Mad Mister Mark
Weird. Queer. Cunning.
“The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad.”– Salvador Dalí
I started reading Tarot cards around the time Shirley MacLaine was Out on a Limb. John Goodavage taught me to write my own horoscope. Inspired by Firestarter, Dreamscape, and Altered States, my teenage friends and I practiced ESP and astral projection. At the same time, I was deeply immersed in my Southern Baptist church. I wrestled with queerness in an era when AIDS was headline news.
I headed off to college to become a minister, and I ended up with a degree in theater. I encountered Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade.
I kissed a boy, then lots of boys. I had my first drink, and then lots of drinks. Lots and lots of drinks.
My world opened up. I was ready to explore.
Astrology and tarot led me to paganism. Ol’ Scott Cunningham introduced me to Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner. Shakti Gawain encouraged me to visualize creatively. And Serge Shahili King opened a doorway to urban shamanism.
Natalie Goldberg had me write down my bones. Migene Gonzalez-Wippler pulled back the curtain on Santería (I nearly killed myself drawing down lightning with a half-cocked ritual to Chango).
In a clearance bin at Books & Company in Dayton, Ohio, I discovered Israel Regardie’s thick Golden Dawn brick for $3.99. It quickly convinced me I knew nothing at all.
Tarot and astrology were faithful companions, but I turned from metaphysics to sex and booze.
Only when I accumulated sufficient suffering on that front did I return to the spiritual. Buddhism offered answers for dealing with suffering. Deep, profound answers I did not care to follow. Not until I had no other choice…
In April 2007, I crashed and burned. Alcoholism had corrupted every aspect of my life. With the help of a twelve-step program, I disconnected from a life of spirits and reconnected with spiritual life.
Everything I thought I knew, I had to re-examine. I pursued Buddhist psychology to deep and transformative places. Although tarot and astrology were still in my blood, I wasn’t sure if I could trust them. I questioned if they were symptomatic of ‘magical thinking’.
On August 21, 2017 the Great Northern Eclipse reached its greatest degree of occultation very close to my house. A respected mystic and poet friend of mine asked to trade a tarot reading for a natal chart. Preparing her chart, all the tumblers in my heart fell into place and a storehouse of forgotten treasures opened.
Around this same time I discovered the podcast ‘Fortune’s Wheelhouse.’ The cohosts were smart, funny, and they reminded me of the rigorous traditions of Western hermetics. They gave me permission to embrace to my esoteric roots.
Over the past two years, I’ve resumed my metaphysical studies with an unquenchable thirst. My esoteric understanding has become more subtle and profound. So after thirty years, I’m going pro.
Mad Mister Mark has always been an alter ego. He lets me explore topics and traditions that scare me. Mad Mister Mark is a pseudonym and a symbol. A patron and a provocateur.
Together he and I invite you to join us as we explore undiscovered frontiers of Mystery.