cut-up technique with Carolina Dean

This is a petition paper crafted by Carolina Dean using the cut-up technique that I’ve been meaning to bring y’all’s attention to. He’s done quite a few of them but this is the one that caught my attention at first and prompted me to ask if I could quote and use it as an example.

I love this so much, as a rootworker and as a former literature professor. I think the technique is really powerful on a number of levels. Of course it’s a petition/prayer and depending on how you structure it, an affirmation. And the construction of a petition paper is a ritual in itself, of course.

Now a lot of people don’t see it that way because it’s (apparently) simple, and to their minds, “real” spells and rituals are “fancier” than that. Like so:

“I need a spell to use this oil in.”

“Dress a candle with it and set it on a petition paper.”

“But I need a spell.”

“Sweetie, that *is* a spell.”

“No, you know, a *real* spell!”

“Fine. Hot glue a quartz crystal to your forehead, anoint both elbows and one foot with coconut oil, sacrifice a bouquet of kale with a plastic sword toothpick (must be red), and read the first three and last two stanzas of this Emily Dickinson poem. Widdershins.”

“Is this voodoo?”

“Yes, baby, it’s voodoo.” [thud]

So a petition ought to take a while. It ought to take thinking. It ought to need more than one draft. And this technique builds in that thinking time and the act of selection and all the other elements that it ought to have anyway but often doesn’t.

And then less obviously, perhaps, it can itself be instructive, even oracular, as we search for the “found elements” that will make up our petition/prayer. I mean, sure, you can think of the process as related to bibliomancy in a way, but think about this, too: How far did we have to go to find the right words? Are we surrounded by them in our homes and spaces? Did we have to look far to find the right words, or were they already around us? *What are we surrounding ourselves with already* right now? What are we reading? Repeating? Internalizing?

And then there are the messages/words/statements/prayers that aren’t purely from a separate source and aren’t purely our conscious creation but are a result of the interplay between both – something new. Exactly like writing a poem or writing fiction, we can surprise ourselves with what we put down on the page when we get rolling if we just get out of our own way. We might discover an angle of something we hadn’t been consciously aware of before, or we might even answer our own questions sometimes.

Are there any messages *for* us in what we’re creating? Any new perspectives or avenues emerging that we couldn’t see or hear before?

And a lot of folks have a lot of trouble making space in their lives to sit and create in that open-ended sort of way where it isn’t all deadline- and goal-driven, end-product-driven. And I think not having at least a little regular space for that kind of expression in our lives is soul-stunting (and thus – ultimately – prosperity-stunting). So this can be a therapeutic practice as well as a magical act/process even while it’s also artistic and creative in its own right.

In other words, I think it’s a brilliant technique.

He’s got a video up at youtube where he goes into this technique, its background and history, and how he personally uses it. (And yes, if you’re thinking all of this could get into William S. Burroughs, tools for altering consciousness, and methods for jailbreaking restrictive paradigms of perception, you’d be right, so there’s something potentially useful for you here even if you’re 1000% allergic to contemporary discourse around “law of attraction” stuff. Like me lol)