The Zen of SILVER BROWN

Autumn Pagan Rituals For The Whole Family

Every October for the last four years (time and the availability of a suitable location permitting), I have taken to constructing a makeshift effigy of myself for the purposes of offering it as an erotic sacrifice to the dying sun. Raw materials used to build the wicker man include three or four long thin pieces of wood to form the skeleton and plenty of dry foliage to stuff it with, and several items of clothing I own that have since become unwearable on account of being threadbare or having gaping holes in the crotch or what have you. The whole thing is held together with twine. A small log of rotting wood typically serves as the effigy’s head, preferably a log in such a state of decomposition that one can easily bore a hole in it without any special tools, but not so rotten that it falls apart the second you try to mount it on the effigy. This year I was unable to find such a log, so I had to improvise a bit…


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Part of the tradition of building one of these wicker men is the inclusion of a handwritten list of everything you would like to lose in the coming year, which gets burned along with the effigy. This year I killed two birds with one stone and wrote my list directly on the effigy’s head. You can make out the words “WHATEVER CAUSES WRITER’S BLOCK” in this next picture if you tilt your head just right…


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After dousing the whole thing in booze (this year’s poison: Bacardi), the magick happens with one flick of the Bic. It’s always a hoot to see what kind of eldritch ghouls manifest in the flames. Here’s the Grim Reaper peering out from the effigy’s innards…


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Several ghouls can be seen in this next shot, if you know where to look. Methinks the prominent one on the bottom right bears an uncanny resemblance to the late great musician Nash the Slash. If you haven’t the foggiest who that is on account of the fact that you’re non-Canadian and/or millennial (or simply because you’re among the untold millions who wouldn’t know good music if it came out and bit ’em on the arse), you know what Google’s for.


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The smoke had a distinct fruity smell to it. I’m not sure if that was because of the Bacardi or because of the discarded exoskeleton of last year’s soul, but the way it hit my nostrils definitely killed something in me. Something I needed to have killed. I found myself spiritually naked. Naked is good. Always. Walking around in the nude is most certainly liberating.


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The Zen of SILVER BROWN

Verbal Fluoxetine

“Good Christ, a Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die!”

– Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint


I lost my mother earlier this year, shortly after the winter solstice. My mood about that varies with the alignment of the stars on any given day, for my relationship with her was complicated. To put it mildly. She was a rule-enforcer. A dogmatic one at that. More the type of parent to tell me not to do something than to do it. Always more terrified of the possible negatives that could arise from any given situation rather than excited about the possible positives. So I grew up with the feeling that I couldn’t really rely on her as a life coach; I had to look well outside the home environment from an early age to find my inspiration. My mother’s level of depressing merely intensified as she got older, and would leave this world fearful, angry and miserable after a mere sixty-nine years. A slow horrible death, by all accounts.


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I’m still struggling to come to terms with living in a world without my mother in it. She’s been an omnipresence in my life for so long that her absence is almost shocking. It’ll take a bit more time for the shock to wear off, methinks. Some days I’m fully comfortable living in this new world, and other days I’m so uncomfortable with it that I willfully go looking for love in all the wrong places. But if I ever have one of those days when I just can’t deal, it helps to write something. The written word oft proves to be my salvation. Just the act of tapping away at the keyboard puts me in a better frame of mind. The words I write occasionally even shine a light on something I’ve never considered before, even if I end up deleting them soon after.


The Zen of SILVER BROWN

Happy Birthday To Me

Hey, it’s my birthday today. Probably not going to paint the town red tonight, though. Getting too old for that shit. Once you reach a certain age, you’ve been there and done that. I didn’t even go out to party when the Raptors won the big championship this year. My roomies did that, but not I. Being the old geezer of the household, I was content to stay home, watching the game on my trusty laptop Black Betty, ingesting no mood-altering substance aside from a few celebratory tokes. I’ve raised my share of hell, and large-scale sports-related pandemonium is something I’ve already seen up close. I was at the party depicted in the following video, although whoever shot this footage somehow didn’t bother to film the drunks climbing on top on the streetcars.