Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interesting People: cat yronwode

I have a crush on cat yronwode. I know I know: who is she and so what? Well…I've gotten it into my head to occasionally write about interesting people so, here you go.

I first ran across Ms. yronwode in the letter column of my favorite comic book, the Avengers. People who have been reading everything that I write (okay, I know that no one is reading everything that I write) know that the Avengers has always been my favorite comic book. Apparently cat (cat, can I call you cat?) is, or at least was, a fan too. I don't honestly remember the content of her letter but it was submerged in my subconciousness when I was still a wee lad and must still be there influencing me. Going through my huge and highly disorganized comic collection to find it would be such a chore that unless the powers that be bring it to the top (which they sometimes do), I don't think I'll be seeing it in time to include it in this post. I did however Google to see if it was out there on the web somewhere and I read some things from fan boys who had seen her on the letter pages of other comics that I read back in my grammar and high school days, so I guess there is much more of her lurking in the ol' sub c than I would have guessed.

The next time I ran into Ms. y, was in the eighties in the pages of Air Boy. I must have been a recent college graduate at that point. I resisted Air Boy for awhile. I was already buying many Marvel and DC titles, which were beginning to make a transition to higher quality paper and colors, I was unhappy about this because it meant a huge leap in cost and I was at a low ebb financially. I had no real interest in buying more titles or in alternative comic companies. While I had enjoyed some Atlas comics in the seventies, their implosion left me with some stories that I liked, but which had never concluded. I had picked up E-Man too of course, it was cool and sexy, but most of the alternative titles I had picked up back in the day were poorly done all the way around. Still, I kept paging through Air Boy without buying it. It had one big minus, it was out twice a month, so, it screwed up my budget, but it had pluses, the art by Tim Truman was absolutely incredible and although I had never heard of Chuck Dixon, the story looked good, and of course, to my young male psyche, Valkyrie was just about the hottest chick in comics and demanded attention.

What finally got me to plunk down my fifty cents was an appearance by The Heap. I didn't really know anything more about The Heap than what I had read in Jim Steranko's history of comics, but, one day my father had seen me reading a copy of Marvel's Man-Thing and since he had read The Heap in his own childhood he felt compelled to see if The Man-Thing was The Heap. When he realized they weren't the same he told me that the Man-Thing was based on an old character called The Heap and so, when I saw The Heap, I had no choice but to check it out.

After that I was hooked. I liked Eclipse comics a lot, especially Miracleman by Alan Moore and later Neil Gaiman which was just brilliant. However one of the high points for me was reading cat's editorials. (She was the editor in chief and one of the owners of Eclipse Comics.) Again, although I remember how much I enjoyed reading what she wrote I don't remember much of what it was about. I do remember one in which she talked about all of the mail that she got from readers, including a death threat from Buffalo, New York. I live in Buffalo and that one unnerved me. A: How could someone want to hurt this charming woman who was a behind the scenes force for so many great comics? B: Why would someone want to commit murder because of something in a comic book? And C: was this deranged person someone that I saw every week in my local comic book store? I still wonder about that one. I wrote her to express my admiration and concern but I never heard back from her. I hadn't really expected to. I had written to comic book editors before and been published in letter columns. Once the legendary Julius Schwartz did write me back personally which was really cool, but, rare.

Eclipse and cat were cool on some other fronts too. Not only did they produce comics but bizarre trading card sets like, Friendly Dictator Trading Cards and Serial Killer Trading Cards. I remember this caused quite a stir and Eclipse had to fight some legal battles but I never got the impression that they were trying to glamorize dictators or serial killers. I think they were just trying to point out the evil in our midst, in the case of the dictators, evil that our tax dollars keep in place. In any event, it was gutsy and I liked it.

So, already we've got two really good reasons for me to have a crush on her. The first is that she was a girl who liked comic books. I can count the number of girls that I've met who like comic books on one hand. The second was that she liked them enough that she was actually a force in their creation. How cool is that?

Well, Eclipse comics went under and the eighties turned into the nineties and Ms. yronwode (she prefers that her name be spelled without capitalization, I wonder if that's as big a pain in the rear with her word processor as it is with mine?) slipped from my mind but, the nineties brought with it the all consuming internet and again I was hooked and began what would seem to be a new lifetime love of web surfing. I had always been interested in magic and occultism and in the nineties I also hooked up with my first rock star magic teacher. One day I decided to do some web surfing on the subject of sex magic. I had been aware that sex magic existed since I first began to practice ceremonial magic but, the woman that I had married in 1990 was completely uninterested in the topic so the most I could do was read about it, and, there wasn't really that much to read. Western sex magicians tend to keep their stories to themselves and I'm a bad enough speller that looking up anything about eastern sex magic (Tantra) can be really tough, especially in those dark days before Google. In any event, while surfing for websites about sex magic or sex yoga, boom, there again in my awareness was cat yronwode. Not just someone like me, an interested party, but an actual practitioner and willing to talk about it. I think I dashed her off an e-mail right away but again, I never heard anything from her, although in the stuff of hers that I was reading she did mention that she got an enormous amount of e-mail. I believed it.

This synchronicity was really interesting to me. This woman's name kept coming up. I liked that and wanted to know why, but no answers were forthcoming. However, at this point how could I not have a crush on her? This woman was into comic books and Tantric sex… what's not to love? I guess I should point out that Tantric sex is a form of worship and theurgy designed to put the practitioners in a deep communion with his and her deity concept.  It's not just about prolonging sex for hours and hours, although, that is a rather nice side effect. The more western form of sex magic is also a form of communion but can also be used to cause change in accordance with the participants will.

Since then I've returned to her web domain from time to time to see what's up and I have to admit that I love it there. http://www.luckymojo.com/index.html She's not just into the sex aspect of magic but into the magic itself. As far as I know she is the most public promoter of the form of magic called Hodoo out there and everything that I know about Hodoo is from her site. She is also an archivist and has at her site copies of many of the old occult internet news groups that were popular before the advent of the World Wide Web. Her site is an occult supply store, a historical research site on folk ways, a magical archive, a grimoire filled with folk spells and an exploration of her own psyche and life (which is pretty cool as she's been a real life hippy and lived on communes, the sort of stuff I dream of doing but am not cut out for, but I don't have to be because I can just read about her life). She has self published books on the site, one catalogues the spells used by comic book sorcerer Stephen Strange over the years and looks at what real magical items may have influenced artist Steve Ditko into drawing some of the items in Dr. Strange's world the way that he did. Did I mention I have a crush on this woman?

I know that to some, the Dr. Strange thing may seem too far gone, but I remember a bit in a book on the history of occultism called something like, Pilgrims of the Night, about how the author knew someone who had successfully gotten the Dungeons and Dragons magical system to work in real life and therefore he figured it was more about the people than the system. Plenty of post modern magical systems agree and promote the exploration of works of fiction as a source for creating the sort of mental control necessary to work magic. Why not Doctor Strange's? I'm willing to give it a try.

So again, how can I not love her? Comic book fan, comic book creator, into tantric sex and an expert on one or more fields of magic, and, on top of all that, she's open, honest, and approachable on it. One of the last times I looked at her site I read a note from her that said something along the lines of "don't bother to e-mail me, I get too much e-mail to read and respond to it all, if it's important, here's my phone number, just call." Wow! I thought about calling, but, I'm not sure what I'd say. I don’t know if calling to gush with admiration, lust and camaraderie would be a good thing or just really embarrassing for me.

Now, the sad news, I was reading some self explorations of her psyche last night and discovered that one of her core needs is sexual fidelity. As far as I know she's still married and I know that I am, so…. Poof… my love for cat yronwode will be of the "pure and chaste from afar" variety, but, that's okay, in the realms of fantasy, I get to edit that part out.

Cat (I can't get that to not capitalize at the beginning of a sentence, sorry) if this message in a bottle should wash up on the shore of your self-consciousness, please don't be offended, my respect, admiration and affection is sincere.

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