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About me & my site

last updated 8.26.2022

Who are you, anyway?


Hey there! I’m Jack Clayton, a freelance writer, fictional reconstructionist, occultist, and chaos consultant. I write about my adventures in magic, paganism, homemaking, identity and learning new things.

Inspired by my magical interests, I got my B.A. in Religious Studies. I’ve worked in finance, education, bookselling and banking, but through everything, my passion remained in spotting patterns, making connections, and helping people find the guidance they needed.

I got my start as a pagan and a magician in *chaos magic,* which is all about using whatever systems of magic or belief are going to work best in the current situation. While I no longer call myself a chaos magician, I remain a big fan of bringing order through the appreciation of chaos.

I am transmasculine, genderqueer, bisexual and use he/they pronouns. You can find me at jackdaw#9850 on discord or leave a comment on my blog if you want to reach me. rubedo.work exists to be my home base on the internet.

What do you call yourself?

Fictional reconstructionist. My faith practice has both fictional and historical influences, and I use fiction as a medium to understand my own experiences and faith. Looking at, say, LotR or Dr Who and wondering what those religions looked like. How would it work? Who would you call on? The way you come to understand a religion like that is a framework on which you hang your own understandings and preferences in a religion. In building a relationship between yourself and a “fictional” deity, you’re reaching out to the Powers and saying ‘this is what my life is missing; does it exist?’ and preparing to accept the answers. Much of the time, for me, this is using writing to reach out to powers and invite them into my life.

What else are you?

Sympathizing order muppet. My natural inclination is to prefer order, and I can go down the organizing rabbithole with the best of them, but when working with Chaos Muppets I can embrace the joy of chaos. This is basically how I try to frame my OCD in everyday life- order is good, it's a really solid baseline to base other things on in life, but I can't let the existence of chaos drive me to dark places.

Disaster multipotentialite. I like to do lots of different things. _All_ the things. I also get distracted from all the things. I have a lot of half-finished things. If the previous description is my OCD, this is the ADHD I didn't get diagnosed until I was almost forty; I wouldn't know an executive function if it bit me without my medication. I have auditory processing issues that mean it's hard to actually process what's being said to me, especially if there's a lot of background noise. I love closed captions and I'm really not good at getting instruction from podcasts or youtube tutorials.

What else do you believe in?

**Be kind.** I try to act with kindness. I am aware that kindness is complicated, and variable, and not as easy as nice. I may not be able to achieve Mr. Rogers levels of kindness, but I try to aspire to them at my best.

**Share.** I'm basically a socialist. Education and health care should be free. Universal Basic Income should be a thing. Minimum wage should be a living wage and prisons and police should be replaced with social reform.

**Spirituality matters.** Spirituality is a large part of how I make sense of my life and my relationship with the worlds around me. I don't expect other people to approach the world from the same angle as me, so I try to see where they're coming from, but this is what works for me.

What's a rubedo?

It may be a bit ambitious of me to name my site after it, but rubedo is the fourth and final state of the traditional Western alchemical process. After the dark night, cleansing and awakening comes the rebirth or completion. I don't pretend I'm there yet, but it's a stage associated with the phoenix, which has been a major symbol in my life for a long time. Let's call it aspirational.

I chose a .work domain because alchemy is also called the great work, and also because it was on sale when I was registering it.

Why does this site look like this?

This site is built using a delightfully minimalist new CMS called Lichen that runs on gemtext. My biggest problem with website creation is that I tend to get distracted down in the ditches- some amazing idea or whatever comes up and I spend four hours chasing the CSS for it, never succeed, and walk away frustrated without actually finishing the thing I'd sat down to work on. Or I'd install a new Static Site Generator and get annoyed and give up somewhere around where I had to inevitably make some small change on EVERY file for my site. And okay yes I wasn't already using gemtext so I did have to do some file cleanup when I moved into Lichen but the thing is, everything would have been entirely readable even if I hadn't. I did cleanup, but I didn't have to do cleanup. Lichen JUST WORKS, it gets out of my way, and it keeps me from my greatest weakness, which is my ability to get distracted by literally everything.


I also use

NearlyFreeSpeech for hosing porkbun for domain registration

Gemini protocol

This site doesn't technically run on Gemini, though I'd eventually like to figure out a way to serve it on both. If you'd like to learn more or try Gemini for yourself here's some links:

https://gemini.circumlunar.space/ https://flounder.online/ https://gmi.skyjake.fi/lagrange/ https://gemlog.blue/

Web Design

I am very, very tempted by aesthetic. However, I also find it very, very distracting, as I mentioned above. The use of a very simple design and a very simple protocol on this site is an intentional decision made to force myself to focus on my content. In particular, I'm looking to adhere to the philosophies put forth on Brutalist Web Design below, to reduce the number of decisions I have to make and to ensure the site is simple to read and maintain.

Brutalist Web Design How to Build a Low-tech Website Digital Guide to Low Tech (archived) Designed to Last Contrast Rebellion the Low Tech Manifesto The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Simple HTML This Is A Motherfucking Website The Web Is Fucked Basic HTML Competency Is the New Punk Folk Explosion!

Who are you writing this for, anyway?

In his site's Colophon, author Robin Sloan writes:

"Here and there, I use the term “assumed audience”, cribbed from Chris Krycho... I liked Chris’s placards as soon as I saw them; I appreciate the way they push back against the “context collapse” of the internet, in which every public post is, by default, addressed to everyone.

Many websites provide this bulwark themselves; an article posted on Work Truck is automatically pretty well situated. But that’s not the case for material on a personal site with many cross-cutting interests, and readers who arrived for many different reasons. I can only report that I’ve often felt a tension between padding a nerdy post with explanatory material, trying to make it legible and inviting to many people, and going straight in, trying to write something crisp and useful to others already enmeshed in the conversation.

My postings about magic are definitely intended for an audience that already believes in gods and magic, for whatever your personal understanding of that may be, and if you're a hardcore atheist or of a faith that forbids such things, you're gonna have a hard time. If you think I'm crazy, you're probably not my audience. That's okay; there's plenty of internet to go around.

If you're a newbie witch or a seeking pagan, not sure where to start or what's out there, this may not be the site for you either. I tend not to be very good at disclaimers and starting at 101. I'm especially bad at the thing where people who believe in weird stuff are expected to start off everything with disclaimers about how we know we sound wacky and here's a list of all the stuff I know ISN'T possible so please take me seriously. I'm bored of that. I'm gonna assume you can evaluate a source on your own and you don't need me to hold your hand. Here's a grain of salt, I guess.

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