PART TWO: DHARMA VERSUS CHAOS THEORY (THE DIVINE RITE OF WITCHES)

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The fact that a cloud from a minor volcanic eruption in Iceland—a small disturbance in the complex mechanism of life on the Earth—can bring to a standstill the aerial traffic over an entire continent is a reminder of how, with all its power to transform nature, humankind remains just another species on the planet Earth.
— Slavoj Žižek
Each smallest act of kindness, reverberates across great distances and spans of time –affecting lives unknown to the one who’s generous spirit, was the source of this good echo. Because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage, years later, and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each expression of hatred, each act of evil.
— Dean Koontz, From the Corner of His Eye
You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
I’m interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that appears to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom.
— Jim Morrison

After rushing through that last blog on Karma (after all, this is just a blog, not a book), I received quite a few “upset” responses.  After all, the threat of “karma gonna get you” is a hard one to let go–especially when what the speaker is (in fact) enacting a curse, predicated on a Buddhist principle, not predicting the future.  Calling a spade a spade is often too much to swallow, I reckon, but I’ll be damned if I’m backing up on account of discomfort.  And I am a lot of things, but chicken?  You got the wrong gal.  Let’s push further into this strange territory, shall we?

At first, I thought Part Two would deal with Dharma-that universal law of natural order and ethics.  But then, I’m only proving the obvious . . . and we’ve already agreed that I’m not Buddhist.  (Besides, I grow weary of repeating myself on this count.)  Rather, I feel like chewing the fat on something much more, um, chaotic.  Like: kairos.  And the Butterfly Effect.  (And how they are the same thing.)  Ready?

In yesterday’s blog, I brought up a strange form of Karma, in which Witch X had “not considered “‘destructive’ (aka UPAGHATAKA) Karma: that which can intercede and lay a flying arrow into the ground.”   It would follow, then, that this destructive Karma could also choose to intercede by assuring its mark.  Which way this turns out lies completely in chaos theory:  everything matters, nothing matters.  It is the perfect storm.  This is the one place that I am wholeheartedly in agreement with a Buddhist theory:  because it’s so intriguingly in line with the Greek concept of kairos.  (And much, much more in line with witchcraft.) In fact:

In archery, it refers to an opening, or “opportunity” or, more precisely, a long tunnel-like aperture through which the archer’s arrow has to pass. Successful passage of a kairos requires, therefore, that the archer’s arrow be fired not only accurately but with enough power for it to penetrate.
— [1]

(Man, I love that last word.)  Can such a moment be divine?  Why, yes, Batchildren.  It certainly can.  If you understand the craft outside of religious strictures and more as that which science has yet to control.  There are too many of us out there still circumspectin’ on our magic as if it’s under some civilized doctrine.  And in the words of a wise old Southern witch I once knew:  It ain’t, chile.  We is Divine.  We is the hand of Her.  She don’t let just any ol body be dat.

A follower of this blog, whom I assume is also a friend of my heart, named Carrie wrote on my last entry that, at the end of the day, it’s about intent.  I firmly agree.  But, I heartily understand that most witches need to believe that something is out there, predetermining everything, hauling off the trash and deciding what’s for dinner.  Otherwise, all that responsibility falls heavy on our shoulders–this can feel rightly uncomfortable.  Carrie broke through that comfort and called it all out: we are the orchestrators of Kairos.  Hopefully, our intent is good . . . or at least, justified.  Which leads me to another little scientific/magical quandary:

The Butterfly Effect.

Ideas [that] require people to reorganize their picture of the world provoke hostility.
— James Gleick, Chaos: The Making of a New Science

I suppose that this “effect” could be classified as Dharma’s symptom, but I find it redundant.  There is, in fact, a (super?) natural order to this kind of chaos.  There are, in fact, administrators of this kind of chaos.  And there are, in fact, good and evil factions of their effects.  However, simply because we are wary of our own powers does not mean that we cannot come to grips with the discipline of them–but we can never truly predict their outcomes.  In my circles, we call this risk the “witch’s duh,” a phrase I coined four years ago in a conversation with an old friend.  And this is where it gets really weird.  (Don’t worry, the next blog will be about chicken, or sex, or anything y’all want.  Just let me get this off my C cups, kay?)  And I reckon this is where most folks think Karma is showing up, kicking ass and taking names.  But that’s not quite right.  Let’s tease this out with a story:

Samhain before last, I cast for land.  I gathered the dirt, was clear about the area, didn’t add too many qualifiers (screws the pooch, energy is very forthright and single-minded) and proceeded to align my psyche and my molecules in such a way that has insured success in the past.  And I forgot to say that I owned it.

Sigh.

And so, we found the perfect country house run by a perfect bitch who was firmly against any “worship” activities of a pagan.  Last Samhain, I re-cast to own the land.  We are signing tomorrow, but it wasn’t without a serious cost to something intangible that I held dear.  The Butterfly Effect.  (Faster than a speeding bullet–or at least, Karma–and damn cleaner in its chronology.  Respect.)

Or try this:

Several years ago, I cast to help someone with a questionable “situation.”  I did so according to the facts I was given, threw my lot down, and have been in muck and mire ever since.  Only when I extricated myself from the relationship did my own situation begin to improve–but the fallout still lingers.  My ethics were not in line with hers.  Chaos ensued.    Many lives were affected.  The Butterfly Effect.  (My magic has aged like fine wine since this moment.  I no longer put my lot with those who are not balanced.)

Did I know the risk every time?  Why, of course I did.  Did it stop me?

Real witches are afraid of very little, as they answer to no hell and even less saints.  If they are good, make them your neighbor.  But even then: do not cross them.

It’s simply this:  I think that most of us, those of us who are truly witches in our DNA, are afraid of our own power.  We need to blame Dharma–or Karma–or Wyrd–or Christ or Buddha or Muhammed.  The truth?  Well, it’s like I teach my students:  I will teach you how to level the world–and then ask you NOT to do so.  The older I become, the more mistakes I make, the more apt I am not to fuck up magic.  But, and this is critical: At least I know the risk.  And the result?

Firmly on my shoulders.  No omnipotent Santa in the sky is to blame-nor can save me.  No “force” victimized my hand.  No predetermination of my actions from a past life has me in its clutches.  All on me.

Very lonely out here.  But I’ll be damned if I’m hollering “victim.”  Perhaps, in the end, this is the difference between heathenry and witchcraft, Christianity/Buddhism/Islam and witchcraft and all the in-betweens:  I know what I am capable of doing/being.  I am the wind that breaks the oak, the water that suddenly spins into vortex, the earth that cracks, the fire that roars.  I am the hinge pin of Nature, part and parcel of its chaos, embedded firmly in the flutter of a wing.  Denying responsibility is redundant, and my Goddess would kick my ass if I tried it.  No more apologies.  No more excuses.  No more qualifiers.  I am what Science forgot–on purpose.

I am a witch.  Hope you guessed my name.

At such times the universe gets a little closer to us. They are strange times, times of beginnings and endings. Dangerous and powerful. And we feel it even if we don’t know what it is. These times are not necessarily good, and not necessarily bad. In fact, what they are depends on what *we* are.
— Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight

Seba


1. White, Eric Charles. Kaironomia: On the Will-to-Invent. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1987.

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