A Wheel of Small Gods

poems by

Brian Wilkins

with original illustrations by Brennen Reece

Forthcoming in Autumn 2021

Modern medicine impoverished its ability to heal when it broke with magic. Removing the images, incantations, and invocations that accompanied and enhanced the material aspects of healing did more than just reduce the effectiveness of physicians: it severed the link to the spirit that made us whole.

A Wheel of Small Gods is an attempt, in poetry and block print, to restore what was lost. It is 36 poems  and images connecting the reader specifically to the decan spirits—the 36 Egyptian gods ruling illness and a tenth of the zodiac—for the purpose of healing. It’s a wager, based on classical practice and contemporary placebo research, that art will serve as a spell not to replace advances in medicine but augment them with what we’ve forgotten and only started to relearn.

Halfway between The Orphic Hymns  and The Long Lost Friend, we hope that A Wheel of Small Gods bridges the gap left by materialist medicine, bringing our healing relationships full circle.

Excerpt from the Introduction:

It is imperative we engage in ritual imaginative processes, in magic, to better heal ourselves. It is an important part of the understanding of medicine that we’ve lost. And I think that art is the first place to start with that engagement with ritual. You can contemplate a picture and read a poem. You can believe in the power of that to help you heal. And you should, because it does.

Ritual healing works in the way medicine works: it engages with circumstances that increase your chance to heal. And like medicine, if improperly administered it can hurt. The good news is that the process is simple. Expect healing. You will raise the odds of recovery. The lack of specificity and control with art, the attempt at general uplift, is one of its advantages in many circumstances.

These poems and drawings are ways to connect to spirits. These spirits heal. Whether you draw inspiration from the method, find your own better answers, or use it in contemplation, the goal is to help you engage with magic.

What you see here is filtered through our experience—this is a field guide, not channeled material. I am not presenting poems that are the voice of the decan. I am showing you my notes on what I found traveling in that country.

The poems are narrative and imagistic scenes,not invocations in the traditional sense. Rather than call down powers and bind them with formulae composed of angelic names, fumigations, and drawn circles, I am offering a way into an ecstatic state that allows a chance for meeting. I am writing you a letter of introduction to some good friends.

About the Poet

Brian Wilkins is a magician, poet, and taijiquan teacher. You can find more about his work at www.wilkinsbrian.com

About the Artist

Artist, author, and musician Brennen Reece has been reading tarot since he was 12, and drew his first SATOR square soon after. In addition to studying jazz guitar with Steve Giordano and Pat Martino, he has certificates in Advanced Design Thinking from IDEO, Mastering Design Thinking from MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Systems Thinking from Cornell University. In 2019, he received a Gold ENnie Award for his cover art for Harlem Unbound (Darker Hue Studios). He is the author of Productivity for the Depressive Polymath, and illustrator of The Retromodern Tarot.

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