Ravirer A digital garden about disrupting status quo

Hello, my name is Ariane Beaudin.
I am an anticapitalist writer and eternal generalist.

Welcome to Ravirer, my digital garden.

But what is a digital garden? Joel Hooks describes it as

a metaphor for thinking about writing and creating that focuses less on the resulting “showpiece” and more on the process, care, and craft it takes to get there.

If you want to know more about me or what I’m doing, you can jump to the /about page or the /now page. I also write poetry & propaganda.

crossbreeding seeds of the imaginal and the imaginary

I recently started a new substack called A Reader’s Compost Heap, where I honor what I read with ‘‘sensemaking’’ creative essays. I sat down this morning to write a new entry for it when I realized my musings weren’t suited for the compost heap (yet), it was more like seeds that needed to be planted here.

Recently, I read Lost Knowledge of the Imagination by Gary Lachman. It was similar to Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm by Stephen Harrod Buhner but without the emphasis on plants, and rather with a focus on literature, language, and epistemology. I noticed that I was already starting to forget my reading even though I enjoyed it. I just love thinkers who are anchored in that same paradigm as I - the animist paradigm, if we may call it like this - and who are so more eloquent about its history than I. But yeah, since it was simply validating what I was already convinced of, my brain didn’t record it as especially novel or worth keeping in mind, which is a shame because there are truly some gems in there. I’m trying to rectify this here by putting those seeds into words. So here are a few quotes/ideas worth planting in the digital garden :

  • The old language being inherently poetical, the world perceived poetically because everything was alive vs language being dead nowadays
    • On this, I have sent a request to the inter-university loan system to get my hand on Defending Ancient Springs by Kathleen Raine
  • ‘’One man’s vision is another man’s madness.’
  • ‘’Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.’’
  • The imaginary vs the imaginal: the first is fantasy, the second is ‘‘objective psyche’’, another realm in and on itself, where we can namely communicate with other real entities (like plants)
    • which gives a framework for my eternal anger against Harry-Potter-kind-of-fantasy : I think I was always more enthralled by the imaginal where, after all, the real magick happens, and the fact that people would stick with the boring imaginary that only leads to delusion seems almost blasphemous to me
    • which leads me to think to the podcast episode '’Near Enemies of Magick’’ of Occult Experiments in the Home of Duncan Barford, who says that ‘‘Magick is to experience truth’’ (def. by Allan Chapman) and that we can sometimes disguise magick into art to ‘‘hide it in plain sight’’ but people can also use art for deception, in other words, use art to simulate magick but only brings us to illusions, in other words, further from the truth
    • and then to think about the short story ‘‘The Paradoxical Man’’ by Bernardo Esquinga in The Secret Life of Insects with his Lovecraftian atmosphere, where we are following a man that might be a façade for a story who ‘‘created a writer into being’’ to be told
    • but also the words of Benjamin Labatut: ‘Writing should give you access to the world, but it should also darken it for you so it becomes mysterious again.’’ His whole interviews with the Louisana Channel are just pure gold (1)(2).
    • and let’s add the whole concept of Hyperstition, which I have discussed in my last digital garden entry.

Unrelated to this reading, but belonging in the same garden patch:

  • The book The Tachekry T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, encyclopedic fabulation to celebrate the weird. Makes me want to linger for a longer time in the realm of ‘‘Fictional non-fiction’’
  • The podcast Anomalie, which presents itself like some kind of DnD campaign but for mindfulness. Basically, it’s a serie of guided meditations taking place in the world of Anomalie. I love it because it feels like how doing magick should feel, truly. I can’t help but be transported by the experience everytime. But here I really wonder if we are in a scenario of ‘‘magick hidden in plain sight through art’’ or ‘‘art creating illusions’’ because I have no information about the creators of the project… I feel like it’s more likely to be the second option, but I’ll be appreciative of it all in the meantime and I’ll ponder about the potential of this type of guided meditation for magickal use.

And that’s it for my chaos gardening today!

is it okay to be an accelerationist now? rethinking diversity of tactics

I used to be a firm advocate of diversity of tactics (look at my cute and innocent 2020 entry on it). I’d use this umbrella term to also promote my view that we should be using witchcraft in the Left (since the Right is already doing it anyway…). But the recent episode of Death Panel on collapse made me realize that diversity of tactics might not be the way to go. Again, we cannot vote our way out of fascism. Also, democracy is an illusion. ‘‘The idea of a nation-state is a spell,’’ as it was well said in the say episode.

From the podcast Weird Studies this time, I came accross the idea of Hyperstition, that is a ‘‘magical’’ construction of the mind that makes something conceptual real, the equivalent of the egregor in occult realm. On the episode, it made a very interesting point on how academia was relying on those hyperstitions to exist, and also how intellectuals didn’t put enough work on creating boundaries around their creation like the fellow sorcerers and magicians are doing. With the idea that “the nation-state is a spell”, that is, an hyperstition, it makes me want to divest even more from it. It also gives another flavor to the infamous ‘‘withering of the state” of Marx and Engels…

But of course, it’s not like ‘‘oh I realised the state is a social construct so I just want to magicalthink it away’’. It’s just an added layer of why it sucked in the first place, as if it serves to control (monopoly of violence) and, in its current form, it serves Capital first and foremost. Again, the system is not broken, it is working as it is intended.

And all of this makes me for the first time think that voting isn’t so much harm reduction anymore. I have flashbacks of the electoral campagin after the 2020 Black Lives Matters uprising and how so much organizing energy was wasted around the say campaign… For the first time, I think I might not vote for the lesser evil in the upcoming elections (here in Quebec and Canada).

Is it because I almost want the worst candidate to win so people get angry more quickly, so the society can collaspe sooner? Maybe. That’s why I was wondering if I was turning a bit (more) accelerationist of now… I mean, I know I am not the only one dreaming of collapse to rebuild anew. The collapse is already happening in that very instant anyway. But I still don’t want to fall into the fascist trap of thinking that it’s okay for people to suffer and die in that fantasy, even though, for sure it will happen, as it is happening now… But also, how can I reconciliate the indigenous thinking of Deep Time with this intellectual bourgeois Accelerationist thought? Should I give up thinking about time altogether, like is it a framework not investigating? Probably not.

Divesting from the state also makes me lean more into anarchism. But anarchism always made me feel small, like anarchism grassroot stuff cannot make an international revolution. And I want the whole international solidarity deal. But maybe it’s just a matter of learning how to think differently, to reshape the theory of change in my brain. (Maybe I should look up at The Solutions are Already There : Strategies for Ecologiclal Revolution from Below by Peter Geldeloos)

But in my divesting from my diversity of tactics in its all emcompassing form, I want to focus on :

  • Popular education (spirituality + how to work collaboratively)
  • Systemic Change
  • Collective action

Which means these are out :

  • Individual behavior-oriented change (don’t need to be using a reusable straw to be a revolutionary)
  • Anything electoral

An you know what I think about violence.

Basically, I just want to empower people and work toward class war. Radicalization anchored in radical empathy. And as framed in the book of Rebecca Solnit Hope in the Dark, people can get together in time of catastrophe and find great joy and empowerment in it.

Anyway, I don’t know if it’s ok to be an accelerationist now, I don’t know if I can (or want) to qualify as one. One thing I know it’s that it feels horrible to see the rise of fascism and people remaining apathic to it. I mean, maybe it’s defeatist of me to feel like we just won’t be able to stop their movement. Genuiely, one of the most urgent and haunting question in my life is how to defeat those fascists. As of now, I don’t have any answer on how to do that efficiently in the short time, no global perspective. Juste a desire to scream : can they fascists fucking fall already?

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work x pleasure activsm

Climare changes oblige, fully luxury automated communism is not on the horizon anymore. It’s not like the old workaholic in me ever truly craved that. But as the desire for work and achievement is often pushed as this simple idea of internalised capitalism, I wanted to try to think about the future of (our relation with) work.

Personnaly, I’m not very good at having fun or at doing nothing. I am definitely considered an overachiever by my people. And I did burned out twice before turning 25. Now, I have put the boundarie to not accept to work any full-time job because I know I am not ready to let go of my 345285 personal projects I have on the side, therefore working full-time will almost systematically lead me toward the burnout route.

At once, I tried to slow down on my political activities. My social life often revolved around organising meetings and in the long run, I thought it was kind of unhealthy. I need to allowed myself to just chill. And I did this, I’m still doing this : allowing myself to chill, and coming back in the ‘’productive field’’ gradually, while keeping in mind my priority of keeping my life in balance.

I don’t know where I heard or read recently that the issue is not about trying to abolish work, but rather reclaiming work. It resonated in me as I am kinda doing that, since my ‘’chilling moment’’ is also a moment where I’m trying to consolidate the foundation of my very own non-profit. If I have to work, I will work in my own term, on something I truly believe in. So I realized I was already in the praxis of reclaiming work.

It lead me then to want to ponder about the theory around this idea of reclaiming work. How can work be pleasurablre and fullfiling? On a more personal level, how can I try to stop with this fear that I am necessarily working from a place of internalised capitalism, making myself feel shame for wanting to be useful and accomplish things?

So, I’m coming to the terms that human nature might actually crave work. Psychologist Csikszentmihalyi’s notion of flow comes to mind. I also think about the fact that using our hands to do manual works actually is good for the brain.

In my activist circles, we already started this reflexions a few years ago about how can we find (and bring) joy and pleasure in all this unpaid labor of ours. Now, I’m thinking, how can I personnaly bring a change around work in the lineage of pleasure activism? Maybe the issue this whole time wasn’t that I’m ‘’not able to have fun’’. Like I’m able to have fun and I am fun to be around. I make people laugh in meeting, I find ways for things to flow more efficiently, dare I say, more pleasurably.

Because the thing is, there will be just more and more work to do in the following year. In the realm of activism but also in general with the upcoming collapse of everything. How can we create an anticapitalist culture of (fullfiling) work that can not be recuperated by the current ideology? How can work nurture our growth instead of economical growth?

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occult features of anarchism by erica lagalisse

I like to think of my reading journey as some fantasy quest. Books are paving the way, but along the path I see beautiful fascinating plant-ideas that nourish the whole adventure.

The first book I finished reading this year was the short Occult Features of Anarchism by Erica Lagalisse, which I read in one sitting. The book offers an historical overview of anarchism, putting in the light the occult dimension of it. It suggests :

Modern anarchism has never been purely atheis except in name, and instead develops based on overlapiing syncretic pagan cosmologies that behold the immance of the divine, In fact, utopian socialism, anarchism and Marxism each rely […] on a specific syncretic cosmology that is incipient in the Middle Ages, changing and crystallizing in the Renaissance, and gradually given a scientific maeover throughout the Enlightenment up to the twentieh century. (p.34)

The book also posits firmly this hypothese I’ve been dancing around for a while now (see last digital garden entry) that the discarding of the spiritual/magical is something deeply anchored in oppressive systems, or as Lagalisse put it in relation to anarchism :

It is one thing for anarchists to maintain that they are ‘‘against all forms of domination’’ nominally speaking, yet a decolonized anarchism that properly challenges gendered power requires acknowledging how the secularization of social movements agains the state mirrors the secularization of the modern colonial state itself, which privatizes religion and gender yet continues to embody a specific cosmonoly and patriarcgal arrangement in both structure and ideology. (p.28)

Once again, it was highlighted how an “elite magic” anchored in Western occultism was deemed acceptalbe, but folk and women magic wasn’t. Lagalisse showcased namely how (male) scientists during the Enligthment were working through alchemist traditions in their experiments. She gaves the example of the “magical” Johannes Kepler who received the title of Imperial Mathematician while his mother was imprisoned for witchcraft.

Anyway, that was a very nice read. It was refreshing to learn that communist and anarchists symbols took their origin in witchcraft and secret societies (freemasonry), or again that the anticapitalist May Day has link with pagan celebration. Even more pleasant was it to discover the “spiritual side” of anarchist thinkers, like this Bakhunin quote did a good impression on me :

Let the religion become the basis and reality of your life and your actions, but let it be the pure and single-minded religion of divine reason and divine love… [I]f religion and an inner life appear in us, then we become conscious of our strenght, for we feel that Gos is within us, that same God who creates a new world, a world of absolute freedom and absolute love… that is our aim.

The essay also covers how women and indigenous thinkers are often left out of anarchism history, but it feels as if this section could have been more explored. Conspiracy theories also have their dedicated chapter, as it was actually the starting point of Lagalisse’s investigation into this occult alley, and it was very interesting : it motivated me to go back to my own conspiracy theories studies (see entry fascism and conspiracy theories), and this aspiration to make it part of some kind of left populism in the line of what Chantal Mouffle advocates for, but also in the spirit of Amitav Ghosh’s call to involves religion in the fight for climate justice. Nonetheless, here as well, I thought this section was short and I would have wanted some more.

Nevertheless, it was a very good and interesting read. To the suggestion of the writer, I think I will pursue my own investigation with this following book : Magic, Science, Religion, and the Scope of Rationality by Stanley Jerajaya Tambiah.

Also shoutout to the first digital entry I’ve post on Ravirer on 2020 on mystical anarchism, we’ve gone full circle!

introduction to witchcraft in politics

As I was listening to an interview on Rune Soup with John Michael Greer, I was remembered that witchcraft was not only the legacy of poor people and women, not only my childhood obsession. When Greer mentionned that the occultists he was surrounded with were from the managerial class, it opened my mind’s eyes again to the political dimension of witchcraft. I started to dive into Greer’s books and realised that he was shockingly prolific. Many traditions and conspiracies came into focus in his writings, and there was also a whole lot of title about politics. I felt compelled to read some of them eventually, to see how it might sound.

One think Greer is conviced of is that we are experiencing the fall of our civilization. This is an idea I somewhat share with him (see Russel Means’ speech at the end of this entry). At least, it’s the imminent end of the American hegemony (hello USA’s Pluto return!), and hopefully, of the capitalist society at large. I think that the cyclical nature of human life and civilization is something important to ponder about again, like the Ancients did. Greer is explaining well where we are at, in our collective thinking. Indeed, we forced people to be convinced by the idea of progress, progress becoming the religion of our time, so what does one do when they realize we aren’t progressing anymore, and, worse, that we are even regressing?

When I’m asking myself those questions, I usually think about the working class, from which I am part : what are we thinking ? What could we collectively be thinking in this frenetic and precarious life that don’t give us the time to think that much?

But it’s true that we could also ask the question to the upper middle class and rich people. It’s true too that we could decide we don’t care what the “uneducated” working class thinks and try to enforce ideas upon them.

While I was still trying to make up my mind around Greer — is he someone I shousld cheer on? for popularising the occult, the magic, this other episteme I also defend with all my heart? or should I not put my trust in him at all, as he is a supsicious old white man? —, I stumbled upon a video that helped shape my opinion. The video in question was about how Greer was actually nurturing a climate where ecofascism could easly thrive. (On this topic, see digital entry fascism and conspiracies theories.) I’ve learned that he predicted Trump’s election and was ever since quite popular in the right and far-right spheres. I sighted without surprise. Of course, he wouldn’t be the magician ‘‘hero’’ I want to see in the world.

But I guess I am still grateful to him for putting back in my horizon that rich people believe and are using withcraft too. Can you believe he’s written a book named The King in Orange about the presupposedly magical war that shaped american politics behind the scenes since 2016? I need to read that.

I wrote ‘‘presupposedly’’ but, the thing is, I do believe in magic for real. I believe in mine, I believe in my fellow QTBIPOC’s one, but do I believe in the magic of the rich? Deep down, I think most of rich chaos magicians — or whatever name they may used for themselves — aren’t able of real powerful acts of magic, that they are probably just living in delusion, craving for more and more power, always. But, at once, I know that their traditions and mine share similar symbolism, that of tarot, astrology, kabalah, etc. and, of course, I do believe in those symbols and systems. I would invalidate my very own practice by completely discrediting theirs. Superpower or not, we both read the same stars in the sky.

Though, parts of me really believe that humans aren’t that powerful and that, therefore, we mostly rely on the magic of the nature around us. I also strongly believe that it is better, in the long run, to try to work with those magical forces of nature (association), rather than trying to tame them in order to harness them (domination). (See Eisler’s association vs domination framework here.)

When I was in my Youtube rabbit hole, learning about Greer and Atlantis theories, I stumbled about a video named Does Remote Viewing Work How To Be a Psychic Psy. The video was around 6 min and there was this old guy invited to a TV show to prove that the was able to remotely see where someone was and he was there to prove it. So they set up a woman who would wo go anywhere she wanted in London and the old man would write “thousand of pages” to get clue of what he saw “through her” to finaly disclose her possible location.

First, it wasn’t impressing nor convincing. Second, psychic spy, really?

Although I would adore to be able to spy on fossil fuels psychopaths, and that I do believe remote viewing is possible, please, someone, save me from myself if I ever go on a TV set pretending I’m James Bond or somethig to get attention from a potentially very sacred craft. I will not elaborate any further, I think it speaks for itself of how white men can think of magic. A mere other skill, self-promotion trick, potential passive income, name it.

So all of that to say that I felt called to go back to my unfinished work around witchcraft as political strategy for the left. Oh, how I crave more than ever a decolonial chaos magic by and for the people!

It’s been a while I’m mad at this sanatized paradigm of scientific thoughts and nothing else. Initialy, I was mad on the basis that the people in power who shaped history forced an idea upon us. But now I am even more mad because, it’s not simply a matter of pushing in. Picture a quite full suitcase : they didn’t try to push the idea in that suitcase, sat on it to make it close, and then forcefully zipped it. It if was what happened, maybe our suitcase-mind would be a bit crowded, uncomfortable with contradictions, but we would still be able to work it out. No, rather, they took out all our belonging that were in that suitcase without asking if we cared about them and burned it (actually, they secretly kept a part of it for themselves), filling the now empty luggage with only what they care about, only what would benefit them, not caring a minute about our needs.

What I mean by that is that they had to violently destroy in order to create their worldview. A bit like AI art today is destroying in bits of data meaninfulg art to render new meaningless art in the hands of capitalists.

The first time I’ve stumbled upon this emphasis on destruction this week was when I was reading the book Kitchen Witch : Food, Folklore & Fairy Tale by Sarah Robinson. In it, the author compared the witches’ trials to a second burning of Alexandria.

Today, I’ve heard another phrasing of that destruction that really triggered that ancient sacred anger. In a video by Advaya, Dr. Vandana Shiva geniously synthetized the evolution of thoughts since the colonization by Europeans. She went back to Bacon and said that, by enforcing a mechanic worldview, with the help of the State and the Church, they rubbed us up of so much. Killing the animistic nature of what surrounds us was the beginning of the end, or in Shiva’s terms, it was actually the begining of a genocidal epistemology.

Everytime my vocabulary to express sacred anger expands, I shout.

So yeah, going back to Greer… He might be an hyper archiduide or whatever, like yes, he might truly loves nature and enpower people to connect on a deeper level with it, but still. Still, I refuse to let people anchored in the paradigm that killed everything to benefit from witchcraft, witchcraft they systematically tried to take away from us.

Which brings me to say : if we need a magical class war, I’d be happy to help lead the way.

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