Greg Humphries is one of my closest friends. I met him over 15 years ago in the Watershed Arts Centre in Bristol. Our meeting was set-up by the wonderful and wise Ronald Hutton who said we simply had to get to know each other. I remember carrying a copy of Crowley’s Magick (the Routledge & Kegan Paul edition, affectionately known as ‘The Big Pink Stiff One’ back in the day) to identify myself. We got on like a temple on fire, soon agreeing that an acid test of a good magician was their ability to interact successfully with spirits. And since the most frequently encountered spirits are other humans the measure of a mage is often nothing to do with their ‘occult powers’ or dark-n-spooky look, but rather their social intelligence, thoughtfulness, and standing in their community. We started doing magick together very soon after that meeting (with a big set of rituals on the run up to the major solar eclipse of 1999, but that, as they say, is another story). We’ve continued to do magick together ever since.
Many years later we wrote Now That’s What I Call Chaos Magick, Volumes I & II. I wrote volume I and Greg the second part of the book (although it was many years before someone pointed out to me that nowhere in the book do we say who wrote which bits). This book detailed our differing but complimentary approaches to the process know as Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
At the time Greg was already a practising artist (an early digital artwork of his is on the cover of Now…). I’m lucky enough to own several of his paintings. Artworks where the paint is often mixed with pigments and materials from the landscape they are inspired by. But then Greg’s art underwent a transformation. Away from visual art, and into what for him is a deeper practice. These days he makes artists’ charcoal, coppices trees, fashions powerful bows with hand-made arrows fletched in the traditional manner. He carves, builds, makes fire with a bow drill and works with the land. More than this, as an artist, as a magician, he passes these skills on to others. You can find out more about his work and the courses he offers at www.futuretracks.co.uk and via his page on facebook.
This interview was conducted as we sat by the wood burner in my cottage (if you listen carefully you might be able to hear my Guinea pigs rumblestrutting in the background). The music used at the beginning and end of the interview is by Munacuyki Sumaqta.
A beautiful interview. Thank you.
It made me reflect though about the need we – humans – have to be DOING things.
Yesterday I went with a few children for a walk in the woods. We stopped, closed our eyes and tried to identify 5 different natural sounds. Later we stopped again looking for 5 different colours. Then we tasted 5 different things, looked for 5 different shapes, odours… This is my magickal way of helping people to BE apart of nature.
I later reflected upon Greg’s beautiful work, would we feel any closer to nature have we made fire or weaved a basket…?
Is doing/making things a stronger magickal act?