Abolish the Police and the World that Created Them

By Duncan Riley


Ever since the uprising sparked by the murder of George Floyd on the 25th of May by the Minneapolis Police began, two great social forces have been locked in fierce contention over the fate of that city. On the one side are the rebellious masses of black and brown people, youth, and workers, who, after centuries of police brutality, colonialism, and economic inequality, have hurled their rage against the full force of the State. And, on the other side of the barricades, those directing that murderous force, are the ever-so-liberal leaders of that ever-so-liberal city, shocked to discover how deeply despised they truly are. For two weeks now these two sides have battled it out, the former advancing, gradually formulating its vision of a just society, the latter retreating, falling back on ever more brutal modes of repression. But, in the past few days, and…

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I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

So yesterday I asked what you’re working on, learning, creating but said nothing of what I’m doing – beyond manifesting the Academia. As with my role model that list is long and quite varied. It is worth noting that in any of the following I welcome opportunities for collaboration, mutual exploration and experimentation, shared study and general discourse. Anyone interested in participating should go to Academia Leonardi Vici: https://www.facebook.com/groups/545812582582531/

Artistically I play and experiment with a variety of media (often mixing them) including (but not at all limited to) watercolor, acrylic, pastel, and colored pencil. I have a particular fondness for graphite in a myriad of forms, plain and tinted. I’m gradually setting up sites as Faerie Cave Art to sell some of my work – offering prints on demand on Society6 and original pieces on Etsy while displaying further via Facebook and Instagram as well as a page here. In all of these I am seeking to further develop my skills (I’m relatively inexperienced in any of them) and overall manner of expression.

Painting corner of the Leonardo-do Dojo. Yes, I sit on the on zafu/zabuton cushions on the floor to work.

Musically I am primarily focussing on building my classical piano repertoire. Two goals here are first, simply developing a sufficient amount (about two hours) of performance ready material, which is currently around 20-25 minutes worth committed to memory. Second, in choosing new material, is to further develop technique – there is a great deal of music I would like to play that is still beyond my capabilities and virtuosity is an elusive goal. I continue to practice sporadically my various flutes and hand drums and use these in recording projects as half of the experimental ambient duo, Cur of the Sun. Currently on the workbench is our contribution to the final compilation in Venus Aeon Records’ Elements series, Aether. On hold at the moment but high on the list of “what’s next” is further study in jazz theory and improvisation.

Writing an music corner of the dojo.

Writing projects are on the back-burner at present. The fantasy setting of Panisadore is fairly well developed both for purposes of role-playing (GURPS) and fiction. Wiki versions are available both on The Campaign Builders’ Guild and Obsidian Portal though I am not currently running any games. This blog itself is my primary writing outlet – largely as a means of tying all these various threads together. Beyond my own writing I’m currently assisting someone else, primarily with proof and editing, to prepare a scholastic presentation on the response among Heathens to the misappropriation and misrepresentation of their symbols and beliefs by white supremacists for a symposium on sociopolitical movements within neopaganism.

Kirin-chan Sensei

As for learning, along with the ongoing study of Buddha dharma and Taoism I continue to read deeply into bushido and the classics of leadership and strategy. Explorations of creativity in general and classics of art occupy much of my time and attention – primarily the works of Impressionists and Post Impressionism on one hand and Ukiyo-E and classical ink painting on the other. Recent explorations of infinity have further piqued my interest on higher mathematics and I am particularly wanting to explore set theory as crucial to a deeper understanding of transfinite numbers along with complex math analysis and higher order multi-dimensional algebra. Essential to doing so is developing my ability to visualize abstract functions – I have yet to manage any coherent visualization of a hypercube or sphere and currently have no idea how to approach these as subjects of independent scholarship.

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What are you working on, learning, creating?

Seriously – if you’re reading this leave a reply in the comments and tell me what youŕe exploring. Sometime around the turn of the century a rather vaguely formulated desire coalesced for me into a clear model. I have always enjoyed collaboration in creative activities as well as in autodidactic studies. I enjoy hearing what others are equally passionate about and sharing ideas. Further, since my circle of friends and acquaintances consists so largely of other creative, curious, highly intelligent people, I have often been able to act as a sort of networking hub to bring people together who can provide whatever skill, knowledge, or expertise I may not have that another is needing. I’ve wanted for quite some time to do this more actively and explicitly in some manner.

While it is debated as to the extent he actually manifested his desire, if at all, it is clear that my hero, Leonardo Da Vinci, had a similar desire. He likewise was surrounded by creative, curious and intelligent people, some of the greatest minds of his day, and thrived on the sharing of thought and ideas with them. He wished to give a name and a shape to this informal circle, realizing more explicitly the profound potential such a gathering offered – the Academia Leonardi Vici.

I want it twice, in every flavor imaginable. (Okay, not every flavor. . .)

This was likewise what I came to realize I’ve been wanting in my life – and I sincerely hope that many of you do as well. In this day and age it can take on a scope that even the maestro could not imagine. To actually sit down here in northern Colorado and talk face to face, go into the studio and experiment with multimedia, have a jam session of course is its own reward, but a vast portion of my circle of magyck lives elsewhere. Fortunately that no longer presents an obstacle for most endeavors, with countless tools available at little to no cost to overcome every obstacle imaginable and some no doubt that are yet to be discovered (or created for profit). Indeed, if you’re reading this as a friend on Facebook then consider it a direct invitation to participate. The more, the merrier and the more diverse, the more creative and innovative. The Academia does not merely welcome, it thrives upon the open, intersectional kaleidoscope of our world and accepts no limits upon age, race, color, religion, nationality, neuro-diversity, sex, gender, or variety of orientations presented by any of them. Only hatred and bigotry are unwelcome and should feel so uncomfortable with all of the preceding as to keep their ugly heads far away. The doors are open, come in and lets make something amazing together.

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Primal Urges on a Paleo-spiritual Diet

I’ve recently begun exploring deeper connections in my spiritual practice with Tricksters and associated familial deities. Recent ruckus in the pages of The Wild Hunt, and subsequent discussion and turmoil among the Troth, et al, with regard to the recognition and honoring of Loki among heathens and other Nordic aligned pagan pathways introduced me as we moved beyond solstice into the new year to the explicitly Lokean community. Of course, having danced with Coyote all of my life I have always found a sympathetic resonance with Loki and other like-minded allies such as Anansi and Monkey, to name a couple. At the same time, the simple presence of an actual debate among American heathen as to whether or not it is acceptable to recognize and honor Loki’s traditional position among the Aesir or better to banish him from their (at least public) rites, baffling and offensive as it was to their European counterparts, highlighted for me yet again my primary criticism of the neo-pagan community as a whole; to wit, the frequent inability and blatant refusal to face or even approach the actual gods of our various ancestors in their true, original forms without first watering down and white-washing over any hint of uncomfortable or difficult aspects in their nature. They aren’t all sweetness and light kiddos and at times are in fact pretty fucking scary when seen clearly. This Lokean connection has led further to those honoring and actively working with the eldest, most primal portion of the Nordic Pantheon, those beings known as Jotun, the Rökkr. Alongside the Asatru and Vanitru we now see the Rökkatru taking our rightful place. Welcoming the marginalized, the outcast, the misfits, the Queer, and just plain wyrd among us dancing in the shadows at the edges of the firelight, whispering the secret wisdom of the dark and the night, we twilight people and edgewalkers are reclaiming our power and place in the natural world which the fawning servants of “light and order”, the self-proclaimed “good-guys” (who never are) have sought for millennia to to vilify and banish from our social conscience. Decolonizing our indigenous European heritage the true hearts of our ancestors beat once more among the peoples of the world, free of the fear and hatred that would usurp their voice and silence them forever if they could. In spaces such as Northern Paganism, http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/rokkr.html Shadowlight, http://shadowlight.gydja.com/rokkr.html now this and kindred blogs we may be heard once more.

For myself, Rökkatru feels like the piece that was missing when I explored Scandinavian traditions so many years ago. As I’ve said elsewhere, I feel a much greater, deeper resonance with the older, less formal visage of Wotan as wandering shaman, enigmatic stranger than with Odin All-Father. My path has always skirted the fringes of things, groups, categories, drawing power in the ‘Tween Places and Not-times and I’ve described myself as

“Two-Spirit Nunahe/Celt halfbreed trying to make sense of the zombie walk in the Red-Blood World. Gonzo Fae journalist posting reports from the front of the EarthChanges. EdgeWalker, RidgeRunner, ShadowDancer, DreamSinger, ShapeChanger drumming in the night. Zen haiku poet silently raving:

Never alone, yet
Uncompanioned in the Dance,
What is your Nature?”

For decades my tutelary goddess was Macha Redmane (war-goddess of Northern Ireland) who, after I left the army, forbade me to bear arms in any fashion, neither to own nor practice with them, as they had become superfluous. Further, that when her tutelage came to an end (roughly a decade ago) I would be given one single weapon as most fitting to my role and pathway. As the Lady’s Bard (a story for another telling,) the shakuhachi – zen flute and wandering monk’s weapon – is just that. My flute maker, a Ukrainian Cossack in Portland, OR even certifies his flutes as battle-ready, guaranteeing them against breakage for life!

Anyway, while I serve firstly Mater Nox, She has always instructed me to seek the tuition of some other, as appropriate to whatever stretch of my path I may be walking. (For Her part, She *really* doesn’t like to say much. . .) Until re-encountering Loki I have had little direct connection to any “masculine” deity (even Wotan is known for his drag performance. . .) but this is solidly intersectional with my increasing connection with the Queer pagan/decolonization community and the empowerment of the marginalized to incite and propel change in the narrative and voice of social justice and world-healing. In the primal nature of the Rökkr I find the actual strength and power which their Aesir children shape and wield – the gods of “social roles and forms” have never usurped the place of their wyld, wyrd parents but rather play in the fields of creative expression of that power they inherit. In the tales of their deeds amidst the halls of their elders we may perhaps see the path of apprenticeship once we recognize the source of wisdom which the real usurpers have sought to hide.

My recent choice then to seek the tuition of a patron deity among the Rökkr is precisely this mode of apprenticeship in my own spiritual development. I have always intuitively known that I would not fully come into my own power until the beginning of my “autumn years”. Now at 55, a grandparent and semi-retired due to spinal issues bordering upon disability, I am beginning a new phase in life of promoting my personal creative work – as writer, artist, musician and classical pianist – in addition to exploring the new role of “elder” while still feeling (and looking) much younger. So, Rökkatru? Yes, I feel quite comfortable, a sense of surety, in knowing where to find the mentorship needed to mentor others and eagerly anticipate the unfolding, revealing of that one. This cusp has been a long time coming.

(Soundtrack to my ramblings: Steve Roach, “Early Man”)

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Elements Vol. 4 – Water | Venus Aeon

And the newest compilation is out! Once again you can hear Cur of the Sun on track 5: “Hanging in Water”. Give us a listen, throw some dough and download some grooves, pass the word and support your indie artists and labels.

Source: Elements Vol. 4 – Water | Venus Aeon

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The Peacefaerie Writes Again!

Well, it’s been four years since I’ve touched this site so it will take a little while to clean out the cobwebs. We moved back to Colorado two years ago to live with family here; it’s good to be home and to renew my connection to the Land. Over the last year I’ve been doing increasing amounts of artwork in a variety of media as well as continuing to explore my various musical instruments and interests. The artwork can be viewed in the new page, “For Your Visual Stimulation”.

My former boss and I have continued to collaborate in ambient and experimental music as Cur of the Sun. We’ve had a few cuts released on compilations by Venus Aeon Records – particularly in the Elements series. Earth, Air, and Fire are available on Bandcamp. Water is in post-production – release date hasn’t been set, and Aether is yet to be recorded.

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I just created a new word:

subtleteeth (n.):  some unknown quality that really grabs your attention while not being readily discernible as to just what it is that made you take notice.

It arose from the context of listening to and describing the last edit of a dark ambient piece that we recorded a couple of months ago and which Boss was playing around with mixing tonight.

Subtleteeth refers, I think, to a fundamental feature of good dark ambient work and probably good ambient music in general. That is, unlike the “hook” of a pop song, when we try to discover/reveal whatever it is that actually makes a particular piece interesting, rather than simply being a sonic collage of seemingly random (and therefore probably annoying) noise, to place it right out in the open where it is obvious would utterly destroy the very ambience which defines the (work as belonging to the) genre.

Where the line between art and pretentious shit is very fine, its degrees of subtleteeth point toward which side of, and how far from, that line a given work belongs. Degrees of subtleteeth refer to two characteristics of the quality: 1) how much of one’s attention the piece attracts (the teeth) and 2) how difficult it is to discern/identify/describe the nature of the element(s) so attracting (the subtle). To exemplify (even though they’re not necessarily ambient artists, if artists at all – this quality may be present in any artform), much of Kitaro’s work possesses some degree of subtleteeth while none of Yawni’s does. Steve Roach’es music on the other hand often displays (even while it’s transparent,) invisiblesmiladonfangs as does Nakai, Eaton, and Clipman’s.



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