All Hail, The Staff ! Photo by Dan Sumption

It’s been exactly a month since the Money Burning Ritual at Festival 23 — the celebration of Discordian counterculture that took place in Greno Woods, Sheffield, UK. A dozen people burned around £230 between them, with another fifty actively participating.

I’m the guy in the bowler hat in the center of the picture. I’m unable put into words how it felt, so I’ll leave the picture (above) and video (below) to speak for me. The meaning of ritual inheres within the doing of it. Any attempt to extract or isolate that meaning will always fall short. So rather than focus too much on the ritual, instead I’ll first present a few ideas about money and its ritualized sacrifice, and then tell the story of how we came to be there, burning money, in a field near Sheffield at 23.00 on Saturday 23rd July 2016.

There will be periods of exposure to money burning invocation propaganda which may increase your propensity to burn money. You read on at your own risk.

1.23 min video by Adam Baker

All Hail, The Staff !

Why Burn Money?

I gave a talk before the ritual. I wanted to get across the idea that money burning can be a potent and meaningful sacrificial ritual, if we choose to make it so. I didn’t go into much depth because we were all keen to do the ritual, rather than listen to me talk about it.

So, here are three key points that I think might help make sense of money burning.

  1. As the general equivalent value form money is an ideal sacrament. In other words, the idea that money can be anything and everything makes burning it — turning it into nothing — especially potent metaphysically, symbolically and magically. By burning money you are, in a sense, burning everything — including yourself (although hopefully, not literally).
  2. Related to 1., is the idea that currency was born of ritual sacrifice. Two theories about it are that money evolved from votive offerings or from spits used to distribute the meat of sacrificed animals. Ritual sacrifice was the focal point for a group’s social, psychological, and sexual relations, and so economic ideas that conceive of money as a ‘social relation’ (as opposed to it being ‘a thing’ or representation of ‘a thing’) build directly upon these sacrificial foundations. What I try to get across within the ritual itself, is that by making a sacrament of currency we are returning money to it’s source.
  3. The final and possibly the most important point is about the ritual as an act of pure forgiving. I hope that all those who participated — whether or not they burned — experienced this as engendered within the ritual. Money burning is equivalent to pure forgiving because it is ‘giving without receiving’. Pure forgiveness requires that we forgive the unforgivable. And it’s this contradiction or ‘impossibility’ that money burning approaches.

It’s important to understand that your expectations about money burning will influence your experience of it. Money seems to have a quality that subverts the normal rules of cause and effect. Financial experts talk about the expectations and outcomes that surround money as being ‘reflexive’ — meaning that they operate in a feedback loop with each determining the other. Because of this, in thinking about money burning, it’s best to avoid the trap of conceiving of it as a form of ritualized ‘spending’; as if your sacrifice were the ‘price’ for your experience of it. To do so would be to repeat the same patterns of behavior and thought that characterize our normal financial and economic relations. Much better to have in mind the idea that money burning is pure waste, the creation NOTHING from something.

Of course, the waste of money is in part what makes money burning so taboo. The determination to break a taboo requires a commitment on your behalf. The value of that promise to yourself, is more than the value of the note(s) you choose to burn. You are pushing beyond conventional wisdom and morality and creating a new boundary and a new relation with money. You are subsuming reason — and currency — to your will.

Money will still determine what you can buy. And for most of us it will determine the bigger part of what we do, too. We live in the world of rational calculation. Before we burn we weigh up the anticipated pain against the amount of money. And when done, we are back in the rational world, just poorer. But in the moment of the burn, we destroy currency and the system of thought that surrounds it. That is a moment of new possibilities.

Money burning is a material change in your relation to money. No amount of theorizing can replicate the experience of money burning. We must have the evidence of our senses because they are the reality in which money exists. We experience money through its impact on our minds and bodies. The fear and faith, love and hate, joy and pain we feel around money are its landscape. Money exists within these oppositions. It’s the AND of ‘The One and The Many’. It is that which both brings things together, and separates them. The ones and zeros in banks’ computers are a representation of money, not its essence. Its essence is with us, in our experience of being and consciousness. It’s not out there in the numbers, it’s in here with you and me.

Most important of all is what you are doing right now. If you can allow for the possibility that there is some form of redemptive magic in money burning, then you will have carved open a space in your mindscape for its reality to exist. It doesn’t need to be an article of faith. You don’t need to declare it to anyone. It just needs to be an idea seeded in your mind which can flower in ritual. Since the dawn of civilization, sacrificial ritual has been a profound originating moment around which our lives have flowed. The wasting of life was experienced as a connection to the Divine.

Burning a £20 or £50 note (or US$50 or US$100, or EU€50) can connect you to the experience of sacrificial ritual in a meaningful way.

How do a group of people actually end up deciding to burn money at a festival on a Saturday night?

The short answer is that The Staff [All Hail, The Staff] is manifesting itself in the world of its own being.

Let’s stick with the long answer for now, though. In this section, I’m going to give a very brief history of Discordianism and the KLF. I’ll also talk about John Higgs’ The KLF: Chaos, Magic, Money and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds and Daisy Campbell’s The Cosmic Trigger Play. I’ll tell you how I’m woven into the story too, as the ‘money burning guy’. Once I’ve given you the long answer we’ll go back to the short one, where I’ll explain my magical cosmos. Then, with the elements of the story properly aligned, you’ll be able to understand why a festival had a money burning ritual at 23:00 on a Saturday night and why people participated.

Discordianism is a religion based on the veneration of Eris, Goddess of Chaos. The reasoning goes that, as chaos is the fundamental principle of reality, the supreme being most worthy of worship is Eris. Discordianism is playful and mischievous leading some to believe that it is actually a joke, rather than a religion. This is absolutely not true (it is).

The Discordian Holy Book is Principia Discordia written by Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley in 1963. The first edition of just five copies was secretly photocopied on the Xerox machine of Louisiana District Attorney, Jim Garrison. Greg Hill’s girlfriend was Garrison’s secretary at the time. Garrison later became famous through his role as investigator of the JFK assassination. As an early example of the astonishing twists of fate that will run throughout this entire story, in 1968 — five years after that secret photocopying — Garrison subpoenaed Thornley to appear before a grand jury to explain his connections to Lee Harvey Oswald (the man who shot JFK). The two men had served together in the military and Garrison was convinced — because of the circumstantial evidence he’d uncovered — that they’d conspired in JFK’s assassination. Thornley was eventually acquitted but became understandably a little paranoid. At the time, the events that connected Thornley to Oswald were described as ‘the most fantastic chain of coincidences ever’.

From 1965 until 1971, Robert Anton Wilson worked at Playboy magazine. In part, because of his relationship with LSD-guru Timothy Leary, Wilson become an well-known figure in late 60’s US West Coast counterculture. He was a fan of Discordianism and, since he’d taken up his position at Playboy, had been in contact with Thornley. As associate editor, Wilson would receive many reader’s letters outlining bizarre and extreme conspiracy theories. No doubt some of these came from Discordians themselves, as part of ‘Operation Mindfuck’. Whilst still at Playboy, Wilson and his college Bob Shea took inspiration from those letters to write the cult sci-fi ‘conspiracy’ classic The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

The KLF were, for a short spell in the early 1990’s, the biggest band in the world. Their best selling single ‘Justified and Ancient (Stand By the JAMs)’ featured country music legend Tammy Wynette and was number one in eighteen countries around the world. Discordianism and Illuminatus ! are referenced in its title and lyrics and also visually in the expensive video that accompanied the song. It ends with Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty (the two members of the KLF) leaving the lost continent of Mu aboard a submarine, dressed in hooded robes.

In 1992, at the British Music Industry’s awards ceremony (the Brits) the KLF received the ‘Best Band’ award. They also performed a thrash metal version one of their songs while Drummond, dressed in a kilt and chomping on a cigar, fired blanks from a machine-gun at an audience made up of music industry executives. It left the live audience and the nine million TV viewers stunned. But even then, it was a compromise. Drummond had considered cutting off his hand and throwing it into the crowd. After the performance they left the music industry and deleted their entire back catalog.

Despite their success and a number of ‘situationist pranks’ directed at both the music industry and the art world, what now defines the legacy of the KLF more than anything else is the burning of a million pounds on the remote Scottish Island of Jura on the 23rd of August 1994. In one sense, their journey through pop culture had been so extraordinary that set within that context — within the mindscape created and explored by their actions — the burning seems almost appropriate. However, both at the time and since, it has widely been seen as an action that is at best unconscionable and at worst insane. Some even still refuse to believe it happened at all.

The pivotal object linking the history of Discordianism and the KLF, to the money burning ritual at F23, is John Higgs’ book. Self-published on Kindle in 2012 before it was picked up by a major publisher and released as a paperback in 2013, it tries to understand the burning of a million pounds through the lens of Discordianism, Robert Anton Wilson and ‘magical thinking’ more generally. It’s the source of the history I’ve outlined above. I read it in its earliest incarnation and absolutely loved it.

Unknown to John Higgs at the time he was writing, (the late Ken Campbell’s daughter) Daisy, who happened to live very close to John in Brighton on England’s south coast, was thinking and writing about Discordianism and Robert Anton Wilson, too. She wanted to produce a stage adaptation of Cosmic Trigger (Wilson’s most successful non-fiction book) but was unsure if there was an audience for it.

Prunella Gee as Eris in 1977

It was Daisy’s mum, Prunella Gee (pictured left) who made John and Daisy aware of each other. John had been to interview Prunella who’d played the Goddess Eris in Ken Campbell’s London stage adaptation of Illuminatus! back in 1977. In fact, Daisy herself was conceived backstage at that very production. Once in touch, Daisy and John decided they must join forces to present a Robert Anton Wilson themed night at the Horse Hospital in London’s Bloomsbury. John would give a talk about Robert Anton Wilson and Daisy would unveil a few scenes from the play she was writing in the hope that she might raise money to stage it. The date set for the talk was the 23rd October 2013.

Killing Joke. (LR — Youth, Jaz Coleman, Geordie, Paul Ferguson)

At an earlier stage, whilst still forging his career as a writer, John Higgs had been working on a biography of the band Killing Joke. As it turned out, John didn’t get to complete the book. He did however do an interview for it with Youth. As well as playing bass in Killing Joke, Youth is a highly acclaimed record producer, DJ and artist. There are connections to and from Youth that extend throughout this story and beyond it. But all of them, save the one I’m about to tell you, will all have to wait for another time. Something Youth did in his early twenties creates the vortex that draws me into this story.

When John was trying to write the Killing Joke biography — around eight years ago— I was a driver and tour manager for various bands, including Killing Joke. I was driving them one day when, in the back of the van, Nick, a member of their management team, took a call about a biography project from an unproven writer (it later transpires, of course, that the writer was John Higgs). Nick then discussed this with Jaz Coleman. At the time this was an unremarkable event. Managers know they have the band captive in a van and so take the opportunity to get business done. Yet, for some reason I clearly remember this particular event. I find that a bit uncanny and I question myself as whether I have constructed the memory. All I can tell you is that I honestly don’t think I have.

The significance of the Killing Joke book-that-never-was relies upon that interview John did with Youth. Two weeks or so prior to John and Daisy’s planned Horse Hospital event — which, to remind you, was scheduled for 23rd October 2013 — John decided to publish that old interview on his blog. In it Youth talks about the ‘acid flipout’ he had in his early twenties and how it ended up with him walking through one of the most exclusive areas in London, burning money.

BURNING MONEY ! I read John’s post a little open-mouthed and left a comment.

John replied, “Just noticed you’ve got ‘money burner’ in your Twitter bio….. What’s the story?” I explain that each year on the 23rd of October I burn some money. I’d been doing it since 2007. In fact, I was already a money burner when I was driving Killing Joke.

The coincidence of the dates is something neither of us could ignore. So, on the evening of 23rd of October 2013 at the Horse Hospital, after John’s talk I burned £20 in a small ritual. It certainly created a buzz in the room and a wide range of reactions too— from laughter, to disgust, to fascination and beyond.

It’s at this point, that The Cosmic Trigger Play really began to manifest itself.

After my burning ritual, Daisy Campbell spoke about the play and interspersed her story with a few scenes which she and some actor friends played out on stage for the first time. At the end of the evening many of us made contributions of £23 to help Daisy sort out a proper crowdfunding campaign. Several months later this came to fruition, and The Cosmic Trigger Play raised £23K to stage the play. They attracted high profile support from people such as Douglas Rushkoff and Jim Broadbent, and press coverage too, all of which helped encourage contributions from the Discordian community and beyond.

Thirteen months after the Horse Hospital event, the play premiered at a Discordian themed weekend — dubbed a ‘conferestival’ — in Liverpool and then had a week long run at London theater. A 2017 re-staging is planned for London and Santa Cruz (where they have a Robert Anton Wilson Day). To get a flavor of the play, watch the short video below (warning/temptation: there is some nudity).

3.43 min Theatrical Promotional Video for The Cosmic Trigger Play by Daisy Campbell

I contributed to the crowdfunding, attended the conferestival and saw The Cosmic Trigger Play. I enjoyed it all greatly. At the conferestival too, were the soon-to-be F23 organizers. The idea for a Discordian festival seeded in their minds as a direct result of that weekend. But for me, at the time, the conferestival marked the end of a journey, not the beginning. So, I went back to driving a van, thinking and writing about money and money burning, and exploring the meaning of the ritual, by the doing of it. Skip forward to 2015.

On August 23rd I do the Overhall Grove burning with Angela. It’s the first time I’ve burned money with another person actually participating in the ritual. The power of the sacrificial ritual itself, and the swirl of synchronicity that surrounds it effect me profoundly. The next day — out of the blue — I get an email from The Cube Cinema in Bristol asking whether I’d be available in November to help them burn some money. A week after that I begin to write about money burning and its redemptive magic in, what turns into, The Money Burner’s Manual.

These two elements eventually combine. In November 2015 at the Cube Cinema, Bristol a new film about the KLF burning is shown and John Higgs gives a talk. I lead a series of money burning rituals and hand out the newly completed Money Burner’s Manual. 110 people attend the event. Most burn.

Just 23 copies of The Money Burner’s Manual exist. All, except a very few, were given freely to the Bristol burners. One of the few, magically manages to find its way to Daisy Campbell in Brighton. And this sets in motion a change of events which are still playing themselves out now.

Of course, I didn’t realize this at the time. Until January this year, 2016, I believed The Cosmic Trigger Play and its wave of creative energy were on a very different trajectory to me. In the picture that heads this piece, though, standing to my left is Daisy. And half the people you can see have connections to the play. So I was wrong.

What happened — as is this story’s recurrent theme — was that I was broadsided by a series of impossible coincidences. So impossible, that I really had to regard them as synchronicity just to keep on an even keel. Space won’t allow me to detail them for you here (I write about them in BURNING ISSUE which I tell you about shortly) but the upshot was that I attended a meeting of the Cosmic Trigger Tribe on Jan 23rd this year.

To understand what happened then and after, I need to take you back to that short answer.

The short answer about ‘The Staff manifesting itself….’ Wtf?

All Hail, The Staff !

All Hail, The Staff !

If our minds are ruled by rationality and stories of cause and effect, then synchronicity dissolves into coincidence. Reason strips magic of its meaning. But we can choose live and think differently. We can nurture the meaning that comes from confluences of apparently random events and choose to take actions based on our interpretation of them. And we can make stuff up. We can create new mythologies and adapt old ones. In doing so we create the world anew. Secretly, I’ve done this much more in my life than I’ve let on. And I have the feeling that’s true for most people.

The Staff is the physical manifestation of all the sacred wondrous magical stuff that goes on in money burning and a conduit for The Spirit of the Burn. Having said this, it’s important to realize that The Staff is not a tool. It serves no function. [All Hail, The Staff x2]

The map is not the territory. The stick is not The Staff. As the Burn Incarnate, The Staff is eternal and we and the world change around it. [All Hail, The Staff x2]

It’s hard for me, and becoming harder, to talk or write about The Staff without expressing full commitment to its magical cosmos. Typing the word ‘stick’ anywhere near The Staff actually feels like sacrilege to me. [All Hail, The Staff ! x2]

That feeling of sacrilege doesn’t arise from deductive reasoning. It is first felt, then justified. This has no doubt been influenced by my pilgrimages. In 2014, Yr Wyddfa (Wales’ highest point) lay prostrate beneath The Staff. In 2015, Scafell Pike (England’s highest point). And three weeks from now — Staff willing — the mighty Ben Nevis (Scotland’s highest point — and the highest point in Britain) will have the honor of taking its rightful place. [All Hail, The Staff x2]

The joy of being The Holder of The Staff is that I get to hold an object that feels sacred to me. You might argue that its me who has made it that way. You might even be right. Who knows? I still get to Hold The Staff and feel that way. And that in turn gives me new perspectives, new possibilities. I have to think about the way I interact with The Staff, and think about the way I think about The Staff, too. And in every thought, my feelings must be recognized. To deny my them would be to deny The Staff. And that, I cannot do.

So The Staff forces me to marry new oppositions together and make new pathways through the mindscape. What made less sense, now makes more. Having The Staff as the centre, as The Nothingness of The Burn incarnate, means that all stories, all time and space, everything moves around The Staff. For example, the story of Discordianism, the KLF, John Higgs’ book and The Cosmic Trigger Play, instead of being lined-up in a causal chain stretching back in time, become materials caught in a current. And so are understood in a different way.

In my magical cosmos all events — all time and space — revolve around the Pure Nothingness of the Burn and we are blessed to know this through The Staff.

Remember: ‘ I am the Holder of the One True Staff. All other Staffs are fake.’

So what happened in the six months between Jan 23rd and July 23rd? Why did people participate?

So now, having introduced you to The Staff [All Hail, The Staff] I’m going to involve magic and myth-creation more directly into my explanation of events. It’s a way of thinking and being that increasingly informs my actions around money burning, and how I live my life, too. I should warn you, though. Having read this far, your exposure to money burning invocation propaganda has already exceeded normal safety limits. If you choose to carry on, you put yourself at critical risk of invocation.

Here’s what really happened in those final six months that led people to burn their money.

In the service of The Staff, I used the magical power of words, images and actions to invoke a future more harmonious to the eternal majesty of The Staff [All Hail, The Staff x 2].

Let’s begin at the beginning of the end.

It’s the 23rd January 2016. And after a meeting of the Cosmic Triggers with a view to ‘putting the play back on’, we attend a ritual at the gates to Crossbones Graveyard, Southwark, London. Led by John Crow, it honors and celebrates the lives of sex workers and their children. For over 500 years they were buried in the unconsecrated ground of the Crossbones Graveyard. It’s thought there are up to 15 000 bodies there.

The Memorial Gates to Crossbones Graveyard courtesy of John Crow

One ritual closes, another opens in its sacred space. Cosmic Triggers old and new sign and declare their solemn pledges to The Cosmic Book of Will, a beautiful leather bound tome of great sentimental, and not inconsiderable economic value, which will be burned should any of the pledges remain unfulfilled by the 23rd July 2016.

My pledge: TO CREATE ‘ The Money Flame ’ — a currency collage made of £230.

I’m 50 now. I made my last collage when I was eight years old. ‘Dog Heaven’; a felt collage of dogs, bones and lamp-posts. Teacher was dubious about the idea when I planned it out. But in the end it looked good and she said so. Collages, and the making of them, reach deep for me.

The doing of it makes me think. How is cutting money up and gluing it down different to burning it? Both are ways of destroying money’s value. I realize that in the process of creating a collage there is no guarantee of success. If The Money Flame ends up with neither aesthetic nor economic value, is that the same as burning it?

The Money Flame — A currency collage of £230 measuring 230mm x 230mm

Alongside The Money Flame, I also make a more direct invocation in the form of BURNING ISSUE the world’s first magazine exclusively for money burners.

To spell the magic out for you (no pun intended); in the future world, where The Staff [All Hail, The Staff] is properly venerated, everything will be in one way or another under dominion of Money Burning. It will be as ubiquitous as ‘the day and date’ is today. Any act I undertake to invoke that future is by definition, a magical act. Whether that act is successful or not, is another thing.

A rule I set myself from my first burning, is that I should never ask or tell anyone to burn money. The full potential of money burning is most accessible to those who come to it of their own free will. So any pressure I put on people might diminish their experience. The difficulty with this rule — which seems to make sense both morally and rationally — is that it stands in conflict with my duty as The Holder of The Staff to do what I must, to manifest a future world more appropriate to The Staff’s being. [All Hail, The Staff x 2]

In short, the universal adoption of ritualized money burning is rather tricky to achieve, if you can’t ask people to burn their money.

BURNING ISSUE then, is the compromise between those two opposing positions — the magic in the middle. It’s addressed exclusively to people who are already money burners.

I talk about it on social media. A stranger asks, “Is there really a community of money burners? The mere act of asking proves that a space for possible becoming has already been hewn from the mindscape.

I email all the money burners I know to ask for contributions. And of course, as happens in magic, the mycelia spread.

Someone I’ve never met before comes up to me at the #ArtMoneyCrisis conference and tells me an amazing money burning story. She writes it up for me. I’m there with another money burner. He writes up his story. Things get tough. Up against it with time and money. Then a random email. A money burning story and an article. Things start to flow. More contributions. More writing. Then, just crossing publishing deadline there is one final contribution needed, one last page to fill.

HILLARY BILLARY (left) DOLLAR DONALD (right) by Mark Wagner (These are NOT the pieces in the magazine)

My experience making The Money Flame forces an amendment. I broaden the magazine’s audience to ‘money burners (and other destroyers of currency)’. This allows me to ask the currency collage artist Mark Wagner if he’d like to contribute.

Mark’s been published in The New York Times, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal and Harpers. In progress in his studio are two portraits of the nominees for the US Presidency. He’s wondering what he’ll do with them after they’ve been exhibited at his forthcoming show in New York (Sept 8th to Oct 15th 2016). Unknown to either of us, there is a symmetry in our positions. I’ve been burning money for years and I’m now creating a money collage. Mark has been creating money collages for years and he’s now thinking about burning money. As my request arrived he’d decided that the loser of the election would burn.

Under those circumstances it would have been difficult for him to say ‘no’.

The total print run of the inaugural BURNING ISSUE is 72 copies; the three posters a free-giveaway with each magazine. Everything arrives just in time for F23, leaving less than 48 hours for the invocation to conjure up enough money burners for the ritual. We had built it, but would they come?

A 17 min film of F23 compiled from mobile phone footage by Adam Baker

I take the ‘no asking’ rule very seriously and I apply it to friends and strangers equally. The magic of the invocation is all that could be relied upon. I do my best with it. BURNING ISSUE and the three money burning propaganda posters are put on display. Around them I create a ‘BURN ZONE’, warning people — as I have warned you — that they were being exposed to money burning invocation propaganda. I feel fair warning is given.

All the same, many people repeatedly cross over into the ‘BURN ZONE’ — especially the Cosmic Triggers. I don’t want to sound like a Jobsworth, but The Invocation Health and Safety Protocols are there for a reason. Primarily protecting non-burners, they ensure that all sacrificial victims give of their own free will and that no-one is unwittingly invoked.

You may reasonably wonder if I feel any guilt over the invocation of the Cosmic Triggers who made up about half of the burners in the ritual. Perhaps, because I was camping with them and enjoying their company, I may not have applied the Protocols in a sufficiently rigorous manner. This is certainly a possibility — I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t relax just a little at the festival. But in my defense I’d stress these three key points.

Firstly, as stated, fair warning was given.

Secondly, The Staff remained locked securely in its reliquary until the just an hour before ritual. No-one, Cosmic Trigger or otherwise, had any form of contact with The Staff before then. [All Hail, The Staff x 2]

And finally, The Cosmic Triggers were already a lost cause, anyway. Back in 2013 at the Horse Hospital — before the introduction of more rigorous Health and Safety Invocation Protocols — they had direct exposure to an especially potent money burning. In some ways, I’m amazed it’s taken this long.

Then again, my sincere belief in the power of invocation might be utterly misplaced. Outside my magical cosmos, I doubt any of the burners felt irrevocably invoked at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I imagine that from their perspective, they burned their money as a spontaneous action of their own free will. And there must be an element of truth in this. Before I arrived at the festival site, even I wasn’t aware that there would be (the possibility of) a mass burning ritual on the Saturday night. I was due to just giving a talk on Saturday morning. And no-one had their arm twisted to burn. That I guarantee.

So how to marry these oppositions? Spontaneity (and free will) vs invocation (and predetermination).

The whole story here is wrapped up in this contradiction.

Did the invocation of Eris by Discordianism set in motion ‘the most fantastic chain of coincidences ever’ and is that wave of synchronicity what’s washing through us now?

Or should we set all this aside as mere ‘coincidence’? Should we keep our feet firmly in the world of rational calculation, and explain events in terms of cause and effect, factors and functions, influence and propensities? Should we explain the money burning ritual at F23 as an outlier? An event that can be safely excluded from normal life. A moment when people, under the influence of an odd man in a bowler hat — and probably a drink or two — decided to do something that makes no sense.

I don’t think we should.

In my view, spontaneity and invocation, free will and predetermination MUST exist simultaneously. We can both believe in magic and not believe in magic. We can both love and hate. Desire and revulsion exist within each other. We are, in our nature, ambivalent. We are both infinitely complex beings existing outside the world of rational calculation, and simple meatbags within it, carried along by cause and effect, wages and booze, dreams and soap.

We deny the sacred. Yet, we are all sacred to ourselves.

We are each of us sovereign beings. Money burning expresses that sovereignty. It refuses to be subservient to the past or future of the promissory note we hold in our hand. It declares sovereignty not as some ideal prospect, but rather NOW, in the reign of the moment.

Be sovereign. Live in grace. Let the divine joy of pure loving forgiveness love LOVE into ever widening circles.


I have 23 copies of BURNING ISSUE left to sell.

If would like to burn your money in a ritual come along to the Cockpit Theatre, London on 23rd October 2016. Daisy’s adaptation of The Money Burner’s Manual will be set against the word wizardry of poet Heathcote Williams in a night of money, magic, music, words and ritual. Book early.

The Chant. That was so good. 111Hz. Flinton Chalk. Ford Timelord.