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Archive for the ‘magick’ Category

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Egyptian god Horus. Illustrated by Michele Witchipoo. April 10th, 2019. 

17. Fear not at all; fear neither men nor Fates, nor gods, nor anything. Money fear not, nor laughter of the folk folly, nor any other power in heaven or upon the earth or under the earth. Nu is your refuge as Hadit your light; and I am the strength, force, vigour, of your arms. 

– Chapter Three, The Book of The Law (Liber Al vel Legis) – Aleister Crowely, 1904.

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Last week was my birthday. Unlike last year, I decided not to do anything major. Instead, my celebrations were more low key. Before going to dinner, I took in an exhibit of artist Pamela Colman Smith. Not much is known about her, except for one fact. She is the artist behind the most famous tarot deck of them all, the Rider-Waite.

The Rider-Waite deck has become the blueprint on how tarot cards are based. The other exceptions in regards to divination cards have been various oracles, and the Thoth deck, designed by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris.

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Not much is known about Pamela Colman Smith. She lived in England, Jamaica, and Brooklyn, NY.  Colman-Smith was a student at the famous art school, Pratt Institute. For a while she earned a living as an illustrator and theater designer. Along the way, she became of member of The Golden Dawn. Other members of The Golden Dawn included W.B Yeats, Bram Stroker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Aleister Crowley, and Arthur Edward Waite.

It was A.E. Waite who commissioned ‘Pixie’, for artwork. Some of A.E. Waite’s influences was Eliphas Levi and Sola-Busca Tarot, originally from Italy. In 1909, the deck was published by The Rider Company. The Rider Company still remains today as an imprint of Ebury Publishing, A Penguin Random House Division. Hence, why the deck is titled Rider-Waite. Technically it really should be named Rider-Waite-Smith.

The U.S. copyright for this deck fell into public domain in 1966, with notable exceptions. In the U.K., and Europe, according to the EU, copyright is slated to end in late 2021.

As for Pamela herself, her own illustration career only went so far. After a while her career petered out. Not much is known about her, and this blog post doesn’t really help in the bio department. Sadder still, she died as an obscure creative living in poverty.

Apparently she only received pittance for her work towards the Rider-Waite deck.

On January 31st, 2019, an opening reception and exhibit opened inside the Pratt Institute Library, Brooklyn location. As of this post, the exhibit is in it’s last few days, closing April 11th, 2019.

Additional links:

https://brokelyn.com/rip-pamela-colman-smith/

https://hyperallergic.com/490918/pamela-colman-smith-pratt-institute-libraries/

http://zeroequalstwo.net/pamela-coleman-smith-life-and-work-in-brooklyn/

https://www.magicianandfool.com/pamela-colman-smith-exhibit-at-pratt-institute/

https://www.annexgalleries.com/artists/biography/2219/Smith/Pamela

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All photos taken by Michele Witchipoo 2019.

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Here’s an illustration done only a few days ago. Originally was going to hand paint in watercolor, but I was a little too tired to move myself to the studio. The result looks like a cross between a tarot card and old comic book art. Still have the original black and white ink drawing. In case you haven’t figured it out, Mortem is the Latin word for death.

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Mortem. Drawn by Michele Witchipoo. March 2019. 

 

 

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For ten days Durga Puja is celebrated. In honor of Durga, here’s an illustration. Pen, ink, glitter watercolor. Here’s a scan of the basic pen work before color:

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Durga illustration, pen and ink before adding color. Illustration by Michele Witchipoo, Oct. 2018. 

Here’s the color version, after the watercolors have been added. Again, the scan doesn’t pick up on the shimmer very well. It’s best to see this piece in person. Maybe later on I’ll do some prints and/or greeting cards of Durga, along with Ganesh.

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Durga illustration after adding watercolor. Done by Michele Witchipoo, Oct. 2018. 

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Last week was Ganesh Chaturthi. For those who don’t know about Ganesha, he’s one of the most important gods in the Hindu pantheon. In order to work with the other deities, one must go through Ganesh first. He’s the remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.* The main day for Ganesh Chaturthi this year was September 13th. In 2019, the holiday will fall on September 2nd.

Back in 2002, I had a job in some quasi ‘New Age’ store. It sold tarot cards, incense, bland Flax brand clothing, spiritual/esoteric/occult books, jewelry, statues and other curios from around the world. The store was located on East 6th street, in NYC’s East Village area. Sixth street was a row of inexpensive, brightly lit Indian restaurants, so this shop stood out. It did sell Ganesha related merchandise. As usual I sketched on the job when I was supposed to be doing something else. That was around the time I did my first Ganesha sketch, completed in colored pencil. Both the store and the original sketch are long gone. The shop went out of business in 2003, six months after I quit the job. Despite the joy of never having to deal with that ugly Flax clothing ever again, there’s still fond memories of the place. My former manager was a practicing Hindu; his main deity was Kali. He encouraged me to find my own path, interests, etc., but was also very down to earth. In fact, when it came to the general population, he was just as cynical as me. Retail does eventually bring out misanthropic tendencies. That guy was one of the best supervisors I ever had.

Although my former manager was kind enough to share some of his wisdom, I didn’t come back to Ganesh until years later. It was the advice of a current friend that turned my interest back to the elephant god.

It was time for a new Ganesh illustration anyway. This one was completed within the past 72 hours. It was done in pen, ink and glitter watercolor. I’ve been working a lot with glitter watercolor lately. Even if the shimmer doesn’t come out too good in the scans. In person the result is lovely. The glitter watercolors I use has a good balance, so it doesn’t look tacky. Thinking about turning this piece into either prints, greeting cards or both.

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Ganesh illustration. Pencil, pen, ink, glitter watercolor. Done by Michele Witchipoo. September 2018.

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Ten years ago, in addition to self-publishing Psycho Bunny, I did a sketchbook/pinup zine titled Babalon Babes. It was a mixture of occult, esoteric and symbolism mixed in with erotica. At least I was able to give Lon Milo DuQuette a copy of issue four back in 2011.

Issue One was printed in late 2003. Very Thelemic overtones. In fact, the title itself came from Crowley’s interpretation of Babalon. Not so much into the 93 current these days, but that might change.

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Babalon Babes Issue 1, 2003. Zine/sketchbook by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. 

Issue two was released in 2005, which debuted at the Big Apple Comic Con. It continued on the 93 subject, but with more mixture from other spiritual paths. Chaos magick started to creep in. The cover was my first rendition of The Star tarot card.

As much as I liked the cover, not too thrilled about the content inside. Might’ve mentioned the cut-up method in this issue. Don’t think this will be in print again.

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Babalon Babes issue 2, 2005. Zine/sketchbook by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Debuted at Big Apple Con, Spring 2005. 

Issue three was released against all odd. The year 2007 was a very rough year due to personal circumstances and adversaries. Despite everything, I managed to make it to MoCCA Art Fest 2007. Even managed to quickly put together The Psycho Bunny Scrapbook.

Issue three had much more content. Definitely more of the Chaos current by this point, which I truly believed might’ve saved my ass during that year. Again, other spiritual paths crept in. Such as my sketch of Freya in her chariot driven by her two cats. Looking back the tone was a bit all over the place. Reflecting on issues two and three now has a sad element. It’s best having these two being out of print.

Issue four had a nice cover though.

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Issue 4, released summer 2007. Zine/sketchbook by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. Debuted at MoCCA Art Fest 2007. 

Issue 4 was the last of the Babalon Babe series. It was printed in 2009, debuted at some NYC comic con where for a brief time, Big Apple Con and Wizard World merged together, aka Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con. I did an hour at the CAG table with this in hand. The last issue had much better art, and more of a focus. It had an official theme of astrology. The hardcore sex aspect was toned down, but it was still erotic. Each of the zodiac signs had it’s own pin-up. There’s still copies available of this issue.

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Issue 4 of Babalon Babes, fall 2009. The final issue in the series. It’s theme was Astrology. Zine/sketchbook by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress.

After 2009, I stopped doing Babalon Babes completely. In 2010 I went back to college. My focus went towards school, so something had to give. I was working on a webcomic, as well as my own Psycho Bunny character. Psycho Bunny was more accessible, so I continued with that. In 2012 I had a Psycho Bunny story in the monthly comic book anthology IF-X printed by Hamtramck Idea Men. I blogged about other IF-X issues in previous blog posts: IF-X Vol. 2 issue 5, IF-X Vol. 2 issue 9, and a news item back in 2010. (The news article has since disappeared. Should’ve done a screenshot)

The last sketchbook I self-published had nothing to do with Babalon Babes, but a slight offshoot. Pin-Ups was quickly put together in 2015, and debuted at Big Apple Con. The miracle of Adobe InDesign.

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Pin-Ups. A very small sketchbook. Released March 2015. Zine/Sketchbook by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. 

If you want a copy of Babalon Babes issue four or Pin-ups, both titles are available for purchase. It’s four dollars each issue ($3.00 plus $1.00 for S&H). You can send payment through PayPal: Psychobunnycomix@aol.com. Please specify which issue you want. Also available for commissions, email for details, etc.

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Two weeks ago, I landed two free tickets to see Robert Plant in concert. The venue was nearby where I live in Queens, NY., at Forest Hills Stadium. My musical tastes usually runs towards more other genres, such as Post Punk, Punk, New Wave, Goth, Industrial, Experimental, etc. However, my very first exposure to music was when classic rock ruled the airwaves. Way back when, it was WPLJ and WNEW, both on FM radio that had exposed me to Rock music. So it was only natural that I progressed from ’70s Disco to listening to bands like, Queen or Led Zeppelin. The very first ‘Rock’ song I was exposed to was Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.” So in a sense, these bands were a part of my transition from childhood to adolescence. That wasn’t to last long since the U.S. was just entering the 1980s. It’s very obvious I am a product of the ’80s. Soon I became a fan of groups like The B-52s, Devo, Duran Duran, Culture Club, then later The Smiths, The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, etc. As the ’80s evolved, radio formats changed as well. Just as well.

So that day I’m walking through the land of Peter Parker. Saw this Ramones mural underneath the Long Island Railroad.

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Street mural of The Ramones in Forest Hills, Queens, NYC. Photo by Michele Witchipoo.

Met up with my friend, entering the venue. Fell in love immediately with Forest Hills stadium. For free tickets, our seats weren’t that bad. We sat through opening act Sheryl Crow. My friend was more into Sheryl Crow than me. Never cared for her music, but she was good live.

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Sheryl Crow opening for Robert Plant at Forest Hills Stadium, June 13th, 2018. Crappy photo by Michele Witchipoo.

As the sun began to transition into night, Robert Plant took the stage.  What threw me for a surprise was he actually did not just one, but four Led Zeppelin songs. I was only expecting maybe one, perhaps something acoustic. This review on Brooklyn Vegan was pretty spot on.

Since that show I’ve been a minor Led Zeppelin kick. Which got me Googling links regarding Led Zeppelin and their association with the occult. It’s known that Jimmy Page brought Boleskine House, a former residence of Aleister CrowleyPage was so immersed with Crowley and Thelema, the first printing of Led Zeppelin ‘Led Zeppelin III’ has ‘do what thou wilt’ stamped on the vinyl. Robert Plant himself always had a fascination with Celtic folklore. The most famous Led Zeppelin song ‘Stairway To Heaven’ was slightly by occult researcher Lewis Spence.

Then there’s the urban legend that three out of the four Led Zeppelin members made a pact with the devil. Which started to bring bad luck upon the band. That’s just a rumor.

Yet curiously Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones did a collaboration with Avant-garde opera singer Diamanda Galas. It was released in 1994.

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Which finally leads us to the Psycho Bunny sketch of the week.

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Psycho Bunny does Robert Plant and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. Based on the comic written and drawn by Michele Witchipoo on WitchesBrewPress. June 2018.

Now for the social media quips.

Facebook: pages for Psycho Bunny and for Michele Witchipoo – WitchesBrewPress.

 Twitter: One account for me, and one for Psycho Bunny.

Tumblr: World Ov Witchipoo

Instagram: there’s WitchipooArt.

Get yourself some cool stuff on RedBubble, featuring my designs. There’s dresses, tee shirts, notebooks, etc. The notebooks, and the Quentin Crisp tees seems to be one of the best selling items. Just in time for Pride.

One of my hobbies is documenting what goes riding the NYC subway lines: Wildlife On The MTA. Cause if you can’t laugh, you’ll cry. MTA passengers know what I’m talking about. Even better: My WildlifeOnTheMTA Instagram is active once again.

Come back next week for a new Psycho Bunny sketch.

 

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