I Am Interviewed about “My Magical Thing”

Julian Vayne, author of a number of books on articles on psychedelia, esoteric matters, and occulture, has a series on YouTube called “My Magical Thing,” These are short interviews with other occulture-types to discuss some object that has a special meaning to them, either of its own nature or the story of how they came to have it.

Julian interviewed me in June, and I wanted to be outside so that I could have a supporting cast of broad-tailed hummingbirds. They don’t show up too well though, and there was glare in a face. . . oh well.

1 thought on “I Am Interviewed about “My Magical Thing”

  1. Icons are interesting.

    I did a paper for a Medieval Art History class on Russian icons (since everyone else was doing Western art and I wondered why no one was looking to Medieval European Russian). Anyhow, while researching the art I was somewhat “shocked” to discover that the artwork actually comes from the late Roman Empire when Romano-Egyptians, painted portraits of their loved ones onto sarcophaguses (sarcophagi?). That style then slowly spread throughout the Eastern (Byzantine) empire and culminated in what we now call “icon” painting after the end of the iconoclast dispute. Anyhow, I was also quite astonished to discover that the so-called commonly seen painting of the “virgin with child” descends directly from the depiction of Isis holding the child Horus, to the point that one of the earliest depictions of the virgin has the scarf or shawl the Virgin is wearing tied in the traditional Isian knot.

    Furthermore, in reading about how icons are made, which involves numerous special prayers that must be said when felling the tree, processing the wood to make a panel, processing the panel to make it ready for the artist, the prayers the artist must say in order to both begin the painting and during the actual painting itself, and the special blessings the Orthodox priest must make to “sanctify” the icon, it dawned on me that what was being done was the making of what the Buryan shamans call an “ongon” or, in magical traditions, a “talisman”. The fact that both the priesthood and the faithful genuinely believe that a “piece” of the “spirit” of God, or Jesus, or whatever saint is depicted confirmed my hypothesis.

    I don’t know whether the artist of your icon did the same, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could do something similar, without having to go through the arduous ritual that the Russian (and probably Greek) orthodox icon makers go through, assuming, of course, you would like to have a “piece” of Julian “inhabit” his icon. 🙂

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