The internet was ablaze with speculation Friday morning following Wikileaks’ publication of a potentially disturbing email thread between John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, and his brother Tony, an influential Democratic lobbyist.
In the email, Tony asks his brother if he is able to attend a “Spirit Cooking dinner.” He says the artist hosting the dinner, Marina Abramovic, “wants [him] there,” and a previous email in the thread shows the artist requesting John’s presence at her New York City home.
Abramovic, a Serbian performance artist, has apparently conducted these dinners since the 1990s. While the title “Spirit Cooking dinner” suggests they constitute a harmless – if not spiritual — practice, some components of the “recipes” are raising alarm.
In a video of the artist conducting a Spirit dinner in 1997, she uses a thick, red, liquid substance — bubbling at the top of a bucket — to scrawl unsettling phrases and commands on a white wall.
“With a sharp knife, cut deeply into the middle finger of your left hand. Eat the pain,” one of the recipes reads.
Another calls for breast milk and semen to be mixed together and consumed on “earthquake nights.”
Still another reads, “Fresh morning urine. Sprinkle on nightmare dreams.”
The vulgarity of these statements and others has convinced some that Abramovic and the Podestas engaged in satanic rituals. At the very least, some recipes appear to be highly ritualistic. One advocates holding a python on one’s lap while sitting on a block of ice to fight high blood pressure.
Another says to “[t]ake 13 leaves of uncut cabbage, 13,000 grams of jealousy. Steam for a long time in a deep iron pot until all water evaporates. Eat just before attack.”
On the other hand, other phrases and sentences included in Spirit dinners appear to be fanciful, mystical activities — and less morbid:
“7 days without eating. 7 days without talking. 7 days without sleeping. 7 days without sexual intercourse. 7 days not reading or writing. 7 days not watching television. 7 days not answering telephone or fax.
“On the 7th day, take a bath in almond oil. Eat one coriander seed. One almond. One tablespoon of honey mixed with royal jelly.”
The recipes make frequent reference to crystals.
One recipe calls for “3 glass of water that a ruby has been soaking in for 3 days. 1 pomegranate.”
Another involves brushing one’s hair with a quartz brush until memories are released. Others reference tourmaline and meteorite, among other crystals.
On one hand, Abramovic is a provocative performance artist, and the extremeness of her work could easily be attributed to her offbeat take on art. She has claimed to be a mystic and that she predicted an earthquake in Italy, as well as the Pope being shot.
The New York Times described her recent memoir:
“You will need to be able to withstand a great deal of conversation about clairvoyants and tarot cards and didgeridoos and kundalini life forces and monks and gurus and ‘how the soul can leave the body through the center of the fontanel of the head’ to make it very far in this memoir.”
The Times also observed that “[s]he likes to say things like, ‘I’m only interested in an art which can change the ideology of a society.’ Her art, judged on that scale, shrinks further in size.”
While the rituals she suggests performing with the Podestas are undoubtedly unsettling, they are not secretive. The Museum of Modern Art called the recipes “evocative instructions for actions or thoughts,” and prints of her work are featured on their website.
However, just because the displays are in plain sight does not mean they are inherently innocent. Considering Anti-Media does not have a satanic or occult specialist on staff, however, we are unable to provide insight into whether the “recipes” constitute actual satanic behavior or are simply the highly unusual expressions of an established Eastern European artist.
One thing is clear: the Clinton campaign is attempting to distance itself from the emails and Spirit Cooking dinners.
“This is not the first or last time that WikiLeaks has tweeted propaganda while doing Putin’s bidding,” CNET reported the campaign said in an email, evidently continuing to invoke Cold War rhetoric to detract from Wikileaks’ publications.
For her part, Abramovic tweeted Friday she is not a satanist (despite her Twitter handle being AbramovicM666) and asked people to enjoy art and stop asking her about politics.
I'm not satanist!Stop it!— Marina Abramovic (@AbramovicM666) November 4, 2016
My friends, please stop twittering me with tag spiritcooking! Just enjoy art and stop asking me about politics.— Marina Abramovic (@AbramovicM666) November 4, 2016
This is puzzling considering she was the one who reached out to the Podestas to invite them to her dinner, though it’s unlikely she ever assumed those emails would make it into the public eye.
Did Clinton’s campaign manager engage in satanic rituals? Were they simply spiritual? Were they the jumbled musings of an aging artist? What do you think?