phone or mail off the submission or pick up your brushes or your pen or your tip toes or your guitar or WHATEVER BABY and kick some ass.
Even, or especially, the part of you that hates yourself. We just lost a great explorer, and someone who cared not just to leave the way open for others to follow, but who cared to help others to follow, whenever he could.
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