The Magical Universe

“In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen. The dogma of science is that the will cannot possibly affect external forces, and I think that’s just ridiculous. It’s as bad as the church. My viewpoint is the exact contrary of the scientific viewpoint. I believe that if you run into somebody in the street it’s for a reason. Among primitive people they say that if someone was bitten by a snake he was murdered. I believe that.” – William S. Burroughs


William S. Burroughs died of a heart attack on August 2nd, 1997.

Years before his death, Robert Anton Wilson (author of the Illuminatus! Trilogy) claimed that William S. Burroughs introduced him to the 23 Enigma (the belief that the number 23 is significant and has connections to everything). In an article for Fortean Times magazine, Wilson had this to say:

“I first heard of the 23 enigma from William S Burroughs, author of Naked LunchNova Express, etc. According to Burroughs, he had known a certain Captain Clark, around 1960 in Tangier, who once bragged that he had been sailing 23 years without an accident. That very day, Clark’s ship had an accident that killed him and everybody else aboard. Furthermore, while Burroughs was thinking about this crude example of the irony of the gods that evening, a bulletin on the radio announced the crash of an airliner in Florida, USA. The pilot was another Captain Clark and the flight was Flight 23.”

Last year before taking on the devotional project for the Dionysian heroes that I’ve been cataloging on this blog, I was asked to determine if William S. Burroughs and Prince would like to be honored in the project as they were Dionysian in life but they had never been engaged with in this manner before. The results of the divination were interpreted by myself as both men answering in the affirmative that they would like to be engaged with as Dionysian Dead.

I was born December 31, 1996. I am 23 years old.

Today is August 2nd, 2020. The 23rd anniversary of the death of William S. Burroughs and the beginning of his cult as Dionysian Dead which has been officially started by an individual of the age of 23.

Circles, circles…

Dionysos-Osiris and Isis-Selene

Cassius Dio, Roman History 50.1-5

For Kleopatra had enslaved him so absolutely that she persuaded him to act as gymnasiarch to the Alexandrians; and she was called ‘queen’ and ‘mistress’ by him, had Roman soldiers in her bodyguard, and all of these inscribed her name upon their shields. She used to frequent the market-place with him, joined him in the management of festivals and in the hearing of lawsuits, and rode with him even in the cities, or else was carried in a chair while Antony accompanied her on foot along with her eunuchs. He also termed his headquarters ‘the palace,’ sometimes wore an oriental dagger at his belt, dressed in a manner not in accordance with the customs of his native land, and let himself be seen even in public upon a gilded couch or a chair of that kind. He posed with her for portrait paintings and statues, he representing Osiris or Dionysos and she Selene or Isis. This more than all else made him seem to have been bewitched by her through some enchantment.

The God Abandons Antony

Constantine P. Cavafy, The God Abandons Antony

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.