Coumunity, the online magazine of Thee One True TOPI Tribe, is up. I wrote an article for it about my experience co-orgnizing EsoZone and the way the lust for more attendees can ruin a beautifully small event:
In a community, the quality of connections between members always trumps the number of members. Unlike a network, which thrives on weak ties between ever larger numbers of people, a community thrives on strong bonds.
But it’s easy for community builders to lose sight of this, especially when you’ve gotten a taste of quantity. I know because I’ve been there. Community building is more important than ever, so I’m sharing my story so that hopefully a few others can avoid falling into the same trap I did.
I was the lead organizer of an occultural festival called EsoZone from 2006 -2011 (though I did take a couple sabbaticals along the way). The second annual EsoZone festival started on October 10, 2008. We had talks by Dennis McKenna, Antero Alli, Paul Laffoley and many more, along with performers like Orryelle Defenestrate-Bascule and Hecate.
It was a huge success. Around 300 people turned up, and there were write-ups in the local press as well as High Times magazine. People told me it changed their lives.
But it was also incredibly stressful.The digital projector died constantly. The schedule was constantly shuffled, partially due to the projector, partially due to other logistical nightmares. Some speakers and performers felt snubbed by the changes and problems. One group didn’t get to perform at all.
In 1993 the Neoist Alliance protested Ian Stuart’s performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s Harlequin, promising to levitate the Pavilion Theatre 25 feet off the ground. Thee Temple Ov Psychic Youth (TOPY), however, lead a counter protest to stop the levitation, concerned that the levitation could create “a negative vortex would be created which could seriously damage the ozone layer.”
As the handful of individuals who’d decided to cross the picket line arrived for the concert, they were met with chants of ‘Boycott Stockhausen’ from our ranks, to which the TOPY activists replied with cries of ‘Stop The Levitation’. The counter-demonstrators pleaded with concert-goers to remain outside the building so that they could participate in a set of breathing and visualisation exercises designed to prevent the levitation. Once the concert began, the two sets of demonstrators prepared themselves for a psychic battle outside the theatre. These street actions drew a far larger crowd than the Ian Stuart recital inside the building. Passers-by were reluctant to step in front of the waves of psychic energy we were generating and soon much of the street was at a standstill. The Brighton and Hove Leader of 20/5/93 quoted one shaken concert-goer as saying, ‘I definitely felt my chair move. It shook for a minute and then stopped.’ The Neoist Alliance also received reports of toilets overflowing and electrical equipment short-circuiting, although these went unreported by the press.
While TOPY were adamant that their actions prevented the Pavilion Theatre being raised 25 feet into the air, the Neoist Alliance considers the protest to have been a complete success.
Klint Finley: How’s the new TOPI going? What’s the status?
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Actually, it’s rather gratifying. You’ve probably been to the Ning. And there’s that world map at the front which shows where there are active people and it’s almost obliterated the world map at this point. So whilst the activities are still somewhat limited, and directionless to an extent, what it does demonstrate to us is that there is still a serious appetite, curiosity, need for some of the ideas that we put into hibernation for a while from the TOPY with a Y. There was always the plan to have T-O-P-I, the One True Topi Tribe. That was always part of the strategy from the very beginning. But the first decade of T-O-P-Y, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, was… not the kindergarten exactly…. but that was sort of a filtering process to reconvene the idea of magic in a contemporary, demystified way in public culture. And that was almost too successful and we actually ended up in exile as a result of the threat that was perceived by the British establishment.
Ironically, they attacked us when we had already said that we were going to disband that version and become nomadic. The last thing we sent out to people was printed on what you send wedding invitations on, it was gold embossed card and it just said “Changed Priorities Ahead, TOPY Nomads.” Which was actually a sign, a street sign. We were driving along the road coming back from looking for a big house, a community headquarters in the north of England and there were road works going on and there was this big sign that just said “Changed Priorities Ahead.” And it was one of those moments where we went “That’s exactly what we were hoping to do.”
So the intended idea there was that we were closed down, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, in the hope that those who had really started to comprehend on their own, in their own way, what we were trying to say – which was to bring people around to using an intuitive personalized version of magic – to get those individuals to understand that we were a non-hierarchal, non-Masonic, post-“museum of magic” network.
In other words, a lot of people did their 23 sigils and then they would sometimes write and then say “What happens now?” and we would just say “That’s it. You don’t get a prize. You don’t get a new instruction. You don’t suddenly have a special title. If you’ve not figured out how to really discover and express your true desires by now then you’re never going to get it. Most people did understand that but there were some that expected a prize and were disappointed.
So we had reached the point of dismembering it and deconstructing the ten year project and the next step was to find a location to then go into the One True Topi Tribe. We looked at an old hotel in the north of England, we looked at the farm in a place called Arbor Low in Yorkshire, which actually had a stone circle on the grounds of the farm, which is where we used to have the TOPY Global Annual Meetings over a long weekend and we would camp out and we would do rituals outside in the stone circle. It is a beautiful place. So we were seriously looking at different locations. And then we, meaning myself and my family, decided to go to Nepal to do some research and to work with Tibetan Buddhist monks that we had come to know. And then come back and built the One True Topi Tribe but as you know that got interrupted by the British government.
So we went into hibernation and then Thee Psychick Bible got published. And during the next few months after that was published, we started to get lots and lots of e-mails and letters and meet people at concerts and events. They were saying, “We really want to know more about this. Why is isn’t it still going on?”
Thee infamous PSYCHIC BIBLE from Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth receives an updated, expanded, corrected edition,complete with dozens of new visuals and essays. The Feral House edition is handsomely presented in smyth-sewn hardcover with a red ribbon. Thee 544 pages within are printed in two colors on high-quality 60-pound stock on acid-free 100% recycled paper stock.
This signed, numbered limited edition (999 copies only) is also presented with a remarkable DVD of impossible-to-find videos from P-Orridge archives of early Psychic TV and TOPY creations which includes the work of Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Derek Jarman. Several of the videos included were seized by Scotland Yard in 1991, and as a result the DVD is provided here are second-generation and are reproduced in this CD for their historical value.
The artist, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, says about this edition: “It has been a revelation and become very thrilling for me to see 30 years+ of social, ritual and communal creative explorations consensed into what we feel may become the most profound new manual on ‘practical magick’ taking from its Crowleyan level of liberation and empowermeant of the Individual to a next level of realization that magick must then give back to its environment, its community, become about liberation and empowermeant to change this ‘world’ and evolve our humanE species.”
Here’s an interesting, NLP-esque ritual from TOPY.
This exercise should be repeated every day for 23 days, and at least once per week there after.
Sit comfortably in front ov a mirror.
Move your eyes around, first clockwise direction, then do it in an anti-clockwise direction. Do it a bit longer than you find comfortable. Check your position: are you sitting differently, breathing differently, has soum part ov your body becoum rigid?
Now look into thee mirror and wait until your breathing has becoum even.
Try to put the following expressions into your eyes:
Being there: your Presence in thee eyes.
This should be carried out until you feel that the mirror is definitely staring back at you and that there is soumthing tangible between you and thee mirror.
Pick our one of the first five experiments and try to keep it in your eyes while you look up, down, and to thee sides. Do not look at thee mirror while doing this. Again check your position. Have your facial expressions changed while doing this?
Now relax again. Close your eyes and think ov soum experience which you feel was sad or bad for you. It is very likely that you will have remembered something like that while going through thee first part ov the exercises.
Visualize that experience as clearly as you can and then make it run backwards until you have reached thee point just before thee difficult part started. Keep the image steady then let it fade to WHITE. Slowly. Now build out ov thee white an image ov what you would have liked to happen, soumthing that you feel good. If you are left with a feeling ov relief or exhiliation, allow that feeling to flow through you and then find a spot on one ov your upper arms, preferably where you have a tattoo or birthmark, press it gently with a ginger and then visualize thee feeling being stored in that point.
After doing this for a few times thee spot will in effect becoum a battery or storehouse for that energy and you can press it like a button when you need access to a bit ov optimism and well-being. Sounds stupid? Try, do it, and then report back to us.