The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

Posts Tagged ‘Altar

idly digging

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Another odd occult altar encountered, this one in Maspeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Involuntarily marching about in Queensican DUKBO (Down under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp) recently, on my way over to East Williamsburg to conduct an iteration of the “Insalubrious Valley of the Newtown Creek” walking tour, an occult altar was encountered not far from the bridge. It was at the grade crossing of the Haberman rail siding, nearby the intersection of 49th street and 56th road in Maspeth.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

This area has been observed, in the past, hosting some odd activity. The very same spot is where the “3 Headless Chickens” described in this 2012 post were found.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The ceramic plate was filled with what looked like corn meal or some other roughly ground grain. The liquor bottle was white rum, and there was a considerable amount of the stuff in the bottle. The fact that it hasn’t been scooped up and consumed is noteworthy.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The eight arranged dark shapes seemed to be yams or sweet potatoes. There was some sort of shape impressed into the “corn meal” which reminds me of some skinny or tiny person’s naked butt, or possibly those tablets which Moses brandished about.

Entirely likely that there’s a missing piece to this altar which was swept aside by rail traffic passing over it, imho.

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July 12th, 2015
Glittering Realms Walking Tour
with Newtown Creek Alliance, click here for details and tickets.

Written by Mitch Waxman

June 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

other objects

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Curiouser and curiouser.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One has been encountering these odd little offerings and altar pieces for a while now, here in the Astoria section of Queens. This post from March of 2014, and this one from 2011 illustrate and speculate upon their origins and purpose. The one pictured above was discovered in calendrical confluence with the celebrations of lunar new year that are practiced by many of the cultures hailing from Asia. Chinese New Year fell on April 19th in 2015, for instance, and the shots offered in today’s post were captured on the morning of the 20th.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As in prior instances and encounters with these… are they small altars, or offerings, or… All I can offer is a brief description without any interpretation or insight. They seem to be molded out of a doughy substance, several different doughy substances actually. This one was obviously disturbed and jostled – whether by the careless footfalls of passerby, or the curious examinations of some canine, I cannot say. The central figure was roughly hewn, and held a candle in its lap.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A block away on the same date, at 34th avenue’s intersection with 43rd street, this example was found. The workmanship seemed quite a bit more advanced, and it was entirely undisturbed. It’s facing essentially north west, if that might have any significance to somebody who knows what these things are. Speculations about prior sightings have pointed towards Latin American Santeria, but there’s no coins and I cannot imagine a Padrino using a plastic plate. Santeria practice would demand a “plate of great price.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What I’m seeing here is a sculptural tableau of some kind, and due to the proximity of lunar New Year, one likely connected to the traditions of Asia. Anybody out there recognize what these things are, and which culture they emanate from? Tibetan, maybe? If this looks familiar, please educate the rest of us and leave a comment for everyone else to read.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

February 25, 2015 at 11:00 am

dawn flushed

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The Newtown Pentacle is back in session.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

A brief vacation has been accomplished, lords and ladies, and once more the burning thermonuclear eye of god itself rises over the concrete devastations of the Newtown Pentacle. In today’s post, photos of another one of the odd little altars and concurrent offerings to unknown gods which one commonly finds on the streets of Queens. This one was spotted on 34th avenue at 46th street just a couple of weeks ago.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Wine, roses, tobacco. Two plastic chalices, one black and the other red. A plate forms the focal, one which has some sort of grain or flour and what appeared to be the skin of a citrus fruit contained within it. There was also a bit of ash. The arrangement has obviously been disturbed by wind and or dogs before a humble narrator happened across it.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

My guess would be that some sort of Afro Cuban faith is at work here, and that this “working” was designed to snare or keep a mate – but that could be my personal cultural biases speaking. Any magickal insight out there amongst you, lords and ladies? Leave a comment below and chime in if you’ve got any opinions on what’s going on in these shots.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

December 1, 2014 at 11:00 am

jutting promontory

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Witches, or Warlocks, are at work in Astoria.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

For several years, your humble narrator has been documenting an odd usage of St. Michael’s Cemetery here in Astoria. An adherent to a presumptively afro-cuban syncretic faith has been performing rituals in Section 10 since at least 2010. The phenomena is discussed at great length in the November 2010 post “pale garden.

By 2012, things had quieted down a bit here. Perhaps the postings alerted the cemetery management to the situation or the magick worker him or herself might have come across them and realized someone was watching.

The other day, one had an afternoon to fill, and scuttled over to St. Michael’s to see if any new developments might be observed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Unfortunately, upon arriving at the graveyard, one observed a crew of groundkeepers hard at work. This meant that any evidence I might find would be disturbed by the actions of lawn mowers and weed whackers, but I headed over to section 10 anyway. That’s where the main “altar’ is.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On the ground, as expected, there was naught but grass clippings and the odd piece of wind blown litter. On the ‘altar” there was a small metallic chalice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

It seemed to be made of fairly common materials, possibly a cheap alloy given the cosmetic qualities of brass.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Inside was ash. A particulate and grainy sort of ash.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By the way, there’s two cool Working Harbor Committee events going on this weekend you might want to attend.

Saturday, the 30th is a Port Newark excursion onboard the Circle Line with Captain John Doswell, Ed Kelly of the Maritime Association of Port of NY/NJ and Maggie Flanagan – Marine Educator South Street Seaport Museum. The boat boards at 10:30, sails at 11, and returns at 1:30. Click here for more info and tix.

Sunday, the 31st is the annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition. 10:00 AM – Parade of tugs from Pier 84 to the start line. 10:30 AM – Race starts – From South of 79th Street Boat Basin (near Pier I) to Pier 84. 11 AM – Nose to nose pushing contests and line toss competition. Noon – Tugs tie up to Pier 84 for lunch and awards ceremony. Exhibits, amateur line toss, spinach eating contest 1 PM – Awards ceremony. Tugs depart at about 2 PM.

For tix on the spectator boat, click here.

 

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Written by Mitch Waxman

August 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

crushed convulsively

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A ritual observance observed.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Spotted this on Northern Blvd. at 35th avenue last Sunday. Similar to prior findings, this assemblage of ad hoc sculpture seemed to be composed of common kitchen items. The best peasant magicks usually are. Oddly enough, Queenscrap ran a piece today about a similar find from nearby in Woodside – check it out here.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As to the “prior findings,” this looks eerily similar in technique and medium to the subject of the 2011 Newtown Pentacle post “little memories.” Incidentally, that find also happened during the month of March.

The Queenscrap post links out to a thread at Reddit which postulates that this is a Tibetan offering/arrangement, called a Torma. Ignorance is my watchword, and your humble narrator confesses to it. These things have stumped me whenever I’ve tried to figure them out, which is odd as obscure occult lore is one of my hobbies.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

I’m pals with a Tibetan guy that lives across the street from me – a combat hardened U.S. Marine (and immigrant) with multiple tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq under his belt who is trying to readjust to civilian life. Think I’ll show him these pics. Maybe he’ll be able to confirm or deny their Tibetan provence, or perhaps he’ll take one look at them and run screaming into the night knowing that these idols signal the presence in the neighborhood of an unspeakable cult that was old when the world was young.

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Written by Mitch Waxman

March 4, 2014 at 11:35 am

little memories

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

Primarily stated, I really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at right now. Was it sitting on the corner sidewalk of 43rd street and Broadway in Astoria on March 5? Yes. That’s the only factual thing which can be presented about it, along with a studied opinion that it’s some sort of ritual object.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

One of the local gentry had shown me a cell phone photograph of something similar last year, which matched the style and workmanship of this object in substantial ways. The figurines seemed to be composed of some sort of dough, which brought to mind the exquisite and artistically evolved sculptural artifices of “Dia de los muerte” or “Day of the Dead” celebrations that emanate from the near equatorial cultures of North and Central America (Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras etc.).

Those objects, however, are stylistically differentiated from this.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

What we’re looking at here, and we’ll take a closer look in the following shots, had obviously been intruded on roughly by the hustle and bustle of Broadway with its teeming multitudes. Doubt is expressed that this was the original configuration of these objects, which obscures its meaning.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

As mentioned, the obviously hand molded pieces appeared to be composed of dough. Notice the central figurine with the drawn in hair and face, and the torn lottery ticket. Notice also the grains of rice and coins.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Isolated to specific areas, various odd components seem to contrast each other, which is a standard technique in selecting ritual offerings.

The yellow orange powder in the North East corner had the appearance of having been machine milled, and looked a great deal like a saffron powder of some sort. There’s also a bead.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

South East featured a rough hewn clump with a cocktail sword sitting in it and some unidentifiable brown organics which might have once been fruit or flowers.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

South West had this composite clumping, with another hunk of brown mystery.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

North West featured variegation, with a bisected lime, several raw chile peppers, what appeared to be a piece of meat, coins, and rice.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Long time readers know the ridiculous lengths normally gone to at this- your Newtown Pentacle- to explain and detail the meanings of these ritual sites and objects which may be found around the City of New York. Remember the weirding works at St. Michael’s Cemetery, the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons in Manhattan, or the witch knots at Calvary?

This one, however, has me stumped. Anybody out there have any idea what we’re looking at beyond the material and obvious?

Note: All comments are moderated (by me personally), so if you’d prefer to stay private, please indicate it and your message will not be “published” although I’ll filter out any identifying information about you.

Written by Mitch Waxman

March 27, 2011 at 12:15 am

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