Having an airport is just the start of it.
For years, three Indian women would show up before 7am at Nadi 'International' arrivals, just as the flight from Sydney landed, and unpack cartons of cigarettes and bottles of Bounty, a (recommended) Fijian overproof rum.
That's your duty free right there. You were expecting camera chargers and perfume?
The woman who more-or-less raised my father when he was shipped off from Papua New Guinea to Sydney at the age of five, his mother's cousin, married rather beneath her station.
She came from money and her husband didn't. (They were together for over sixty years so there's a lesson in that. Always choose love and F the haterz.) Partly as a honeymoon, partly as a 'get out of Vaucluse until there is another topic of gossip', they embarked on a world tour.
I am very jealous of this. To travel the world in that gleaming Sinatra age of silver jets and enormous leather seats. Where it might take three days to get to London but everyone on the flight, right up to the captain, is smoking and drinking martinis and there's potentially an open grill cooking steaks somewhere. Where you could probably land the plane yourself if you asked nice enough.
And in all the world, the place she came back and told my father about in hushed tones? The hotel where my little brother got married last year. At the time, there wasn't even roads to it. The place must have been like that island where Ganesha lives that only sporadically exists in our dimension. Now it's dated but immaculately maintained, like a classic car. It's so very fifties but I like that.
Eventually, after a decade of going there at least once a year, the impact of the road and the expanded airport meant that my father had to look further afield to capture that childhood feeling. (Needing a more extreme diving fix may also have been a factor.) Large-scale tourism had found this corner of Fiji. That's not a bad thing for a country that relies on it but still... get in the seaplane.
So the next nine years were spent going to this place, on the very edge of Fiji:
Large-scale tourism hadn't quite found this place by then. Neither had scientific materialism, it turned out.
If you've ever encountered a Dutch person anywhere near the equator, you'll know their skin has a colour I like to call 'backpacker orange'. They don't look like a condom filled with angry lobsters, the way an English person does. Their colouring -both male and female- is more controlled, more deliberate, almost more smug.
The Dutch have the supernatural, carotene glow of a people who don't care if you care if they're nude in front of your whole family. The photo of the dead man I was shown had this colouring.
I can't speak to the situation today as I haven't been there in ten years, but when we would visit, more than half the island was tapu. This Dutch man was travelling alone. And on the day before he was due to leave from the jetty below, he decided to wander around the island, to take a few final photographs.
He wasn't seen at the buffet that evening. He missed his ferry. The next day, he was found, sitting against a coconut tree, Pentax still around his neck. If you look at the flat piece of land in the foreground of the aerial shot... that's all tapu. (Notice the distinct lack of buildings.) And that's where he was found.
This specimen of perfect health had died of a massive heart attack in the lowest-possible stress situation you could literally ever imagine.
Which brings me to a post about spiritual trespassing from more than three years ago, one that is linked to more than most of the others. It may not be there anymore, but there was a shell map of the island just outside the main restaurant that named all the beaches and listed the different locations that were tapu.
When it comes to psychological impact, a shell map probably sits somewhere near a blog post in terms of its capacity to alter your occult behaviour.
Because the Rune Soup Guide To Spiritual Trespassing somewhat resembles the pirate code. It's more like guidelines than actual rules. For certain, you should adhere to them when out in public, or speaking in a public arena... to do otherwise makes you a complete asshole. If you can remember back to being four or five, when your parents would tell you not to pick your nose or put your hands down your pants at your friend's birthday party (just me?)... it's like that. Play with your balls at home. Not while someone is blowing wax on a dessert you're going to be made to eat off a napkin.
If I've learned anything from the inescapable oxymoron that is having a moderately popular occult blog, it is that no one listens, anyway. And you know what? That's completely fine. Completely fine.
Because I probably don't care if you live or die, and I sincerely hope you repay me the courtesy. One of the many inevitable logic traps of getting caught up in the occult is that death is no big thing. More specifically, it isn't even close to the worst case scenario.
Understanding this activates the 'watch the world burn' craving built into every chaos magician. Go on then... declare yourself to Santa Muerte, gringo. I kinda want to see what happens next.
This is probably as close as I get to textbook psychopathy but I am completely serious. The tiger shark in the above photo (from Aqua Trek Fiji, not mine) is not the biggest shark I've been in the water with... and whether or not I own a goldfish is probably not going to have a huge bearing on its decision to bite me in my delicious midsection.
Having good intentions or being respectful is only going to get you so far. Because whatever these things we deal with are, they are weird. There is no crossover in how they think and how we think. Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits puts it in a more amusing way:
God isn't interested in technology. He knows nothing of the potential of the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how He spends His time! Forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!
I do not doubt that the dead Dutchman was genuinely respectful and sincerely interested in Polynesian culture. He would not have wandered onto tapu land, scoffing about these ignorant savages and their small beliefs, he would not have assumed that the God of Abraham would keep him safe.
He died, nonetheless.
And that is your risk, also. Because wizards meddle. It's what we do. There is no reverse psychology in this post... trespass away! Whenever someone tries to restrict what you should or shouldn't be doing it is always, always for their own ego trip. Which is why it is so difficult to write about certain magical topics... ATR and literally any reconstructionism leap immediately to mind. Some topics are covered in anoraks. (I lament that this word never jumped the pond because it is perfect for the modern magical scene.)
Keep to the code. Respect for other people should always be maintained. Because it has a measurable impact on their lives. Respect for The Neighbours should also be maintained, even just as best practice, but don't kid yourself that it will make any difference.
Who gives a shit?
- One, if it's in you, you've already ignored the trespassing advice, anyway. And
- Two, no one is going to know. So go nuts.
I find little to argue with in Nick's recent post regarding what makes an occultist. What is left off the list, however, is that the odds of a peaceful, lengthy, wealthy retirement aren't great. If history is any judge, we will all likely meet our respective ends in some bed-bug-infested garret, wheezing our last breath through clouds of frankincense, desperate to reach whatever demon is responsible for expediting pension payments.
That's the road you are on. Get off now if you don't like the destination.
Otherwise... declare yourself the transdimensional attaché to the Secret Chiefs from the great Marawa, Spider God of the Banks Islands in Melanesia, the trickster who stole immortality from mankind. Set up THE temple to an entity that even cannibals feared in your carpeted, nowheresville garage. Truly... be my guest.
Just remember what Crowley said about certain spirits:
"Be careful. They bite."