I will forgive those of you who are outside of the Phish fan base for not knowing about the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
“SPAC” as it is lovingly known, is a majestic and modern esoteric wonder in it’s own right. This place is at once a truly beautiful state park and also simultaneously a top notch outdoor music theater, hotel and well… What my friends and I describe as “the ruins”.
What you see above, is but a small sampling of the statues, urns and other unnamed artifacts from around the grounds of the complex. This place was built for magic and I for one, had a lot of fun with simple tech here on one particular evening which I shall reiterate henceforth.
Now, the reason that that I call this place the ruins is because when you walk around the grounds, it feels as if you are walking around a Greek or Roman temple and while the entire place is in pristine condition, while under the influence of say, mushrooms, the whole place has the vibration of something much older.
In addition to the fact that this place just feels like it is already a magical place it would be of importance to mention the fact that a fair amount of phish fans are likely in highly altered states of consciousness for various reasons when the bands annual three day run takes place. This alone tends to condense instances of synchronicity ten fold. So for those of you who understand, this place at these times truly make for ripe grounds of enchantment.
What follows is the story of chaos magic in action at one of these events…
It was the summer of 2013 (if I am not mistaken). My wife and the members of my then band “Jabooda”, had descended upon SPAC for the second night of a three day run of concerts.
After enjoying the merits of partying at a local camp ground with some of friends, we finished our beers, split a bag of mushrooms and walked about mile to get to the venue. The main road leading through the state park to the amphitheater is appropriately named “Avenue Of The Pines”.
Once on the grounds, we all began to feel a bit jovial to say the least. Our pre-show snack had began to take hold and the buildings intricate brick work began to morph into fractal mosaics pulsing with energy from the crowd, eagerly waiting for the show to start.
Many fans, while waiting would walk around the area we dubbed “the ruins” in the center of a large field there was a shallow pool of water, on each side a beautiful building, carbon copies of each other facing towards the center of the pool.
On the outer rim of the pool, there was a sand path which surrounded the pool for people to walk along. As showtime began to get closer, my friend Jon and then secondary guitarist from my band, said he had been trying to find our drummer Chuck to no avail and he needed to speak with him about something important.
Now Chuck was not a big fan of the band. While a devout dead head, Phish did not really interest him much and he had come along primarily for the party outside the amphitheater.
Looking at Jon, I smiled and said “hold on a second, I’ll help you find Chuck”. Kneeling down to the sandy path and grabbing a stick from the lawn, I wrote “I FOUND CHUCK” in the sand. After sigilizing the letter set and charging the sigil simply by letting my mind warp the symbol, I got up and stepped back as a golf cart drove over the sigil.
What are you doing asked Jon, looking dumbfounded? Smiling, I said, “just a moment”. I walked over to where some lilies had been growing and plucked two or three of them. I then walked over to one of the statues of the Greek looking figures and said a quick prayer asking for my sigils effect to be bolstered by the assistance of the entity in return for the offering of flowers which I left at the statues feet.
Suddenly, the crowed roared and cheered, the gates had opened and everyone began to head into the amphitheater. Let’s go, I said to Jon! What about Chuck, he asked?
Don’t worry man, he will pop up, I said with grin…
On the way into the show, I explained sigils, offerings and other tidbits about chaos magic. Jon seemed intrigued but skeptical. Once inside, we made our way to our standard spot on the left side of the lawn facing the left side of the stage. The lights when down, the band came out and as they began to play, everyone started to dance and cheer.
A few songs into the set, the sky opened up and it began to pour. Everyone was awash in light, sound and rain drops. Time slowed down or sped up and everything became intoxicatingly beautiful.
A few moments later, everyone behind us began to cheer and clap. Turning around Jon and I saw Chuck leaping forward over a ten foot tall fence, plopping to the ground and subsequently sliding down the muddy hill coming to rest right next to Jon. Tapping Jon on the shoulder, he turned to look at me.
Grinning at him I said, “and that’s how it works”.