Several months ago I had an experience in the underworld that made afraid to go back. A slightly longer version of the story goes like this.
As you all know, my experiments in ceremonial magic have been framed by Christopher Penczak’s Temple of High Witchcraft. His exploration of Malkuth begins with a journey to the Elemental Realm of Earth in order to make a contact there, followed by a quest to the Queen of Malkuth to petition for one’s “Stone of Sovereignty”.
My Earth-guide did not appear to me clearly at first. It was a shadowed figure. My first “glimpses” were of a muscled arm and ass. When she did reveal herself completely, it was as a hulking, horned figure about three times my size. Since she disdained to give me a name, I dubbed her the “Troll Lady” (much to her amusement). She accompanied me through my initial explorations of the Elemental Realm of Earth, and to the Garden of Malkuth on two occasions—though, interestingly, it was the leopard of Dionysus who led me through the Garden to the Queen. It was Rhea who appeared to me as the Queen of Malkuth, and at the end of a series of exchanges over several journeys she gave me a purple orb.
In order to complete my “initiation” of Malkuth, the Troll Lady led me deeper into the underworld, past a brazen wall and gate, to a circle of shadowy male figures who told me that the purple orb was not the Stone of Sovereignty. The Troll Lady then led me back to the Garden of Malkuth and made a demand of me that I’m still not certain how to process—one which made one of my other spirit-allies jealous. The whole experience unnerved me, and although I subsequently drummed Sannafrid down to the Underworld on at least one occasion, I did not myself descend until this most recent Dark Moon.
It was suggested to me that I do some divination before hand to attempt to get a handle on the situation. Although this is not a sort of divination I often do—usually using it more as a sort of “sonar” than to get specific answers—I gave it a try. The results were largely unclear, except that I did need to deal with it and now was the time. There was also some indication that the Troll Lady and I had some unfinished business, perhaps from a past life. Perhaps one of my lovely readers might have some insight:
What sort of spirit is the Troll Lady? 9 Wands, 5 Swords, X Fortune. Reask = 6 Disks.
What does the Troll Lady want from me? V the Emperor, XX the Aeon, 7 Cups.
What will the outcome be of my working with the Troll Lady? XIII Death, 3 Disks, 0 the fool.
What will the outcome be for me? 2 Disks, VII the Chariot, XVII the Star.
Beyond this I knew only that things would play out best if I sought out both the spirits involved in the conflict. With this in mind, Aradia and I cast a circle and, with her serving as an anchor in case things went sour, I descended to the underworld in search of a spirit who could help mediate the situation.
I found myself beside a river, which I decided to follow upstream for some time before realizing that I was supposed to be in the river. Jumping into the water, I was quickly swept downstream. Completely submerged, I met a water-nymph who agreed to mediate for me. We travelled down the river and across an ocean, finally emerging at the shore of a mountainous island. Given the nature of the conflict, I was somewhat concerned (to my embarrassment and the nymph’s amusement) about enlisting the aid of yet another “female” spirit, so when we emerged from the water she took the form of a muscular old man before leading me up the mountain.
At the top of the mountain was a stone table where Tsu and the Troll Lady were waiting for us. Neither were entirely pleased with the situation, but they weren’t hostile, either. They’re also flickering in and out, like an unclear signal. I try to “summon” them by their names, and that helps, but not much.
Trying to get things on the right foot, I start by re-introducing myself formally to all involved. I already know Tsu’s name—I gave it to her, after all—and the Troll Lady gave me a name that I couldn’t comprehend. The new spirit introduced him/herself as Thetis, at which point everything started spinning: the four of us were semi-stable around the table, but the entire universe seemed to be caught in a counter-clockwise maelstrom around us.
I tried to hold on, but I ultimately failed, and we were all sucked into a vortex. Interestingly, this seemed to break all the tension: “See,” I told them, “I have no idea what I’m doing. I need all the help I can get.”
We eventually swirled our way back to the stone table, where I apologized to all involved for the drama and thanked all involved for their aid and company. The Troll Lady gave me a sigil, which I only received in part.
Exhausted, I returned to my body. Below is a sketch of the Troll Lady and the partial sigil. Click, as they say, to embiggen.