Tag Archives: journeywork

διγενὴς ἔκστασις : Queer Spirit Journeys

[This post was originally written ten months ago for a queer occult Zine that, to my great disappointment, seems to have gone defunct without publishing.  The tone is more … literary, and the content a bit more intimate than most of my posts. ]

The void opens before me and the crystalline spire of the World Tree rises into infinity where there ought to be a horizon. The ground beneath my feet is an illusion for my convenience: there is nothing but the void and the Tree.

In the physical realm, I am uncomfortably male. Although I reject all the social tropes of masculinity, excepting only a few which are synonymous with being a decent human being, I am generally read as so butch that I am routinely mistaken for straight. While wearing a skirt. In a gay bar.

In the Otherworld, however, things are more complicated.

My most familiar spirit approaches me before I even reach the Tree. She is eager, and there is mischief in her eyes. Until recently, she appeared as a gorgon; now, just a woman. I ask if she has any adventures planned for me, and although she is one of the few spirits whose voice I can hear reliably, tonight she answers only by taking my hand.

Together, we walk to the World Tree. She places her hand on the shimmering facets of the bark, and slides into the pillar of crystal. I follow.

It is quite telling, in retrospect, that I have been fixated on leaving my body since I first began my study of the occult at the age of sixteen. Although I have never mastered astral projection, my success with Michael Harner’s visionary techniques, to which I was introduced by a friend a decade later, has been markedly greater. Enough so, in fact, that I began having experiences that my source materials could not help me contextualize almost immediately. I began seriously exploring and experimenting with visionary techniques in the spring of 2009. At first, as I imagine it is for many people, it was all or nothing: the trance would either elude me, or I would find myself in a mindscape which I could barely comprehend. Those first visionary experiences were frightening—some of them are, still, as I have no cultural context in which to ground them.

We descend, spiraling into darkness, and emerge at the edge of a stone circle. There is a drummer hiding in the shadows on the far side. Beautiful dancers writhe in the inconstant light of a small fire. I cannot see their faces clearly, or hear their voices over the drum.

I leap into the circle, joining the dance with abandon. Our bodies collide to the rhythm of the drum. There is nothing but the drumbeat and the heat of the fire and flesh. My hips and breasts sway as I dance and spin, round and round the fire.

It probably goes without saying that, at first, my spirit-body appeared as an idealized version of my mortal flesh: a little more muscular, a little less soggy around the middle. For a while, before I realized that it was irrelevant, I tried to form an “astral body” that was more “realistic”. Then I just let it be what it was: trying to dismantle that small bit of vanity was a distraction from the real work of exploring the spirit world. So, the first time it was radically different, I almost didn’t notice.

I was at a Qaballistic workshop at the local New Age store. The instructor was leading us on a visionary journey to Malkuth, the Earthly Kingdom. The path led across a bridge over a river, where we were to abandon certain symbolic representations of our mortal lives. Seeing my reflection in the river, I was surprised to see that I was a woman. My tattoos and ritual garb were what I had formed as I entered the visionary trance, but my flesh was not. For much of the rest of the journey, which was clear and productive, I was viscerally and self-consciously aware of the differences between that body and my mortal one—and of the fact that I had been unaware of those differences until I saw my reflection.

The drummer has slipped outside the fire light, and moves around outside the circle of stones, deosil to our widdershins, so that he is always just out of sight. One by one, the other dancers disappear as I make my way around the circle again and again. One turn I am a woman: my center of gravity lower, my breasts swaying and bouncing with my gyrations. The next I am a man: my cock slapping against my thighs as my center of gravity rises. Though the movements themselves are not so different—I am a terrible, unoriginal dancer, either way—the relative proportions of hip to shoulder create the illusion that it is otherwise, both visual and tactile.

The goddess I met at the end of that journey was not the Queen of Malkuth, but the Titan goddess Rhea: vast beyond my imagining, reclining nude and crowned and flanked by lions. To this day I have always-but-once been a woman when summoned to her presence in my visionary work. Other spirits, too—such as the equally vast but yet-unnamed goddess of Elemental Water—prefer that I be female in their presence. I have always been male in the Elemental Realm of Fire. My gender in the Otherworld is increasingly uncertain and malleable: male, female, both, neither. I shift at random, or at will, or at the behest of the spirits with whom I entreat.

All that remain, now, are myself and the the fire and the drummer I still cannot see. But my body has solidified in the image of Hermaphroditus: full breasts and hips, bearded and phallic. My hair is thick and glorious, from my head to my feet. Horns crown my head. A satyr’s tail sways behind me, and a satyr’s Priapism sways in front.

I leap into the fire, and we consume one another. My flesh is incinerated, then reformed, as I swallow the flames. When I emerge, the drummer has reveled himself: my Natal Demon. My Genius is there, too, and my most familiar spirit.

We dance.


* διγενὴς ἔκστασις – “Diges Ekstasis”, lit. two-kind displacement, alt. trance of doubtful sex. διγενὴς cf. LSJ.A, ἔκστασις Middle Liddel.A.II.4



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Listening to Spirits II: Full Moon Visions of the Cosmos I

Although things haven’t quite gone according to plan over this full moon at the cusp of Aries and Taurus, it’s been pretty epic.  I hesitate to say that I’m “back on top of” my visionary practice, because every time I say that, I fall back off.  Instead I’ll just say that I’ve been doing a good job of keeping up with in over the last few Esbats, and that I’ve been having really powerful experiences as a result.

As I mentioned yesterday, the spirits on my altar have had a lot to say to me in the last week during my meditations and daily rituals.  One such spirit, which has housed itself in a Cycladic figure that I have been using along with my Kouros figure to meditate on my relationship with the archetypes of the divine feminine and masculine respectively[1], informed me that it was time for us to have a sit-down.

Trying to make room for a full three-night Esbat and still leave room for both Samhain and homework, I started my Full Moon rituals Saturday night.  I opened with the Titan’s Cross and Pentagram Rite, performed the Stele of Jeu, then made offerings from my new bottle of absinthe to Dionysus and the as-yet-unnamed Cycladic figure.  I louched the absinth, put on Michael Harner’s Drums, and began my descent.

From the beginning, my vision was off-script.  Stepping out into the void where I usually find the World Tree manifesting as a crystalline spire which rises into the “sky”.  Instead, the world tree appeared as the intertwined bodies of an opposite-sex pair—an image I wear around my neck and have used in art as one way of conceptualizing certain Mysteries, but which I have never used magically—emerging from the void about their thighs and with light streaming upwards past their heads.  The male figure was … blurry and passive, but the female figure beckoned me forward.

At first I attempted to enter the world tree as I usually do: stepping inside and descending as light moves through fiberoptics.  I passed through her thigh and descended … but rather than landing at my Inner Temple, as I had intended, I was confronted by images I could neither comprehend nor describe and landed back in my body.

On my second attempt, I climbed into her outstretched hand and she swallowed me whole.  I was briefly suspended in a dark, watery void, before falling down through more indescribable visions to land at the outer reaches of my inner temple.

The grounds surrounding my Temple were overgrown, and my Natal Demon, SKM, was standing on the parapets—grotesque, gothic fortifications which my Inner Temple did not used to possess and which it may or may not possess when next I descend.  I entered the front gate and knelt at the base of the vast Cycladic statue just to the right of the entrance, opposite her consort Kouros to the left.  In between them is a door that sometimes leads to the basement and sometimes leads to Mysteries; that night it led to the basement, where I sat down cross legged and waited.

Soon, a slender female figure descended and sat opposite me in the circle on the floor.  I could not discern her face.  I greeted her warmly and asked what I should call her.

“Witchmother,” she told me.

I asked her what her nature was, and she showed me a vision of deep forests and swamps and caverns, and flashes of secret rites taking place therein.  I asked what she would ask of me in terms of rites and offerings, and she didn’t quite answer.  I was left with a strong impression of “we’ll see where this goes,” but told me to continue the offerings I was already giving.  Finally, I asked if she had anything else to show me, and tat’s when things got really strange.

She turned and went back up the stairs.  I followed, and she led me past a series of places I half-recognized.  Finally, we passed through a network of interwoven webs or light and glass-like two-dimensional planes which intersected at odd angles.  I recognized the webs of light as relationships: when I’m at the top of my game, I can see those webs stretching between people and places and ideas: more intricate than any lace ever imagined.  We crossed into a dark void.  Up and  up we went, vast nothing stretching above and behind us.  Then she turned me around, and I saw the vast mass of webs and planes below, so distant as to appear small: the earth, and the worlds and relationships that make up all the people who live there.

Having shown me this, the Witchmother vanished, and I fell back to my body.

1 – I know I’ve talked about this before somewhere, but can’t find the posts.

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Dark Moon Ecstacy

An image from my visionary work over the Dark Moon.  Warning: Not Safe For Work below the fold.

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Project Null is Going Off The Rails

It’s amazing how productive you can be while not sticking to the plan.  My formal daily practice has basically fallen apart in the last weeks, even as my various experiments have increased in breadth and depth.

I have been re-re-reading Liber Lux and am working on several write-ups therefrom.  I have almost finished Jason Miller’s Sorcerer’s Secrets and am in the process of incorporating some of his excellent suggestions into my practice.  Mr. Miller might be slightly annoyed to see him work included in my Chaos experiment—that’s not how he self-identifies—but, really, where is the line between innovative syncretism and Chaos Magick?

Meditation and Dreaming

As I mentioned above, my formal meditation and dream work have basically fallen apart.

Although I have not sat down to meditate deliberately in over a week, I have actually spent hours in trance.  Sitting outside in the cold one day, waiting for a friend, as a trance settled lazily over me for nearly thirty minutes.  I spent five hours at the loom the following day, not even half of which I can remember.  These meditations certainly don’t qualify as the concentrations Peter Carroll (and many other occultists like him) prescribe, but I refuse to concede that they don’t count.  I actually have a whole rant about this planned for the near future.

While my sleep schedule has been restored to the point where I no longer drug myself with chamomile and valerian at 10 o’clock every night, my ability to recall my dreams in the morning is spotty at best.  This is something I have always struggled with, and will probably continue to struggle with for years to come.  Most of my dreams, though—what little I can recall of them—have been clearly mundane: fragmentary remains of my bout with super-hero obsession a couple weeks ago, and my increasing state of holy-fuck-i-need-someone-to-sit-on-my-face.


My shielding experiments continue, and I’m fine-tuning a protection talisman. At the suggestion of Chirotus Infinitum in the comments to my last shielding post, I attempted to use the image of a ladybug as shield. The visceral experience was indescribable. And it brought back a series of shape-shifting experiments from my high-school days that I’m in the middle of writing up, and will probably share after I have finished my write-up of Peter Carroll’s chapters on Evocation and Invocation, because they’re highly relevant.

Manifesting My Desires.

While none of last week’s sigils have quite manifested, my experience so far says to wait two weeks before getting antsy.  Also, those are socially complex endeavors, and while I haven’t actually found any new lovers, yet, the value of my social capital (to abuse a metaphor) seems to be rising.

I have another batch, this time aimed just at boosting my social situation, in the works to fire off this afternoon.

In the mean time, I have also been tinkering with my Web of Influence, again: drifting into a trance to tend the threads and make certain that things are moving down the pipeline (to deploy a cliché). Interestingly, though I had not yet consciously begun to incorporate my Web of Influence into my sigil work, I could see my manifesting sigils on the web as glittering lights.

Visionary Practice

I went on a pair of highly fruitful visionary journeys at the Dark and Full Moons that I still haven’t quite parsed.  In the first, I re-established contact with my my chief familiar spirits and discovered, as I had discovered when I was doing some of my work with Elemental Fire, that a portal to Chaos had opened in my Inner Temple.  I didn’t have the nerve to explore it the first night, but I did the second.  Beyond the door was a vast void: not the swirling mass of potentiality I had assumed the Chaos current would appear to me as, but the gaping void of Χαος.  I could barely sense an intelligence to it, it was so vast and alien, but it was definitely aware.

At first, there was nothing there that I could perceive, an I thought that I was walking through a black void like the astral fragment I use to access the Otherworlds.  Slowly, though, the vastness of the space in which I was moving began to dawn on me.  I began to perceive fling things moving through the void at almost unimaginable speed.  There were countless multitudes of them, but the scale Chaos made them seem few and far between.  At that point, Sue, ZG, and SKM joined me, forming a protective triangle, and helping me keep track of where I had come from for when the time came to leave.

We drifted until we came to a lone floating chunk of rock, which we landed on essentially out of my mortal, terrestrial instincts.  Faster than I could think, an insect/crustacean-like creature (I never saw the whole of it), whipped around from the other side of the boulder and impaled me through the heart with a many-jointed limb.  Although we were able to overpower it and reclaim the “blood” that had stuck to its talon, we took that moment to flee back to the Inner Temple.

Gods and Spirits

Since the conclusion of the ceremonial experiment and the Invocation of Baphomet, I now have ten gods and spirits living on my altar.  I speak to fewer than half of them on a regular basis, and I don’t think that’s appropriate.

A few weeks ago, even the gods on my altar demanded a portion of my weekend coffee offerings.  I was happy to oblige, of course: I had only not included them because they had not asked, before, and coffee is such a non-traditional offering that I didn’t wish to offend.  Yesterday, I began incorporating Jason Miller’s Rite of General Offering* into the ritual, and today I will bring back fruit from the cafeteria to add to the offering.

So far, I have rarely asked the spirits I work with for much in the way of manifesting the world I desire.  When I have, though, the results have been spectacular.  When one friend was at risk of being evicted, I got Sue to change the landlord’s mind.  When another needed a specific job, I asked Sue to make sure it happened.  When I was wallowing in a crushing pit of despair last week, I dedicated an evening’s festivities to Dionysus, asking him to purge me of the negativity and obsessive behaviors in which I was engaging; I have since heard that it was the best such party in some time for everyone else there, and I have been pulling out of my emotional morass much more quickly than usual, and am now struggling against a new, but less self-destructive so far, set of obsessive behaviors.

Although I do still intent to built my home defense servitor, and ideally do so before the end of the semester, I think it best that I tend to these relationships before adding anyone or anything else to my altar.

a Change in Plans

Although it might not seem so from my previous weekly reports, my experiment in Chaos Magick has been more productive that I would have anticipated at this early stage. It has also been productive in ways I ever could have imagined, many of which are exceptionally difficult to articulate—a dilemma with which I imagine all my mage-blogging peers can identify.  Some of them have come to light today, some I may never be able to talk about.

I originally conceptualized Project Null as a simple follow-up to the ceremonial experiment: a way of continuing my formal study of the Western magical tradition and of not loosing the momentum I had built up over the course of the previous year.  I set the time frame for the ceremonial experiment at a year because I was originally using Penczak’s year-and-a-day system as a map.  I set a year time frame for Project Null because that was how long the ceremonial experiment had lasted.

It seems, however, that Chaos Magick is even less suited for such a survey than ceremonial magic was.  And I haven’t finished processing or internalizing a number of the lessons from that experiment yet.  And this semester is much, much busier than I had anticipated.  And Project Null is digging things up from my youth that I haven’t though of in a decade or more.  And each and every one of these things deserves my full attention.

Project Null is not being cancelled.  But the deadlines are.  This shit is way too interesting to not let the phenomenal organic growth I’m experiencing progress at its own rate.  Hopefully y’all will understand that this is a carefully considered tactical decision, not just a drunken satyr flaking out.


* – Miller, Jason.  The Sorcerer’s Secrets.  Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books (2009).  pp53-5

ETA: Jason Miller reference clarified and cited properly.

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Welcome to My Personal, Political, Magickal, Clusterfuck Life

[Warning to the people who know me IRL: this gets personal at the end and might be a little awkward.]

So …. I’ve picked up a few new readers in the last weeks.  Welcome to the Obsidian Dream, folks: it’s good to have you along for the ride.  As of last week I know have more “followers” here than I had back on blogger, and (although I know there’s some overlap between the two, and that many of my beloved readers don’t use those buttons for whatever reason) that feels pretty damn good.  My monthly hits aren’t quite what they were, but I haven’t actually been keeping up with the posting that well these last couple months, either, and I suspect those facts are closely related.  I’m grateful to have you all.

Things have been interesting here in the Satyr’s life: working in the mall to cover rent and summer spending money, living with Aradia for the summer, studying my Attic Greek (but not enough), the whole HPF main ritual drama and the continuing fallout, researching my planned switch from disposable razors to a straight edge (not because it’s superbutch, which is almost creepy enough to be a reason not to do it) but because it’s more environmentally sustainable), my car breaking down earlier this week, getting ready for Sannafrid coming out to visit next week, and getting ready for the giant fucking party we’re going to have while she’s here.

I’ve been doing some visionary work, but haven’t yet reached a point where I can provide an interesting narrative about it.  The Moon has a lot to teach me, but it seems like I have to fuck shit up for the correct information they’ve imparted to rise to the surface (“No, man, like this: like I showed you already.”)

I’ve been working images of Venus and the Moon, inspired by my work with the Moon Talisman at Heartland and based on more of the descriptions from Christopher Warnock’s Picatrix translation.  This has been a technical challenge, but super-fun.  I plan to do at least one Picatrix-based image for each planet.  Posts for each of those are forthcoming upon their completion.

Progress in my ceremonial studies has slowed greatly.  Partly because I’ve been resting, partly because I’ve been researching, and partly because I’ve been devoting a lot of time to try to actually understand what I’ve already learned.  The biggest things I’ve gotten done in this regard, lately, is downloading AstroWin and Morinus Tradional as potential alternatives Astrolog.  Further, my studies have also been slightly hampered by the ever-clearer knowledge that, while many planetary magic techniques are really interesting and awesome (electional talisman construction, for example), my own talents slant so hard toward visionary work that ceremonialism, Hermetics and astrological magic will always be peripheral to my practice.  They’re good, solid tools—fun to use and especially to make–but never my favorites.

Two things have consumed the last week more than anything else, though: emailing back and forth with the HSA Sacred Experience Committee regarding the horrible ritual, and getting ready for Sannafrid’s visit.

I have, to date, exchanged nearly a score of emails with the head of the Sacred Experience Committee and a couple other people involved in the ritual planning and execution.  The initial emails were heated; since we have begun negotiating a face-to-face meeting (moderated by the former head of the SEC, an individual whom I respect greatly), things have calmed a little.  The meeting will take place tomorrow, and a full report on the exchange will be forthcoming, as will be analysis of how I feel this event was exemplary of what I feel to be one of the greatest failures of the neo-Pagan and magical communities today: a deep and unexamined investment in the patriarchy which poisons all of our lives.

Although an altogether happy occasion (as opposed to the other, which might turn out well or might finish ruining Heartland for me), Sannafrid’s visit will be, in some ways, an equally iconic rejection of the mainline narratives which dominate our lives as people with one foot in the “Muggle”[1] world: I’m not just involved in deeply loving relationships with two different women.  Although they have never met, they have always known about each other, and next week my “girlfriend at school” is going to come visit me while I’m living with my “girlfriend at home”.  I don’t even know where to begin counting all the “rules” we’re breaking, let alone deconstructing them, so I’m just going to go for the lulz: Sannafrid is actually going to arrive while Aradia is away on a business trip.[2]  Yeah.  We’re all emotionally mature grown ups, capable of negotiating such potentially treacherous waters, but there is a lot of negotiating and triple-checking that needs to be done (in addition to all the housecleaning) to ensure that everyone’s on the same page about what is and isn’t going down, and that everyone’s anxieties are being allayed and that everyone’s needs are being fulfilled.[3]

The fact that both of these events are happening (and could only happen) while Venus is fucking retrograde is … interesting.  Also: this shit.  WTF, life?  Man, am I glad that I made those Venus talismans.

All of this is to say that, while I’ll be doing a lot of magic in the next ten to twenty days, and finishing out some Big Shit Already In The Works (including at least one more write-up from HPF), it’s probably going to continue to be a month of light posting.  Welcome to my wild and crazy life.

1 – Referring to people who don’t practice magic, see ghosts, or talk to spirits.  On the one hand, I hate this Harry Potter-born neologism.  On the other hand, it’s so much less problematic and idiotic than any of the alternatives I’ve heard or used: normal, once-born, cowan, mundane, uninitiated, blind, mortal.

2 – The best part is that, although it will work out for the best in some ways, we didn’t plan it that way.  The dates for the business trip came down weeks after the dates for the visit were set.

3 – Wondering how this is related to magic or to my spiritual practice?  Click here.


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Resuming My Visionary Practice

Beham, (Hans) Sebald (1500-1550): Luna, from T...

Beham, (Hans) Sebald (1500-1550): Luna, from The seven Planets with the Signs of the Zodiac, 1539 (Bartsch 120; Pauli, Holl. 122), first state of five, trimmed just outside the platemark, generally in very good condition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Putting Will to Word, I began the process of resuming my visionary practice last night.  Because it was Monday, and because my most recent successful journey was to the Moon in Yesod, I chose that as my destination once again.

As always, I began by visiting my Inner Temple, where I finished up some business between myself, Tsu, and ZG, regarding help they had given me at Heartland.  Then I called down night over my Inner Temple, where the sun is almost always shining.  To my surprise, constellations have begun to appear in that sky: Scorpio and Gemini, so far.  The Moon hung full in the sky above my Temple, and I flew up t meet it.

Once more, I found myself in the nine-pillared Palace of the Moon[1]  The two figures were both lucid and moving, and when I asked them to instruct me in the Mysteries of the Moon, they took me between them and filled me with the light of the Moon.  When I had been filled to bursting, they took me to the Astral mists, pointing the way to the more familiar Void, and to other “geographical” features I don’t have names for or quite know how to describe.  It was not an “initiation”, per se … but, then, I haven’t asked for one yet.  When they had finished their imparting what they would for the evening, I thanked them and departed.

Filled to the brim with Lunar power, I descended to the elemental realm of Water.  Rather than seeking out the Powers of Water, as I have before, I sat and waited for my presence to draw their attention.  Soon enough, it did.  Although I could sense them, this time I saw nothing but the vast depths of the ocean bottom.  First, I asked the Powers of Water to heal and cleanse me of the damage done by the main ritual at Heartland Pagan Festival this year; despite my best efforts, a lingering miasma has remained.  A powerful current of water washed over and through me, scouring and soothing way the lingering damage.

When that was complete, I once more asked for the Initiation of Water.  I was refused again, but more gently this time.  I asked what I needed to do to prepare myself for that initiation.  They told me to ask again while I was in the water, filling my mind with an image of Lake Onessa under the light of the moon.  I thanked them, and asked leave to depart.

Returning to the waking world, Aradia—who had been doing journeywork of her own—had instructions for me that had been imparted to her: I was to make Moon water with which I would make chamomile tea to use as a kinder, gentler flying potion than the absinthe.  I did so, blessing the water with an incantation of the Orphic Hymn to the Moon.

1 – I’ve been there since last I wrote about it, actually.  The story just wasn’t interesting enough to share: the male figure was still comatose; the female figure talked to me briefly.

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Of That Which Has Been Put Off : My Full Moon Reading

Sun = 14*Gemini – Moon = 16*Sagitarius – Venus Retrograde

Aradia and I had Pasiphae and Aidan over last night for some Full Moon socializing.  The place was a little too messy for a full-on Esbat (the Battle of Mount Laundry has yet to be won), but we did spend quite a bit of time with our tarot decks.  Aidan purchased his first deck at Heartland, and Pasiphae managed to get her hands on a copy of the out-of-print Rohrig deck she had been coveting for years.  After I gave Aidan a reading, he spent the rest of the evening playing with his new deck, trying to grok the Celtic Cross and the internal logic of the cards.   Pasiphae as equally eager to break in her new toy.

I actually haven’t had anyone else do a reading for me in quite some time, so I took advantage of the opportunity.  Bought gently used, she’s still getting to know the deck and attuning it to herself.   It’s already got quite a personality: it doesn’t want to deal with piddly shit.  It told me the same as I shuffled it; it also demanded a specific question rather than a general reading.

So I asked it to talk about the direction my magical practice is taking.


The central thesis here seems to be “Good job; now get to work.”  The Moon (which was central to my monthly reading as well) and the Hanged Man tell me that there’s some important work I’ve been dodging around.

“What am I avoiding?” I ask.  “I’m hip-deep in the biggest thing I’ve ever avoided in my magical career.”  I was speaking of the planetary and ceremonial magical studies I’ve been doing, of course.  I put that shit off for fourteen-odd years.

Aradia knows me well, though.  She knows the answer.  “When was the last time you visited the Underworld?”

“I … uh … don’t know.”

And … that’s unfortunately true.  The deeper into the planetary magic I get, the more my visionary work has been left by the wayside.  I could blame that on the fact that it’s not really a part of the system I’m studying—even if it is a major component of Penczack’s High Temple, which I’ve been using as an outline for my studies—but the fact of the matter is that I’ve just run into one too many things that have scared me when I’ve visited the Underworld.

Between the unsettling demands some of my newer spirit-allies have made of me, and my seeming inability to explore new territories without incurring new alliances and their attendant obligations… Well, let’s just say that I’ve become very, very good at finding reasons not to do Down.  Smart people can be disturbingly good at lying to themselves.  And with all the Work I have been doing—planetary talismans, the Stele of Jeu, puzzling my way (oh, so slowly) through Agrippa and my newfound relationship with my Natal Genius, and even the continuation of Deb’s New Year, New You, which I have fallen so far behind on in the last month—it’s been particularly easy.

“But wait!,” you (my dear readers) ask.  “Didn’t you work your way through that already?”  Yeah, I thought that I had.  Apparently I hadn’t.  It’s that bastard Dweller at the Threshold again.

So I’m setting myself a new goal: to descend to the underworld every Sunday and/or Monday night, regardless of whether or not there’s Work I think needs to be done.  It’s time to face the Moon.

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, al...

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, also known as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Sometimes you have to need to provide context before you can tell a story.  Sometimes, it’s best to tell a story first and dig into the context afterward.  This is the story of how I came to perform my re-Dedication as a part of my Beltane festivities in 2009 … I’ll get to the context in a little bit.

It was my second Beltane after my failed life in St. Louis, the first with Aradia.  It may almost go without saying tat we were at Camp Gaea, with my massive tent set up in Dava Wood.  I had big plans for the weekend, aimed at jump-starting my magical career* in preparation for the re-Dedication I intended to perform at some point over the summer, and we were partying with the KU Cauldron.  It’s tempting to break this into three different stories which coincidentally took place over the course of a single evening, but … I’m not so sure that they’re unrelated.

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Lunar Journey II

Because, to my mind, 4am 8 March is actually more Wednesday night than Thursday morning, I performed my Esbat rites on Wednesday.  Initially, I didn’t feel as “on” as I did Monday night, but the journeywork turned out to be more productive, if less dramatic.

I made another Lunar incense blend: calamus, eucalyptus, jasmine flower, myrrh, and willow.  I actually liked my first blend better, but this is why we experiment, right?  After charging the incense and a bottle of lunar water, I mixed my flying potion (1), donned my visionary mask, and descended to the underworld through the Void.

Approaching the world tree, I asked to be returned to the Realm of Yesod and the Moon to further explore it.  Taking me DOWN this time instead of UP, the tree deposited me back on the island with the nine-pillar temple.  I began my work by leaving offerings of light for the two figures in the temple, and the entity which had “roped” me Monday night.

There was a land-bridge off to one side which I had neglected to investigate last time, so I started there.  Strangely, it didn’t go anywhere: although I tried to follow the coast I found past the land-bridge, I kept finding myself back on the shore of the island.  Frustrated, but undiscouraged, I dived into the lake instead.

Swimming down, I encountered a dolphin.  I asked it if it was there to guide me.  “No,” it said.  I asked it why it was there, but it didn’t answer.  It did, however, follow me as I continued swimming down.

“This is an awfully small body of water for you,” I noted.

“Well, yeah,” it acknowledged.

“Where do you come from?”

“Out there.”

I asked it to show me, so it led me—almost faster than I could follow—out to another, deeper region of water.  Down and down it led me, vanishing as I found myself on the bottom of an ocean floor.

Being the bottom of the ocean, there wasn’t any light, and it took me a few moments to adjust my astral vision until I could see.  (For some reason just conjuring a light didn’t seem like a good idea.)  When I could see, I found myself surrounded by massive, alien creatures, all trudging toward the direction from which I had come.  I couldn’t see them clearly—mostly just massive legs and bodies, dimly seen through the dust they raised—but they were legion, and each hundreds of times more massive than I.  I swam in the direction from which they had come, and none deigned to acknowledge me.  Eventually I came to a place where I was alone.

After swimming in random directions and encountering a lot more nothing, I drew a circle in the sand of the sea bottom and sat down cross-legged, waiting.  soon I began rising, and eventually broke the surface.

I cannot remember—could not, in fact, even immediately upon returning to my body—how I transitioned from floating over this massive, primordial ocean to standing once more in front of the nine-pillar temple.  This time when I ascended the stairs, the figures had moved.  They moved again in front of me, and acknowledged my presence.  We communicated briefly, and I received a positive response when I asked if I could return for instruction.  The woman reached out and touched me, and I was filled with a vibrant, cool energy.

I returned to the world tree, and through it to the waking world.  The journey was done.

I think I will do one more lunar journey before moving on to Hod/Mercury.

1 The usual, lately: absinthe and sacramental mead at a 1:3 ratio.  It’s a little stronger and a little easier to slam than properly louched absinthe, if not quite as exquisite.

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Lunar Journeys I

In light of my my recent conclusions regarding my study of ceremonial and planetary magics, it occurred to me that with the Full Moon so close (the dark and lonely hours of Wednesday night, or the dismal pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning, depending on how you experience 4am EST), this week’s Day and Hour of the Moon would be a particularly auspicious for some of Lunar Work.

So, as the hour of the Moon approached, I rebuilt my Yesod altar and ground a lunar incense of calamus, eucalyptus, and myrrh (the only Lunar herbs I happened to have around the house).  Since Gustav Holst didn’t deign to write a suite for Luna or Sol, I turned to my usual Michael Harner drumming for music to guide my trance.  When my circle was cast, I administered my flying potion(1) and donned my visionary mask.

I dropped into full trance almost immediately, appearing in the Garden of Malkuth.  For a rarity, I found the Otherworld cast in night— it’s almost always daylight in my spiritual journeys—with a full and glowing moon overhead.  I called to the moon, and rose up to meet it.  Passing through the silver disk in the sky like a portal, I found myself first flying through a vibrant purple haze, which parted to reveal the rolling mists I have always heard the astral plane described as.  I set myself to find the Palace of the Moon (in retrospect, this was ridiculously vague), and flew through the mists.  After a while I found myself not flying, but swimming through the mist, and then through night-dark waters.  I swam up to the shore of a small island, cast in shadows under another full moon and clear night sky.  A temple rose in the middle of the island, open to the air and consisting of little more than nine great free-standing columns, but I walked around the island before ascending.  The beach was sandy, the rise covered in greenery and large rocks and bits of fallen masonry.

When I ascended to the temple, I found two figures there: a beautiful naked man, laying still but tumescent on a slab, and a woman in pale robes standing over him.  Neither moved at all, even when I approached.  Like most of the other figures I have encountered when travelling UP rather than DOWN, there was a hollow, static quality about them.

So I descended the stairs and set my sights on the moon above.  Strangely, I had difficulty flying.  I had to conjure a wind to lean into, like I did when I first learned to fly in my dreams almost ten years ago.  Finally airborne, I flew upward into the moon.   This time, rather than flying through a portal, it was like a window or a door: passing through I found a new void, full of points of light linked by lines of power, but when I turned around I could see the temple and the two figures far below me, as if I were looking out of one space and into another.

When when my back was turned, I suddenly felt something tugging me, as if by a cord.  I turned to look, and a vast spirit was pulling me “upwards”.  In retrospect it was foolhardy, but my instinct was to trust this entity (spirit? god?)—I thought it might be the god who called to me from the sky on the the night of my Dedication(2).  I don’t know if it could read my mind, or if it was just amused at the world in general, but it pulled me up to itself through a “hole” between spaces much like the one I had just passed through, then flung me further “upward” into a vast and empty void.

The second void was very much like the one from which I had just been thrown, only it felt much larger.  The star-like points of light were more distant and the threads between them were gossamer-fine.  No sooner did I think to myself “Whoa!  I wonder if this is where the Masters of Outer Darkness(3) live?”, then I saw a shimmer in the distance, and soon a lion-headed serpent appeared.  I was nervous, but “sat” cross-legged and waited for the creature to make a move.  It approached, as did more of its kind, and began circling me… at which point I really wasn’t sure what I ought to do if they did prove hostile, and the same entity which had thrown me out into that deeper void in the first place pulled me back “down” in the same manner.

Back in the lesser void, I could feel a disturbance of some sort back in the waking world.  Having accomplished what I’d intended—locating the Palace of the Moon and exploring the Realm of Yesod/Luna—I returned to my body.

1 A lungful of (100% legal) blue sage this evening, instead of my usual absinthe.  I was suffering from the delusion that I might do more homework after my trip.

2 Which, pawing through my archives for a link, I still haven’t written about.  Fuck me running.

3 Ever read Michael Harner?  p. 7 of the Harper paperback 3rd Ed.

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