There seems to be some strange assumption, when we think of old friends we’ve lost touch with, that they’re probably doing just fine. Maybe even better than we are. That was the assumption I was under when I heard the news that a beloved friend had chosen to end their life. I’m not telling their story today, as I am severely under qualified to do so. No, I’m only telling my own role in the strange events following this unfortunate end to a young and brilliant life: I’m telling the story of how one suicide ended up preventing another one through logic that is altogether non-human.
When I got the call that this friend had exited the material world I was still running ragged; 115 lbs wet, no hope, and a center-console full of empty baggies and broken crack pipes. Even through the fog of rampant addiction I very much felt the impact of this loss, though I did not have any capacity for facing or working through it at the time.
This was summer. The memorial, I found out, was scheduled for fall.
By the time the date was drawing near I had lost my entire world to addiction, moved back in with family, and accumulated six months clean-time. Getting to see that group of old friends and mourning with them was one of the most important events of my life, and to no surprise; our times together when we were younger were equally as significant. But that is not part of this story, either.
The best friend of the departed had a sister, and that sister and I had chemistry. Our conversation didn’t stop for several months after returning to our home states and towns, her and I. She ended up proposing to me, to which I agreed. It wasn’t the kind of thing where you know it’s a good idea. In fact, it felt a little silly even at the time, but my heart was telling me something very clearly and plainly throughout the duration of that relationship. My heart was saying “You’ll be sorry if you don’t.”
This is not the usual fodder my heart spouts to my brain. This was an anomaly. I’m used to a heart that yells out grand declarations while inebriated as others are trying to have conversation.
But then we fast forward to Thanksgiving a couple months later and she’s meeting my family. Fast forward to Christmas time drawing in and I’m getting ready to go spend the holiday with hers.
I’m nervous. I’m anxious. I know that it will all be okay, though, once I see her face and feel that connection that had been powerful enough to sustain me for months with a thousand miles between us. Except when I saw her, at home in this world utterly foreign to me, I noticed within the first few seconds that the connection was gone. Vanished.
I did my best to maintain, but she would not connect. She outright refused to. Here I am a few states from home, hours of bus ride from any kind of safe place, in the livingroom of a family I don’t know, and the woman that asked me to marry her only a month prior was treating me like an indigent phantom limb.
I spent three days in this living hell, all the while she maintained that nothing was wrong and that I was being, basically, crazy before finally ending things with a ten-cent breakup excuse and leaving me alone in an Airbnb to peacefully enjoy the walls closing in.
That night I almost relapsed. I wanted to. I could feel pure sorrow and anguish swirling around me in geometrical patterns. I felt so close very to God. I was not, however, going to let this bullshit steal my clean, so I mustered up the guts to call someone. Maybe the only someone that could have helped me at that moment, someone that I had known almost my entire life and with whom I had been through hell. Someone that never picks up the phone on the first try. But this time, they did. And they were so very good and kind to me that I made it through that night without doing anything stupid whatsoever.
The next morning I received a message from this old friend, the one that saved me the night before. We hadn’t spoken much at all around that time and you can imagine the surprise, the mind-melting gratitude, the reality-bending record-scratch that the following data incited.
As it turned out, the friend who answered the phone, the one I thought was saving my life the night before, was on their way to end their own life when they answered my call. If i hadn’t called them right then, as they explained, at that exact time and on that exact day, they would not be with us now, today.
I followed my heart when it didn’t make sense and someone truly precious to me still walks the Earth as a result. I guess I’m sharing this because we should all be aware. No matter what the critics say (and that includes the self): listen to your heart. You may be much, much more sorry if you don’t.
In honor of Venus, on this Friday I’ve used the magic of the internet to feel connected to the rest of you out there in the world by sharing this curated musical experience.
This is hard, y’all. In so many different ways for each and every one of us. I guess I feel rather helpless right now, as I’m sure many of us do, and this is the best way of commiserating that I can can come up with right now; Sharing the feels. Long-distance empathy.
As I watched the latest episode of Last Week Tonight transmitted to one isolated room from another, I expected to find a usual creature-comfort in the familiar voice of a caring, humanist television show-host, but even the usual haunts for comfort seem to be… well, haunted.
The video of the man protesting Amazon for shipping non-essential items such as dildos, a word which he seemed to very much enjoy saying to a TV camera, was used as an example of presumably agreeable, and maybe even righteous outrage. John Oliver completely agrees: Amazon should not be shipping non-essential items at the expense of the health of their employees, their families, and those on either end of said deliveries.
But.. what exactly is a non-essential item? Who gets to determine the parameters of this classification and how much empathy do they have for those living with mental health conditions and behavioral disorders? Do they consider emotional well-being an essential? What about our health? Not prescription big-medicine stuff, but the thousands-of-years-old technologies of preventative medicine, including adequate time outdoors amongst the wilderness, exercise, and possibly the most crucial lynchpin in the delicate machine of human sanity: Interaction. We need it even when we’re healthy and happy and there are many people out there who aren’t either of those things on their best day. There are many who don’t have anyone at home and have no job to distract them. And what of them? Are the suicide risks less in number than the Covid deaths and is risk-assessment/loss-prevention and data analysis even the right way to make these decisions? Roughly 40,000 Americans commit suicide per year. How many more will it be this year?
Somewhere in a room there are a group of people, probably all white and male, who get to decide these things, but we all know what a world of essential items only looks like on a longer timeline.
Millions are out of work and we haven’t even begun to see the fallout from the relief loans taking longer than small businesses can manage to hang on in the interim. Not to mention the intentionally unrealistic requirement of keeping all your employees on payroll if you don’t want to pay the loans back.
I think what hurts the most is that the projected number of deaths in the U.S. is down to a low of 60,000 from an original 2 million, putting this pandemic on the scale of a normal-to-heavy flu season. And 80% of the deaths in the US, at this time, had preexisting conditions. So why didn’t we just isolate everybody with preexisting conditions instead of shutting down the whole world and causing another financial crisis complete with total bailouts for big business and maybe-if-you’re-good grants for small timers? I know this not. It’s impossible to even gleam a clue from the downright assault on sensory input and the constant shifting of numbers and positions that is keeping us all hyper-vigilant.
Meanwhile the richest (and nearly tax-exempt) commercial distributer the world has ever known is making every single dollar your local business is missing out on and Jeff is not inviting you to the Mars base.
The good news is, I’m not the only one feeling like an alien and you’re not the only one who believes that you need that dildo. I believe in your needs. We agree that what is inside of us and invisible must be cared for and tended to, that our interiority truly matters. That being said, there must be a lot of consideration that goes into the decision to put an Amazon delivery-person’s life on the line for your orgasm, but I trust your judgement. And the man protesting in the video didn’t want the employees’ health to be at risk, but he was somehow fine with Bezos taking them hostage in this can’t-afford-not-to-work scenario.
There are a lot of angles to consider here, but the only things I’m sure of is that the guy protesting in the parking lot isn’t helping anybody and Last Week Tonight gets their news from the same untrustworthy torrent of manipulation that the majority of people do. From one isolated room to another, to another, to another. Who know what splendors lie beyond these cold walls?
That was rhetorical.
Tread lightly everybody. Go for a jog in the other side’s shoes, if for no other reason than the valuable exercise. Admit it to yourself and others if you can do without something and avoid unnecessary risks, but speak up for goodness sake if you really need that dildo.
Until next time. I hope I could make you smile today.
Ever since Nixon was in office, the hippies were hugging, and various black-ops projects on psy research were chugging along full-steam, perspective enhancing substances (whether or not they themselves are alive and have agency) have been on the shelf labeled “DO NOT TOUCH” and “POISON.” Two audacious proclamations; The first, a command that seems antithetical in a world full of plants presumed by most lawmakers to have been created by an omnipotent deity. The second, a lie.
Propaganda, to be more precise. But we now know, as almost common household knowledge, that hallucinogens (a problematic term) can be, essentially, miracle drugs in some cases.
Appropriate set-and-setting in harmony with appropriate dosage of entheogens (a far better term, thanks Wasson/Hoffman/Ruck et al.) is proving clinically and empirically to treat depression, PTSD, and addiction.
This is where I come in. Two years ago from this very point in time I was regularly using heroin and crack; an almost entirely unrecognizable human creature from the one writing this today. And most of the perspective needed to undertake the unimaginable amounts of healing and growth I had to face when choosing a better reality was made possible because of mushrooms.
Obviously, they don’t get all the credit. I mean, I did have to lose everything in the wake of the walking disaster that was myself in order to prompt the realization that my reality could, in fact, change. But when your brain is literally damaged and you don’t remember what it’s like to feel much of anything outside of a small spectrum, that initial epiphany is not enough to maintain a path toward health. And 12-step meetings, for me, were always torture. Hearing stories from dudes still kicking in the meeting was always just a window into a world where the high still existed, and could thus be acquired. I mean, hell, that guy had some yesterday. Cognitively re-living the same horror did not lead me to freedom, so I didn’t go back this time.
I have since found that I don’t need them to maintain my perspective anymore, but for the crucial stages of recovery, mushrooms it was. I would mostly microdose to get a sense of being “beside myself” in order to gleam a glance at patterns that needed changing. I could work on them if I could see them. And every once in a while it seemed necessary to undergo a more intense communion with the fungus.
After we had made a significant amount of progress together they quite literally arranged a meeting, to my utter surprise, between myself and Kali Ma. The deconstruction and reconstruction process since has been far smoother, if not just as difficult, but I feel safe, loved, and cared for by a being that has proven her existence beyond time. That’s something!
I find it endlessly fascinating that the fungi introduced me to exactly who I needed to meet. Saturn, Venus, Mercury, and Pluto are in Scorpio on my birth chart (and my natal Sun is only a day from the cusp,) I steam from the ears when women are disrespected (even in that innocent-negligence way, bruh,) and I do not learn quickly or easily; I have to touch the iron myself. The powerful and fearsome body-parts-as-clothing four-armed demon-slaying goddess of Shakti was the teacher I needed and the mushrooms presented me to her without my prompting them for anything other than whatever they thought was best at the time.
I also find it endlessly fascinating that all of this, the healing of my family relationships, starting college for the first time, getting back into my spiritual practice, writing this blog, owning up to my “life-contracts” (as in the ones we make before we come here,) this metamorphosis was all made possible by a thousand little felonies.
I was a criminal when I was useless, and I had to remain one to get better.
And nobody can change the irrefutable fact that all those felonies saved my life.
Well lately, dear readers, it has been these fine and wonderful albums.
May they brighten your corona-handicapped Springtime as much as they have mine. Stay safe. Stay sane. Feed your feels and take care of each other. These are strange days. Don’t forget to dance and laugh and cry and sing: Your life may depend on it.
“Man should not live on bread alone. And also sometimes, fuck bread.” -God.
Growing up in a Christian cult, I was lucky enough to participate in many an Old Testament holiday. That’s right; Christmas, Halloween, Easter, birthdays, and anything remotely glistening with festive innocence was dragged kicking and screaming into the spotlight of historical and dogmatic scrutiny and deemed pagan and forbidden. Because nothing says childhood like cynical asceticism. No, I didn’t get fun holidays. I got things like fasting.
This would have all been a boon to my ritually-inclined side if there had been any sort of coherence to the logic behind these rituals that seemed to serve no purpose other than self-punishment, but for little-bitty-Brian, there were no such reasons. I was offered no explanation that fasting, for instance, induced altered states, but instead given a flimsy logic involving frailty and dependence. There was never any sign in my father or mother’s eyes that it made sense to them, only a sense of duty and expectation. Like with taxes.
Even now that I am fully-grown and have my own practice full of ritual, I thought it might provide a way-in to a means of understanding these customs, but Passover was two nights ago and as I helped my grandmother put all the leavened food in a trash bag (one that would not go into the compost pile due to nuanced biblical law but be sent to the landfill to rot amongst non-biodegradables) I couldn’t help but fall into analysis.
The idea of this holy holiday, as I was always taught, is that yeast represents our sin and that for the sake of a ritual exercise, we will expel all sin from our property and lives in order to better understand what it will be like when Christ returns. Now, even if I ignore the irrefutable fact that from a cognitive sensory perspective this essentially equates Jesus’ comeback story with a removal of variety and enjoyment, I cannot ignore the audacity of both referring to something as ubiquitous and ethereally present as yeast as “sin” nor can I fathom what possesses the keepers of this holiday into thinking that something floating in the air around us all the time can ever be purged. You’re literally breathing it, even when you choose to eat flatbread for one week.
Yeast is our friend. The baker is it’s business partner and many of yeasts’ relatives keep your belly producing the right amounts of dopamine. Yeasts are actually fungi and I could literally write a book (and I am) about the occult relationship between humans and fungi, and I’m not even talking about psilocybin here. Just fungi. The stuff that almost definitely came here from space and transmuted the rock into nutrients for bacteria and eventually plants to thrive on. I’m supposed to equate that with sin?
In my mind, the numerous myths about the earth-mother or goddess sending forth a spirit to shape the land, a spirit of breath or air, does little in the way of excluding yeast from this perfect world when we consider that it’s ancestors likely shaped this world for us. There is a popular theory that water first came to Earth in the form of a giant frozen ice-cube, we already know that spores can survive being frozen, and some can even survive the vacuum of space. So let’s take a look at a popular story amongst practitioners of this yeast-banishing holiday, just for the sake of occulted perspective, from the viewpoint of the consciousness of the fungi itself, just floating in a block of ice near it’s spores and looking for a place to create a world. Remember ‘waters’ can be frozen and ‘without form and void’ could easily describe the planet pre-H2O.
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Now what happens when that consciousness in a chunk of ice careening towards our solar system feels the warmth of our sun? After all, you can’t have biological life without heat as far as we know.
“And God saw the light, that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.”
Now, if you are floating in space, it would always be daytime. But the second you descend to earth, from your perspective, you would have “created” night and day by “separating” the light from the dark through a change in vantage point.
Then, skipping to verse 6, we get some insight into what it would have been like in the very first days of mushy, water-filled Earth. Hundreds of thousands of years of chemical reactions, gasses forming and expelling, water sinking deeper into the earth before boiling back up into the atmosphere. This was one of the most violent and crazy times on the face of this planet, as the water cycle found its groove.
“And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.”
And now we have rain, snow, clouds, etc. Due to some findings in 2019, scientists are fairly certain that fungi crawled onto the land long before the beginnings of plants or animals did thus juxtaposing my Genesis thought-experiment with the various messages transmitted to Terrence McKenna by the mushroom consciousness telling the exact same story. Look it up.
Feel free to follow the rest of genesis through the evolution of plants, then animals, and then finally the break in ice ages with God “resting,” and all the while it’s far too easy to imagine yeast’s common ancestor observing the whole thing unfolding through an experience of time that is wholly unlike our own. Anyone who has communed with mushrooms knows that time is not the same for them and they enjoy showing this off to us monkeys.
All it would take is one person on a meal’s worth of psilocybe asking to be shown where we came from, then passing that story on orally until it became doctrine many generations after it was first told. I probably would have called the voice “God” too after an experience like that.
Back to here and now, as I watched the yeasts being demonized and my grandparents seeming to act more out of obligation to rules they don’t need to understand in order to follow, I realized exactly what ritual means to me. The occulted relationships between us and other living things, like yeasts, already have stories present. Vast, rich stories that tell the true-true of our relationality. When we go ascribing meaning all willy-nilly it’s no different than interspecies racism.
Truly, and above everything else, ritual is about what makes sense to me and making a pariah out of the being that may have actually done all that legwork just doesn’t. The spirit of the power of the air just might be the same one that makes your bread rise.
Put that in your animist pipe and smoke to your heart’s content.
When I first read Gordon White’s Chaos Protocols I performed an admittedly half-assed and destined-to-fail crossroads rite. I was in a desperate situation and without nearly enough effort put into the location, and with little confidence that it was anything remotely close to successful afterwards, I did it anyway.
It was only last week (now nearly a year since the half-rite) that it occurred to me that I did, in fact, get what I asked for, technically, so without further hubbub, here’s a song I wrote about the Devil.
Now we’re square.
Finally me the Devil and he ain’t so bad. Bent my ear lamenting on the luck that he had had. Shared a civil parlance on complexities of blame. He said “You always take the fall when you’re the only game in town.”
Long ago, far away. Comes ’round sometimes, never can stay.
Mercury, sulphur, salt. If we were made this way is it still our fault?
Finally met the devil and he ain’t so bad a guy. But people keep projecting all the things that they don’t like. Stop to see his wares ’cause he just might have what ya need. Before you sign the contract just make sure the wording is precise.
Long ago, far away. Comes ’round sometimes, never can stay.
Mercury, sulphur, salt. If we were made this way is our fault?
Long ago and far away he told the boss-man he had somethin’ to say.
Go and meet him down the lane.
Where the two roads cross, between the night and day.
It ain’t always easy being into what I’ve affectionately coined Christianimism as there are few sources worth pulling from that don’t bleed into, or borrow from, traditions that I’ve no business adopting. A lot of magic involving the saints comes from Afro-Caribbean traditions in which there are often other spirits using the forms of the saints and their iconography to interact with the peoples with whom they have relations. This is generally a bad idea for a white midwestern boy that has no authority with those potentially dangerous spirits, nor any idea what their relational protocol might be.
There aren’t a lot of saints in hoodoo, and the Catholics in North America refuse to admit to their magical acts of devotion so there is a whole lot of trial-and-error, research, and creative magical thinking that has to come into play to adequately explore this most fascinating of Western magical traditions.
After reading up on the saints I was interested in and setting them up on my altar, of course I get contacted very strongly by two I had yet to even research or find interest in. This time in the blogosphere I want to talk about the occulting or jailbreaking of just one of those two pious characters; Saint Benedict.
It seems safe to think of St. Benedict as a Saturnian influence based solely on the nature of his miracles. He took sickness away from people, avoided sinister plots against him that would have resulted in him “dying before his time,” has a special protective nature against poisons and for the home, performed exorcisms, and had authority over whether or not stuff was physically broken. He also had a way of seeing deep down to one’s true motivations and exposing them for what they were. If that isn’t Saturnian, I truly do not know what is.
It is certainly worth mentioning here, however, that the majority of these miracles were performed by him through prayer, and while he believed very strongly that students should rarely speak and casual discourse was a path to sin, this most strict among brothers also built into his order that different prayers should be repeated for specific times of day, and repeated often.
He believed strongly in the power of oratory prayer and this makes him a wonderful ally to be called upon to join one in a ceremony of prayer. This is also indicative of a Mercurial current that carries forth as a more minor accent, as well as a Jupiterian one in his renovation of monasticism that carries on to this day.
So if you are trying to build a community and find self-discipline, he just may be the saint you’ve been looking for. Just remember, it was Benedict of Nursia himself who told his would-be underlings when they begged of him his leadership that they would only regret their request of his authority, for he would be too strict for their tastes in short time. To which they replied, “Nay! We will have you as our leader!” Attempting, of course, to kill him via poison not long after his acquiescence.
Turns out he was right.
He also became uncomfortable with being noticed for his miracles and disappeared into solitude a couple times throughout his life. One of which times was spent in a cave, mostly fasting, and could thus be an ally if one needs to spend a lot of time in solitude. Potentially if, say, quarantined.
I’ve saved you the trouble of reading The Life of St. Benedict and made a list of potentially magically relevant miracles and plot-points to consider both in the sense of narrative and apparent metaphysics.
Fixed a broken sieve through prayer.
Dramatically threw a glass bottle out a high window to make a point to a monk, and because his cause was just, the bottle did not break – thus preserving the small amount of oil that remained.
Raised a boy from the dead.
Returned a dead zombie boy to his grave after he arose from it (different boy, probably.)
Cured folks of leprosy.
Discovered wine hidden by his brothers.
Prayed over a bowl/glass in which poison had been slipped in a conspiracy to kill him. Upon making the sign of the cross the dish cracked in two, spilling the contents and saving his life.
Avoided notoriety like the plague, knew when to walk away without shame, and made the most of his alone-time.
Patron saint of cavers and probably the influence for Tarot’s the Hermit.
Untied the knots of a bound captive with just a will and a glance.
Exorcised a monk who had lost his way by hitting him with a “wand.” – That’s so wizard.
He seemed to be able to tell when things would end through prophecy and vision, including the monastery he built as well as, down to the day God told him it would happen, his own life.
Had visions. And I mean visions. Check this out: “Benedict, being diligent in watching, rose up before the night office and stood at the window making his prayer to Almighty God about midnight, when suddenly, looking forth, he was a light glancing from above, so bright and resplendent that it not only dispersed the darkness of the night, but shined more clear than the day itself. Upon this sight a marvellous strange thing followed, for, as he afterwards related, the whole world, compacted as it were together, was represented to his eyes in one ray of light. As the venerable Father had his eyes fixed upon this glorious lustre, he beheld the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, carried by angels to Heaven in a fiery globe. Then, for the testimony of so great a miracle, with a loud voice he called upon Servandus the Deacon, twice or thrice by his name, who, troubled at such an unusual crying out of the man of God, came up, looked forth, and saw a little stream of light then disappearing, and wondered greatly at this miracle. Whereupon the man of God told him in order all that he had seen, and sent presently to Theoprobus, a Religious man in the town of Casino, ordering him to go the same night to Capua, and learn what had happened to Germanus the Bishop. It fell out so, that he who was sent found the most reverend Bishop Germanus dead, and on enquiring more exactly, he learned that his departure was the very same moment in which the man of God had seen him ascend.”
He was also made psychically aware of a boy getting carried away by a stream, which he then telepathically communicated to brother Maurus, who was so motivated and justified by his psychic hero-mission that he didn’t even notice himself running on the water to save this kid by the scruff. Consider the shape of this, metaphysically. Perhaps he’s the kind of saint that will help you out in an emergency, to exceed your own limits and rise to impossible tasks with single-mindedness.
When one of his monks decided to leave the monastery he began to pray for him. Upon leaving the monastery the monk saw a great dragon which frightened him into remaining with Benedict in the pious life. This sort of manipulation for positive influence is morally tenuous, and truly fascinating tactically.
Consider this story for inspiration on emergency St. Benedict petitions for finance: “So he came to the Monastery, where finding the servant of Almighty God, told him how he was extremely urged by his creditor for the payment of twelve shillings. The venerable father answered him that, in very deed, he had not twelve shillings, but yet he comforted his want with good words, saying: “Go, and after two days return hither again for today I have it not to give thee.” These two days, as his custom was, he spent in prayer, and, on the third day, when the poor debtor came again, thirteen shillings were found upon a chest of the Monastery that as full of corn. These the man of God caused to be brought to him, and gave them to the distressed man, saying that he might pay twelve, and have one to defray his charges.”
Or this one if you live off-grid “…went up to the rock and there prayed a long time. Having ended his prayers, he put three stones for a mark in the same place, and so unknown to all he returned to his Monastery. Next day, when the Brethren came again to him for want of water he said: “Go, and on the rock where you shall find three stones one upon another, dig a little, for Almighty God is able to make water spring from the top of that mountain, that you may be eased of this labour.” When they had made a hollow in that place, it was immediately filled with water, which issueth forth so plentifully that to this day it continueth running down to the floor of the mountain.”
There is also a known cunning tradition of burying a St. Benedict coin at each of the four corners of a property for protection and fortification.
His iconography includes a raven, lending his appearance to sometimes resemble Odin when coupled with his staff and hooded robe. Saturn and Mercury, indeed.
Other Benedictine symbols include a broken vessel and book, though anything could be used from these narratives if they resonate with you, in theory.
Bringing up these narrative points as a means to consider potential ways of collaborating with St. Benedict is my sole intention, as I am only beginning to actually get to know him myself. I claim no authority on the matter and should very much like to hear from anyone who has worked with this saint.
One last point to consider:
PETER. I would know whether he obtained these great miracles always by prayer, or did they some times only by the intimation of his will?
GREGORY. They who are perfectly united with God, when necessity requireth, work miracles both ways, sometimes they do wonders by prayer, sometimes by power. For since St. John saith: “As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become sons of God.” What wonder is it if they have the privilege and power to work miracles who are exalted to the dignity of children of God. And that they work miracles in both ways is manifest in St. Peter, who by prayer, raised Tabitha from death, and punished with death Ananias and Sapphira for their falsehood. For we do not read that he prayed when they fell down dead, but only that he rebuked them for their fault committed. It is evident therefore that these things are done sometimes by power, sometimes by petition; since that by reproof he deprived these of their life, and by prayer revived the other.
There is an uncanny amount of garbage clogging up the psychosphere in the form of inaccurate data and media terror campaigns. Whether it’s an Eurobank conspiracy, healthcare/election play, or just pure chaos the only thing any of us can be sure of is that the situation stinks. In times like these I find myself grasping to see above the waves, fruitlessly clinging to hope that somehow I’ll wake up tomorrow and discern signal from static; That it will all suddenly make sense.
So far, each morning, it hasn’t.
In hopes of attaining some clarity I’ve formulated a game plan:
Step One: Commit to NO Coronavirus news for three days. Probably nothing is going to happen in that amount of time. Definitely if anything does, someone will fucking tell you about it. Probably two or three someones before the day is through. Cut it off and see how you feel by the end of day three. If others keep you updated and the lack of stressful news is working for you, keep it going full-steam. Consider what benefit watching news outlets provides you. Consider, objectively, what the effects are when you ingest these sources in your normal life compared to the intensity and quantity you’ve been consuming since the coronavirus took over our lives. Are you actually gaining useful data, or are you only accumulating a greater intensity of emotion? Make a pros and cons list. Do it.
Step Two: There are 24 hours in a day and you can’t meditate for 20 minutes? You’re not even working this week. I kid, I kid. Probably. Really, though, now is the best time to start relieving stress and exploring your inner world. Try out some guided meditations or write and record you own after you realize you could do it better than most of the fluff that’s out there (the spirit guide ones seem to be the least bad.) Then send me a copy of your homemade ones because I need some better options too. We can trade.
Step Three: If you are under quarantine, call someone on the phone every day. At least once. Even if it’s just for a second and for no reason, and trust your intuition. You might not need to hear another human voice right now, but what if that other human voice needs to hear another human voice right now? Small actions can have huge consequences, or did you not read The Hobbit? That could easily be step 3.5 if not.
Step Four: I’ve been drawn to St. Lucy for a while now. She is usually depicted as holding a dish containing a second set of eyes and I, for one, found this to be blatantly divinatory in symbolism. Not only in reference to the ancient art of basin or water divination, but also the concept of second-sight. The ability to see the spirits, the subtleties of matter, or even the Tao itself all fall, in my mind, under this umbrella idea of second-sight. Regardless of St. Lucy’s patronage to the blind and the backstory of her second eyes being merely replacements for the martyred peepers her betrothed had removed upon discovering her christian ways, there is still some kind of magic in that first set of eyes going with God. Ghost eyes, if you will. Not to mention her striking resemblance to the Delphic oracle; branch in her left hand, water basin in her right.
After some internet digging it would seem that there are some southern cunning and conjure spells dealing with St. Lucy and divination. When intuition and research agree enough to get a foot in the door, you get experiments. I modified a common novena to St. Lucy with the renovated intent to help us see through the illusions in our present lives.
To be recited three times daily for nine days. Burn a white candle each day or keep a vigil candle going ’round the clock. Consider using the timing methods suggested in the previous post to this one to decide on a time of day for the initial and subsequent recitations or, as I like to do sometimes on Sundays, set up any saints or angels icons you have and live-stream Holy Mass as a lead-in to your work. Consider some lubricious psalms or a few Hail Mary’s (nothing crazy, just ten or twenty to get your head in the game.)
As always, I invite you to share any comments, questions, or experiences below.
Reverend Janglebones’ Novena To St. Lucy for the Blessing of Second-Sight:
O St. Lucy, you chose to surrender your sight instead of denying the faith and defiling your soul.
You chose to give your eyes to God rather than to close them to His light. And God, through an extraordinary miracle, replaced them with a second set of sound and perfect eyes to reward your virtue and faith, appointing you as the keeper of the second-sight.
They sold your body to sinful men, but they could not defile your soul; for the Bearer of Light in the Darkness is forever chaste in her Holy Death; a martyr for the Lord.
O St. Lucy, protector of the blind, I rely entirely upon your intercession that I may not be counted among those who are blind to the innumerable splendors of the Lord, but that I may see a great many things which would normally be hidden from view, through the virtue of the second-sight which I entreat you to bestow upon me.
Preserve in me the eyes of my soul, the faith through which I can know my God, so that I may see the beauty in Holy Creation, the flow of the Sun, the Moon and stars, the dancing of the Holy Angels, and every deceit devised by spirits malevolent. That I may never lose sight of His love for me, nor the road that leads me to where you, Saint Lucy, can be found keeping company with all of the holy saints and angels.
Saint Lucy, preserve my faith and enhance my second-sight. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be x3)
O, Glorious St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr, you greatly glorified the Lord by preferring to sacrifice your life rather than be unfaithful. Come to our aid and, through the love of this same most merciful Lord, save us from blindness to the Holy Spirit and reveal all illusions in our path. Through your powerful intercession, may we spend our lives in the peace of the Lord and be able to see Him with our transfigured eyes in the eternal splendour of our celestial home. Amen.
St Lucy, pray for us and for those in most need of your blessings.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Candle spells are undoubtedly the basic-bitch of the magic world. Some swear by them and others swear about them, but where is the split? On one hand I can completely understand the allure found in the simplicity of lighting a candle and making a wish but is that really effective? On the other I can see where a more advanced practitioner would gleefully turn their nose up at such a practice, even if just to preserve their own investments in light of the frustration they feel when watching noobs do very little before boldly proclaiming themselves wizards.
In either case there is one thing for certain; there are egos in the way.
If you want to wish into a candle and manifest it subsequently then there are a few ontological and philosophical parameters that I believe can help raise this practice from the shelf of the novitiate and revitalize the heart (and the metaphysics) of the candle spell.
Fire = Hot
First, take a few moments to forget, to the best of your ability, all your learned notions of the metaphorical properties of the elements. Let all those associations go with just a few deep breaths. Now, let’s think about fire for a minute. If you have a candle handy, light it. Sit with it. Think about the nature of that little spirit you’ve just conjured. Consider how easily that little spirit can act like a gremlin fed post-midnight when not properly tended to. Think of a single word to represent the process that is taking place before your very eyes. That light, it’s potential; all-encompassing and fatal. A lack thereof, equally as such.
I personally arrive at the word “Hunger.” with a capital H. In an animist model of the universe, everything has an interiority, a spirit, intelligence, or consciousness. Our fire is the very embodiment of need and this is the only association required here. Fire needs, as do we. Give the fire agency in your mind. Even if you don’t believe it, try it a few times. If you partake of cannabis this is probably all too easy. Perhaps recite Eliphas Levi’s Prayer of the Salamanders. Clear your head and feel the sounds of the words. Build the image in your mind’s eye as you go along and try to keep your mind uncluttered of thought, then sit with your flame. Get to know one another for a while.
How Do You Want It?
The next step is to allow that want/need to flow through you freely as a wild desire. Meditate on the target of your spell. Dig deep within and notice any clever resistances to your goal. Do you actually not feel that you deserve what you want? Are you selling yourself short? This is where the success or failure of your candle spell is most likely determined: Your ability to want with your whole being, totally conscience-free. No guilt, and no shame. If you cannot do this, reconsider your target. More often than we could stomach believing, I’d wager, what we want is actually not that far off, but we have numerous resistances within that prevent the manifestation of our desire. Bhakti yoga can be very helpful in this process. Once the bliss of adoration can flow through you because of a godform, it isn’t that much of a stretch to feel something of similar intensity towards a preferred outcome in your life.
Ongoing shadow work is crucial to keeping one’s intentions pure and powerful, as are ancestral relations. The effectiveness of one’s magic is directly proportional to the amount of clean-up work that has been invested in one’s overall spiritual health and that of their lineage. I mention this now rather than in the last step because there is a lot of prep work to be done here for most everyone.
Don’t say candle spells don’t work if you haven’t put in the time to fortify your own convictions about how your life should look. We have to clean up our messes before we can have any new toys.
Timing Is… …Everything.
If you have a basic understanding of astrology or gods of the classical world, then you understand something of the personalities of the planets. Matching the nature of your spell’s intent to the nature of the planet that rules the day of the week on which you begin your spell, with a petition and offering to that planet at dawn, can greatly increase the chances of your success. Additionally, I always end a candle spell on a full moon regardless of the duration. Consider what sign the moon is in during your spell and how that position, plus any malefic or benefic aspects from the other heavenly bodies might play into your success or failure from an astrological perspective. Or, perhaps use grimoiric timing, the foundation of many later timing systems including that widely employed in Wicca. If you need something now, then by all means do something about it immediately, but often it is far preferable to wait for the right time.
Dress For Success.
Dressing the candle by poking holes of a number somehow relevant to your working and stuffing them with herbs and oils to get the attention of whomever you may be petitioning for assistance is also another helpful way of weaving together your need with the planets of the day, the spirits that assist you, and the raw chemical need of the fire itself. Remember that the animal world has representational language, the spirit world has symbolic language, and we humanfolk have both. This is the way magic works, which reminds me…
Make a sigil of your goal and carve it into the candle, deep enough that it will be visible when lit. You will charge it when you pour your heart and intention into the flame like fuel, emboldening the beacon of your need. The sigil will charge and, as the candle burns, be destroyed and successfully forgotten to the Unconscious realm.
My most successful candle spells have been accompanied by a story as told through a succession of carefully chosen tarot cards laid out in order across the space or surrounding the candle representing the progression of attainment or relevant characteristics. The more intent and sensory guidance you put into this, the more metaphor, the more you will get out but that isn’t to say busier is better. Simple and intentional is best. Make it a story a spirit can understand. The card progression in this post’s main image is meant to convey the acquisition of a lucrative new job in a creative field and I have used Robert M. Place’s Alchemical Tarot for it’s highly illustrative and largely self-explanatory nature (regarding the images, not the alchemical sigil-fest.)
Get clean and get comfortable, in a clean space, and alter your consciousness by your chosen trusted means. Invoke, meditate, take a bong rip, microdose, it doesn’t matter. Make sure you have given thought to your room’s general mood and ambiance and cleared the room or banished and that you will not be interrupted. Petition any of your allies, guides, and honored dead to help in thine occasion, with their own offerings of appreciation according to your relationship with them.
Finally, light your candle. Perhaps you wrote a prayer for your need, or a poem. Never underestimate the power of a few well-chosen words with your whole heart behind them. Perhaps a mantra that fits your work, maybe one of your own devising or some Our Fathers. Perhaps draw a picture and put that under your candle, if visual expression is your bag. Imagine the end result. Imagine, as Mitch Horowitz recommends, remembering doing this spell from the end result. Feel the aching, yearning pull of your targeted desire. Allow that to flow through you like light and sound. Like you’re in love. Get emotionally involved in this and make it count. Stare into the flame and use whatever breathing method works for you. I do a five count in, five count hold, five count out, five count hold, repeat. Shop around.
I sometimes go for an hour per session, sometimes five minutes. This is a personal preference, although I do recommend trying for longer periods. There are levels of intensity that require time investment in order to reach, at least until a familiarity is gained with that conscious state and can thus be invoked with less time and effort. Dawn and dusk are ideal times of day for these sessions unless you are using planetary hours that suggest more favorable options. When you feel your session has ended, snuff out your candle and thank your assisting spirits and ask them to return when you plan to continue. Do show up, though.
If by the end of your spell, like me, you let your candle melt into a disk within its burning dish, think of a nice incantation or prayer to sum up this work and seal the deal by carving it into the leftover wax puck. This can be kept until the fruits of the operation are harvested or, as I usually do with mine, they can be buried in a sacred place or at a crossroads. I offer mine into the earth as a seed down by my hearth in the woods. Make it your own.
I Dare You To Succeed
The best things about candle spells are their diversity and their simplicity. You will not be appropriating anyone’s culture by wishing into a flame and there is an amazing amount of room to make this practice your own. I have found an unusual amount of success in this most basic of magical acts and I urge you to consider these suggestions. Perhaps candle spells do work for you, if you get the peripherals right. Again, the keys to this actually working are the gathering of otherworldly witnesses, the weaving of metaphor, of story in front of them, and the ability to allow desire to truly blossom and flow through you. If these things can be cooperatively employed “silly” will no longer be a word subtexting candle spells in your mind.
Please, share with me your successes and failures, past and present, in the comments below! It is we that are our most valuable resource, we together.
Thanks to GrepGiggles for inspiring this post with a write-in question. My contact form is always open.