This was the first of the Doctor Shamass cards, and the beginning of a new tradition – yearly Shamass cards charting the further/continuing/interminable misadventures of the good Doctor. All in a convenient card format. Between the release of the Shamass zine in 1997 and the first card in 2008 I had toyed with the seemingly impossible: continuing the adventures of Shamass after their definitive conclusion. But such determinations always carry the seeds of becoming something else. So I got around to it, which also coincided with the brief happiness of finishing my degree in philosophy.
Despite my at times militant atheism I chose Christmas as the time for distribution for all of the most obvious reasons: it is the end of the calendar year; it is often the end of the working year; it is the time when people send each other cards; Australia Post discounts the postal rates for cards at this time of the year; so on and so forth. There are other reasons, of course, as there always are. Hardly at the back of my mind (wherever that is), I imagined reclaiming Christmas for more pagan sensibilities (or at least non-Christian ones): the ancient festival of Saturnalia and its transformation into the celebration of the so-called son of god (son of man, whatevs), at the very least demonstrates the remarkable artificial and plastic nature of tradition – i.e. we can come up with new, or transform old festivals. The problem we face is simply this: do we engage in such transformations haphazardly, in varying states of consciousness and unconsciousness regarding the nature of such transformations – and thus painfully and temporally extended transformations (I am thinking of the turn from Saturnalia proper to the Coca Cola Christmas beloved of the capitalist mass market); OR do we make these transformations clearly, and “with sober senses” as some may say (given that we can nonetheless proceed with sober senses, drunkenly)?
This card was produced for Christmas 2008. Each Christmas since then I have produced hard copies and then sent out electronic copies to many in my electronic address book. I have now decided to archive them on this website, all for the greater glory of Doctor Shamass. Between now and Christmas 2013 (which will herald a new card, of course), I will continue to archive the back catalogue of cards. Consider them an anti-advent procession of sorts, from me to youse.
To access just click on the picture above or these words. And enjoy, or not.