The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Archive for February 13th, 2012

traitorous somnolence

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- photo by Mitch Waxman

On one of the lonely transmigrations which your humble narrator famously engages in, actually vast pedestrian journeys across the concrete desolations of Western Queens, the walk up 58th street- the former Betts Avenue of colonial era Newtown- might be the loneliest of all. Rimmed by polyandrions of gargantuan acreage, this street hosts no sidewalk to speak of and one must pick ones way in the manner of some roadside mendicant. It is a valley whose cliffs are the masonry walls and iron gates of cemeteries.

This neighborhood is neither Woodside nor Maspeth, it is the angle found between them.

A personal preference is marked for the Eastern side of the street, which follows the stout iron of Mt. Zion’s fences.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The former home of the so called Maspeth Gypsies, a tribe of Romani whose expulsion by Police in the early 20th century is spoken of in hushed whispers by the Centenarians of ancient Maspeth, Mt. Zion is a cemetery set aside for adherents of the Hebrew faith. It is located across the street from the vastness of 3rd Calvary, a Catholic cemetery. Mt. Zion seems crowded, due to the Hebraic tradition of installing a single occupant in a grave, unlike the Roman Catholic institution across the street.

Its residents, at least in this section of the cemetery, are long gone- most of the stones speak to their passing away in a time period long before even rumors of a Second World War became extant in the community.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Peeking through the rotting iron of the fences while trudging along the other day, your humble narrator noticed this small offering hidden away between the cast iron palisade and the first row of graves (or last, were you within the parcel).

Similarities to other instances of peasant magick at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Astoria which have been detailed in prior Newtown Pentacle postings should be remarked upon.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Probably “Afro-Cuban” in origin, the possible etymology of this odd tableau is betrayed by the presence of the Cigar. Tobacco plays a large ritual role in the so called syncretic faiths of Latin and Caribbean religions, and the manufactured item is often used as an offering to the Orisha or Loa- as a symbol of sacrificial wealth or as an embodiment of the virility or power of the magick worker.

Of course, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as the oft quoted (and incorrectly attributed) Freudian saying goes.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

The aluminum pan leaning against the monument contained a burnt offering of some kind, which appeared to be a textile wrapped around something occluded from view, and mingled with a piece of thin wood or perhaps the shell of a coconut which has been cut into some sort of odd shape.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

A closer shot of the arrangement. It would appear that some sort of accelerant was used to accomplish the combustion, something that would have burned off quickly like liquor. The fabric seems charred or singed more than immolated, as if the flames were extinguished quickly.

Of course, your humble narrator is no fire inspector nor arson investigation expert (or an authority on afro-cuban syncretic religious practices for that matter), so these callow observations should be considered mere speculation.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

This is not the first time which arcane leave behinds have been personally observed along this wall, which you’ll notice is constructed out of tombstones. A photo has been run here of a hand carved mortar and pestle which contained an odd ashy substance. The image dates back several years which implies that acolytes and devotees of whatever these forces which are being invoked here, in the heart of the Cemetery Belt, have been at work for a very long time.

One wonders, and more than wonders- could the so called Maspeth Gypsies tell us a thing or two about these legend haunted lowlands found at this angle between Woodside and Maspeth?

Written by Mitch Waxman

February 13, 2012 at 12:15 am

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