To say that I have a complicated relationship with the writings of Robert Anton Wilson would be a bit of an understatement. Although I started reading his work in my early 20’s, I was never honestly that huge a superfan outside of the books Sex & Drugs (edited down from his original title of Sex, Drugs, and the Occult by his publisher – now re-released as Sex, Drugs, and Magick) and Cosmic Trigger I: Final Secret of the Illuminati. Yeah, strangely enough, the only other books I ever read by the guy were The Illuminatus Trilogy and Promethus Rising. Truthfully, I wasn’t even totally stoked on Illuminatus. Kind of thought it was structured almost intentionally lazily which gave him (and Robert Shea) the ability to write down whatever thoughts happened to pop into their heads while they were stoned with zero regard for structure. Because of that I would actually recommend the much more underrated DNA Cowboys Trilogy by Mick Farren if you’re into this sort of epic mindfuckery. Mick Farren is crazy under-appreciated, just saying.
Well, this semi-fan attitude toward Wilson’s writing changed forever the moment I unintentionally summoned what classic occultists would refer to as my Holy Guardian Angel back in 2010. You know what the first words it telepathically imparted on me were? “We are the beings from the Sirius star system that were communicating with Robert Anton Wilson.” Yeah, straight up. So, shortly thereafter I took a solstice themed LSD excursion with my wife and in the midst of this trip decided that I needed to write a book about my initiations into occult high strangeness (The Galactic Dialogue I: Occult Initiations should be out Spring/Summer 2013). This idea was partially inspired by reading Peter Carroll’s Liber Null/Psychonaut and being somewhat weirded out by how closely my magickal practice was directly in tune with his recommendations. The one thing I wasn’t doing was keeping a magickal diary (I am now doing this publicly – friend me on facebook), which according to Carroll is the most important part of the entire equation. As I was tripping balls I suddenly realized, yeah, I should probably get on that. The next day I woke up and outlined the entire structure of the book and hopped to it.
As I was writing said book, I wasn’t reading much but right when the writing phase was finished I went online and bought new copies of the entire Cosmic Trigger Trilogy and Sex, Drugs, and Magick. I really wanted a copy of Final Secret with the original art more than anything (you know what’s fucked? The Seattle Public Library does not have this book and only two books by R.A.W. in general, so I just decided I’m going to buy a ton of his back catalog and donate it to them). When the book showed up, it was an autographed copy which delighted me to no end.
In re-reading it, a few things jumped out. First off, I completely forgot that when you summon these beings (whatever they are, they like to tell me they’re me), they’re probably going to show up with some sort of message about the nature of time, which is exactly what happened. When he wrote about how according to Crowley, you don’t have to find the Enochian angels because when you’re ready they’ll find you – shivers echoed through every fiber of my being. Again, exactly what fucking happened. Then it gets more otherworldly. My book is essentially the occult sequel to Cosmic Trigger I, that R.A.W. never wrote (sorry, Down to Earth doesn’t count as there’s nothing about the occult in it) and I didn’t even realize that while I was writing it. Yeah, fucking odd and it just keeps going. I finished the writing end of the book roughly two months before my 35th birthday and later realized – Cosmic Trigger came out almost exactly around the time I was born.
Ready for more weirdness? I somewhat randomly got roped into booking a Monday night psych rock show at Seattle’s legendary Comet Tavern in 2011 (booker’s a big Disinfo fan I might point out), and I was just like, what the fuck, let’s make it a Monday night R.A.W. show. So I had my friend who’s another huge R.A.W. fan come out and spin lectures on top of trip-hoppy electro stuff between bands and I worked live Wilson samples into our set (the image above was used in the flyer). Decent turn out for a Monday night, but I must point out that I’m not sure anyone other than my friend and I had even heard of the guy or had any clue what the fuck we were doing with that. As it turns out, my brother had also never heard of the Bob and in doing some rudimentary research realized they shared the same birthday. So yeah, I will now never forget Robert Anton Wilson’s birthday ever again and I advise all of you to go listen to some lectures or re-read some of his stuff every January 18th, like I’m going to now do. With all that said, happy birthday R.A.W. and happy birthday bro (miss you man)! I’ll be firing the cosmic trigger in my mind’s eye tonight in your honor. Never forget.