Gordon’s Magic Circus & MakerFaire

Gordon’s Magic Circus
Originally uploaded by anselm23

Gordon, in one of his recent posts (which I think was this one) compared magic to a sort of circus, and I was reading this book on Tantric Thelema, and there were pens and cards near at hand because I’d been writing thank-you notes earlier. It was such an elegant image, that idea of the circus of magic, that I decided it needed to be turned into an illustration, right then and there.

So I did. I forget whether I posted it here, or to Twitter earlier (Twitter seems to be where the first one went up), but this was an earlier version of the design.

So… I’ve decided to go to the Circus this weekend. MakerFaire is a gathering of thousands of people, from what I’ve heard — the creativity and zaniness and wonder of Burning Man, perhaps, but not the high desert and the dehydration. Maybe.

I’m sort of hoping that it will be like Constructing Modern Knowledge for me, or the Nueva School’s dLab, or some of the other places and people who have helped get me started as a designer and a design thinker. But most of all I think it comes down to re-iterating something David Kelley keeps saying, that it boils down to creative confidence. WIthout creative confidence, it’s hard to pick up a pen and duplicate a drawing that someone else did…. and yet without that duplication process, it’s hard to invent the imagery, or know which line you intend to draw, when it comes time to make your own stuff. How do you create images of physical objects you intend to build? How do you decide to build anything without a visualization in your mind? How do you transfer that visualization from your mind to paper, from paper to material?

I find myself thinking about the wisdomkeepers of this tradition that I’ve received, this weird combination of the magic and the martial arts, the design thinking and the teaching, and I realize how jewel-like all this work is. You can’t build something if you don’t have an image in your brain…

Except Zentangle

So, Rick and Maria of Zentangle.com have developed a sort of game. It’s an interesting game, with some fairly simple rules:

1) Take a tile of fine white paper.
2) Use a pencil to mark the four corners of the universe on it.
3) Stretch or curve a string of the universe across the open space you’ve created in chaos.
4) Using a pen, fill the universe with the ten thousand things.
5) With a pencil, add shading and nuance to the ten thousand things.
6) If you get stuck, roll a 20-sided die, and do the pattern that die-roll suggests.

Mercury sigil form
Giving Mercury his space

They’ve made art into a game. A solo game, to be sure, but a game that describes a portion of the universe and can be used to help shift consciousness without pharmaka. It’s intense sigil work, because every sigil is going to consist of the field of play, a square of paper about three inches across, and so much patience and intention goes into the work. And yet, rather than drawing the sigil, one fills in the empty space around it. One gives the power described, an opportunity to do its work. One gives it space.

So this is what I’m doing on Saturday. I’m going to MakerFaire. It’s partly pilgrimage. It’s partly game. It’s partly about hoping to be surprised and amazed and bewildered.

I’m going to the circus. To find the magic that made me agree to be a Design Thinking teacher, all over again.  To give that vision of myself the space in which to find itself again.

Will you be there?

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