I am extremely excited to present to you and interview with the proprietor of Sacred Alchemy – Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold.
From Scarlet Imprint:
“Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, a native of Norway and resident of Brazil since 2003, is a behavioral psychologist, anthropologist and master brewer (Capirotagem Cervejaria). During the last 25 years he has travelled extensively in search of traditional wisdom and spiritual legacies, with a particular focus on African and Afro derived traditions along with what is generally defined as traditional witchcraft in Europe. This has led to deep involvement with several streams of wisdom, such as traditional Ifá, Haitian Vodou, Palo Mayombe, Quimbanda and a rich knowledge of witchcraft from diligent commitment and involvement with various recensions of the ‘witches’ way.”
Q: What do you consider your greatest magical achievement?
A: I think a question like this demands an understanding of what magic is, because this is truly a term that holds many interpretations. For me my understanding of magic is similar to the medieval idea of magic as something pertaining to ‘natural philosophy’. Magic is about understanding and using the natural and occult bonds in nature and cosmos and this is a crude law underlying any magical discipline or art. Magic popularly understood to be about transforming things in accordance with will; this is merely a consequence of starting to get a grip of the occult laws of nature and understanding how to manipulate them and how to flow with them. I further believe that we are all born with a given imprint or divine signature, what reveals itself in Fate, the way we should act in life to find fullness of all good things. This is similar to the idea of true self or atman and dharma in Indian philosophy.
So, for me magical achievements is not about making a work for getting work, love or dethroning opposition, rather a magical achievement is somehow tied in with the Great Work, to Know Thyself and in this state of self-knowledge and self-awareness you realize your station and what is necessary to turn Fate into a benevolent force that drives you towards increase and fullness. So for me, stability, love, land, house and peace are things I have which I would deem magical achievements given how the accumulation of this has been accomplished by constantly polishing the mirror of the soul so I can understand better and better how nature and Fate works in our lives. This translates into becoming a human being always more compassionate, brave and generous. And in a world like ours, aiming towards refining such qualities is not always easy.
So, in short, I don’t see magic as something just concerned with the invisible realm, it is about both sides of the veil, and hence a magical achievement should produce material and practical results benign to our life and Fate and immediate practical results is always good as affirmations, but I think we need to expand our panorama in speaking of magical achievements and aim towards fullness and contentment on a spiritual, emotional and material level at the same time, not an easy task, and I guess that’s why it is referred to as the Great Work and self-knowledge being the skeleton key..
Q: Who are some of your personal heroes?
A: I guess you mean a person who set examples or influences me somehow? I would say any person that manages to stay true to him or herself faced with ordeals provide me with good example. I also have to admit to have been greatly influenced by Bruno and Ficino when it comes to occult philosophy as I have with the wisdom tradition known as Ifá amongst the Yoruba speaking people in west Africa. In general, concerning heroes, I think we should be careful placing people on pedestals, disappointments can be hard when they fall and I think we are better off always exercising our own demons and search for connections that can bring out the best in us. I believe perfection is always an unattainable goal and our imperfections is what grooms courage to strive towards betterment and fullness, so in this way a hero is anyone who is assuming mastery of its own life, someone who through bravery and courage confront adversity and bring on victory, if so hopefully we meet those heroic individuals from time to time and if we possess the wisdom and absence of pride to recognize them when they appear we should consider ourselves lucky.
Q: What was your first “oh shit, this is real” experience?
A: These experiences happened very early, around when I was ten years old, and I don’t like to go into details, but let us just say that somehow I managed to see very clearly what was on the other side of the veil from this age and that it was scary and eerie and this series of experiences that went on for 5 years where I truly questioned my sanity. Ending on accepting that there is more in this world than we see with the eyes of the Sun I took an active interest in wanting to understand the night side of nature instead of rejecting it. So for me the ‘shit this is real’ experience just continued and is still happening, but the first one was really about seeing the spirits of nature in all their beauty and terror…and even now thinking back on this eerie and unreal experiences, I am goosefleshing – like participating in a reality pretending itself to be a dream…
Q: What are some of the occult products you specialize in at sacred alchemy?
A: We are offering mainly two types of products; we are offering readings, it be mediumistic consults with Exu, Ifá readings or rune casting and we are offering items endowed with magical virtues, it be talismans, magical objects, fluids, oils or statues. The aim was to offer magical objects and services of quality, meaning that we are truly putting in the necessary work to embed magical virtue into our objects and we never make any shortcuts with readings or the magical processes necessary. I am of the conviction that if you offer something for purchase it must be done with full heart and you need to give priority to what people is paying for.
At the end having a store specializing in occult products is about exchange of energies, money, attraction, protection are all magical bonds that need to be understood and worked for the benefit of all. We had in mind to actually allow the store to be the first step in a more holistic structure, where we would offer workshops, initiations and develop events in the crossroad of magic and psychology – this phase we have only had time to start developing now, so perhaps saying that we aim towards making life a bit more magic it be about a talisman, a statue, a herbal bath or a reading would be fair to say, but we will expand and change as time moves on in the hope that we will be contributing to make life more magical in a great variety of ways.
Q: What is one magical tool you can’t live without?
A: I believe that over time you cease doing magic and to some extent become magic. Nowadays I conceive of magic as something ‘natural’, we do what is necessary, driven by need and understanding. I believe that at some point to make food, making a spell, taking out the trash, working out or tending to the spirit should be done in a similar spirit, in absence of the profane in a way, so can’t say I depend much on ‘tools’ anymore – yet breath and words will always be intrinsic to everything I do, so, breath and tongue would be a tool I would have difficulties living without. There is a saying down here that true mastery is when you throw a bottle of rum in the ground and make the Devil appear from this – and I guess this very much reflect my attitude towards magical tools, the aware sorcerer is the tool. This being said, looking back I had for many years always with me some form of oracle, it was runes, miniature tarot or and obi, which is the kola nut used for divination.
Q: What importance if any, do you put on full visual manifestation of a spirit during evocation?
A: I don’t consider the visual sensorial faculty as more important than the other sensorial faculties and also I believe that the visual faculty is not dominant for everyone – yet this is something that can be trained. So, I do give importance to ‘sensorial manifestation’, but not necessarily visual – also, very often a spirit will need some form of aerial matter to take shape in, like smoke, vapour or mist – and of course if the means for visible manifestation is not there it gets difficult to see the spirit. Feeling, hearing and smelling are good enough affirmations for me. Also, in extension of this, as a person who has been working with possession and altered states of consciousness for 20 years I must say that the most overpowering experiences is not about corporeal possession or seeing spirits in smoke or mirrors – but when nature itself gets ‘possessed’ with the force you are summoning, when you manage to truly bring heaven on earth so to speak for a moment, which would be to render the veil to the other side and co-exist in the same field for some time. I mean, when you summon an entity related to supernatural phenomena’s and you have a storm of hail in the Brazilian jungle, I mean such occurrences do take you back a bit in awe.
Q: What is your advice to the young aspiring magician just getting started today?
A: Always see it as important to centre yourself, try to understand why you are doing magic. Have a daily practice, don’t need to be long, that aims toward sharpen your focus. Strive towards generating a solid foundation in something real and traditional, read, analyse, reflect be critical and sceptical with everything. Strive towards developing courage and truthfulness – always be honest with yourself – and realize that doing magic will always work on you as well – hence keep a track on your own changes as you experiment and find your place. Have as the goal to know yourself – because if you have self-knowledge you will also be able to understand the mysterious matrix of creation in a greater and both intuitive and intellectual way. Whenever hubris or a false sense of inflated and pompous Ego try to rear its ugly head, strike it down fiercely, choose good models and if your purpose of getting involved in magic is merely for the sake of power, be prepared to have your weaknesses and shame pulled out in the open, because power is only gained by getting rid of weakness, shame and ones hidden or repressed sense of being inferior. Always see your life as the measuring stick of how successful you are in your practice, ordeals are always good, strive toward being a warrior that accepts the good and the bad with equal interest realizing that both are potential avenues for blessings, growth and contentment. For me, courage and generosity are always the greatest of virtues and if we really commit to such virtues we will find truth, loyalty, love, strength and peace are likely to follow.
Also, I believe finding kin and likeminded is important, but in this don’t be in a rush. Don’t be tempted by degrees or flattery, be honest in your perception of the others and enter upon resonance and sympathy, never because of despair, personal gain or fall victim for big promises. The path true to your Fate will always torturous, yet it will also be bound in some easiness and naturalness, so again, strive towards being true to yourself and never make yourself bigger or lesser than what you are, realizing the friendliness towards change will bring kin to meet kin and as you find your true centre landscapes will open as you truly understand what freedom is.
Q: What projects do you have coming up later in 2018?
A: I will have a book out or at least announced on Scarlet Imprint around the winter solstice – and I expect to finish a novel. Not a magical novel, but fiction, and honestly I have more ideas and pull towards novels lately than occult themes books. I have a couple of occult book projects I most likely will finish someday, but from what I see I am close to retire as an occult author – at least for the time being. Times are a changing and nothing can ever be final in these deciding moments of our life and I do reserve the right to change my opinion at any time – in fact I believe it is always good to be somewhat fluid in opinions and instead focusing of building a strong foundation and approach life with interest and allow Fate to guide you, we find ourselves in the crossroads of change constantly.
Q: What effect and focus do you think magic should have upon politics and world events?
A: Yeah, this is a tricky one, on one hand participating in politics due to being part of a social structure is in a way a civic duty in theory – but given the idiotic developments of politics in the world where politicians get more and more stupid, greedy and corrupt it is difficult to find any good reason to get involved. I guess this is due to a general negative selection going on in a world that is rapidly getting more and more democratic in everything. It is more and more like pissing against the wind, you just get wet, stinky and discouraged. So, honestly, I am more occupied with creating healthy community and we are slowly turning our grange in Brazil into a green anarchic community, so seeing what we are actually doing I must say that my response to the current political climate is to stay on the outside of it and focus on family and community in close proximity and make this work in good ways, because the world as it has truly entered the age of decay and at some time it will just spin off from its pinnacle in one way or the other. S,, basically I think it is a waste of time to get to involved in politics and world events, I think we get ‘profaned’ by this participation and so it is better to keep an eye on what is going on, but use our precious energy to make our own Garden of Eden instead of wasting it in the hopeless corrupt oligarchy that is running the world today. In this way I guess what I am saying is that if you want to make a change you need to start with yourself and those close to you and allow this to spread, rarely going counter leads to anything else that affirming the same and the other, the synthesis that drives us onward is done in more harmonious ways than counter-movements, demonstrations and general loudness.
Q: What is it that drew you to working within Quimbanda?
A: I think this was a natural unfolding of my interest in African and Afro derived traditions. My first fascination was with Vodou and then with Palo Mayombe – and I found the philosophy and technique behind ‘Kongo sorcery’ to be amazingly attractive and in resonance with me. Studies drew me towards discovery of Exu and Pomba Gira and naturally these spirits being allowed to dress their diabolic iconography was at first very fascinating in the way of magical icons – but pushed ahead by my involvement with Palo it felt natural to also investigate Quimbanda – and so I went to Brazil to study this cult as a part of my anthropology degree at first being motivated to see how the Kongo roots unfolded in this cult. I was actually very lucky in this pursuit as I actually managed to find people who were practicing Quimbanda less coloured by Umbanda and with very little of the draping’s of Umbanda or Candomblé and so it was possible for me to pursue the more African side of this mystery and not only as the ‘left side of Umbanda’ as the core were pretty much in tact if you will. I have many teachers when it comes to Quimbanda so it is fair to say that I have over the years arrived to an understanding and presentation of Quimbanda that attempts to respect the fluidity of a living tradition, but also being as truthful as possible to the African and indigenous influences upon Quimbanda, where land, death, earth and fire becomes the force of the tradition that takes on a majestic sorcerous format.
But I also want to say that what truly intrigued me with Quimbanda was not about the efficiency in spellworks, but in how wonderful these spirits are as guides and teachers. This part was more a fit for me as a seeker of wisdom than the fast black hand of getting ‘magic’ done. I think that the deeper you go into the darkness the brighter the light shines, because the one is supported by the other and it is in this field of contrast between the Sun and the Moon magic happens and in this I believe Exu teaches us ways to go beyond good and evil, to a place where we are coloured red, white and black and the world can truly be our oyster in a play between self-awareness and cosmic awareness..