Do you remember the first time you saw something that changed your life completely and immediately imprinted some new possibility for reality that you would never have otherwise considered?
The first time I can remember this happening, I was about 5 years old. My father read a lot, a lot a lot, the house of my childhood had walls lined with shelves full of dusty books. The living room in particular had 2 large bookcases all full of various articles of classical literature and thought: works by Homer, Chaucer, Aristotle, Erasmus, Keirkegaard, Aquinas, Shakespeare, Huxley, etc. All great magicians in their own right. On the lower shelves were books with wonderful pictures of dinosaurs, sea monsters, aliens. A small space on the bottom of the lefthand bookshelf held my father's small comic book collection. His mother disposed of the collections of his youth (except for a few vital items) when he left for college. Sometimes, very wisely, he would read to us from this small collection letting our eyes linger on the pictures while he did the voices for the each of the Avengers or for Spider-Man. I remember having an affinity for "The Vision", but only vaguely.
No, what really stuck, and changed me, happened on one fateful day while I was home sick with strep throat, or walking pneumonia. My father stayed home to take care of me and I asked him to read a comic to me, so I could follow along. On this day he pulled three oversized comics off the shelf. These 3 were reprints of Tales from the Crypt, the Vault of Horror, and the Haunt of Fear, respectively. For the next couple of hours my father good lord, -choked- his way through every story, pausing after each to survey my wide-eyed, fearful, face to ask if I'd had enough. "More" was my answer. On this day I was reborn. My brain permanently changed. Bernie Wrightson, my new hero.
Art and magic have an inextricable link. Change in accordance with personal will broadly defines the goal of magic. What change? Environmental changes, physical changes, internal changes, really any change as long as the will accomplishes it. These changes come much easier when a practitioner learns to communicate with whatever they wish to change, by learning the language either through careful study or intuition. Change occurs first in the mind, as an idea takes root and begins to prune away long-seated opposition with nimble and dextrous fingers. As the process continues it works its way through the body, altering motor units to produce, ultimately, some manifestation, some pattern for others to follow.
You can never know what lies inside of another person beyond their anatomy. The information they spit out through their various signals has a high degree of noise, as does a person's ability to receive it. Through constant meditation and practice, people seem the same, oneness steps forward, the clay all mashed together, all brown and grey. Then because sensitivity to certain things inside creates a type of knowledge through its experience, this can apply itself meaningfully to others. Thus begins compassion and empathy. Learning the language of people.
I draw to communicate. The tandem paradox of spoken words both abstracting and specifying renders them mostly meaningless. In order to understand someone by speaking to them, so many words have to come out of both people, this vocal torrent constantly checking and editing itself on the fly to ensure the other party understands. With a drawing or painting, the effect occurs almost immediately, and the viewer can linger in silence. The imprint can happen immediately. Art allows the inside to come out, so people have the opportunity to acknowledge internal processes, and sympathize, or empathize with them. It causes long lasting or permanent change in others as well as in the creator AND it manifests some critical internal idea.
I started writing and drawing a comic in July after a lengthy daily practice and meditation with a singular goal in mind: to reconnect myself to my will (HGA). What emerged was the germ of an idea I had carried with me from childhood to know, that has taken many shapes and had many false starts. All signs said "THE TIME HAS ARRIVED". The Crowelyan true will. My will's flow interrupted by life, work, sloth, etc. But I always come back to work on it. Getting faster every time I sit down. Working hard at communicating clearly. Sometimes I have second thoughts. The trickster universe throws so much in front of what I feel I need to accomplish. Crowley would say that means I've found the right track. Slowly but surely, all blame on my father for instilling me with a love of comic books as a child.