I have been practicing magic for just shy of sixteen years. I’ve seen some whack-ass shit—some of it way back in the day, some of it a little more recently. I even burned out the circuitry in my own brain on one occasion, a psychic injury from which I have only fully recovered in the last two years. Fuck: I spent the first five or eight years of my magical practice with no other goal than to get some sort of hold on what currently passes for my sanity. So when Peter Carroll tells me that Chaos Magick can lead to paranoia and obsession and outright madness, my first reaction is, “Been there. Done that.”
Oops. Stultus sum.
I have spent the last week struggling with depression and paranoia far out of line with my circumstances. Also, a round of insomnia which has driven me to work on perfecting my sleeping tea and which has rendered me almost incapable of focusing on my studies. Small noises in and outside my apartment have sent me into fits, searching for the source. I have heard things scratching at the doors and walls. In the moments between sleep and waking, I am haunted by delusions that someone or something is trying to break into the apartment. My dreams have been haunted by fear, death, and betrayal.
Yes, I have things to be depressed about. I have abandoned one lover, for a second time, in a far-away city; I have stayed in place as another moves on to bigger and better things. That these things are inevitable, and the only path to each of us furthering our ambitions, is little consolation: I miss them. Beyond that, finances are tight. I didn’t make enough money over the summer, leaving with debt at the beginning and my costs have risen. I’ve secured a TA position, which will provide me more hours than my post office position last year, but it’s still minimum-wage work-study.
There’s also stress. I’m studying two dead languages at once, which is a kind of mind fuck. I’m learning to weave, which is relatively straightforward on the one hand, but hugely time consuming. And I’m taking an upper-level class outside my field: Gender Studies, as a point of fact, which while somewhat familiar territory as a queer feminist, is rightly known as a field of particularly difficult-to-read theory.
But these very real factors are not sufficient to account for the degree of madness I’ve been struggling against, or the perfect (if short-lived) efficacy of banishing and/or meditation as a method of managing it.
All this, and I haven’t even performed my initiation in to the Chaos Current, yet, or the Mass of Chaos B for a second time?
Fuck. Me. Running.
I just hope that if I do go off the deep end, there’ll be someone left in my life to send in a rescue party.
My meditation has been going fabulously. I have missed only one day this week—Monday—and I have meditated in excess of 30 minutes on two occasions: almost exactly half an hour Tuesday night, before sleep; and a somewhat harder to quantify amount Friday afternoon at the loom, made up of uncounted three to eight minute intervals as I lost myself in the rhythm of the shuttle and reed.
Which is fucking good, because, as I said above, it’s been the front line of defense against the hordes of my internal demons.
I have been banishing and refining my Q-Cross every day, but done little other active magic this week. What I have done is dwell upon Chaos Magick, its paradigms, and Project Null. Having produced the first half-dozen glyphs of my Sacred Alphabet, I must now begin to conceive of how it will grow. I have also been preparing for Monday morning’s Mercury Cazimi election.
And, of course, as is my custom, I spend Friday night cleaning and smudging my apartment. I also performed a couple banishings..
The most concrete product of these musings and meditations can be seen in the image at the top: a syncretic chaosphere for Aradia, myself, and anyone else who chooses to join in with Project Null. An image, a sigil if you will, to help unite and power our efforts. Our own little runoff stream of the Chaos current.
Although my dreams have been consistently violent, they have only been clear enough to record after waking about every other day. I’m always vague in the mornings; it’s twice as bad when I actually wake up with the alarm, rather than before, and that is always the case when I have to dose myself in order to sleep.
For the curious: the tea I’ve been drinking has been valerian, mugwort, and white willow at at 2:1:1 ratio. Last night I added 1/2 part mint and reduced the dose from 4 tsp to 3, which has produced the best results so far. Mugwort tea gave me nightmares as a teen, too, but almost never since.