It’s Personal

It’s been a while. How have you been? I’m sorry I’ve been so bad about keeping in touch. It’s been a very strange year. I’m sure you can relate if you’re also human. I imagine we’ve all been going through some deeply personal experiences in myriad forms, both outside, and in, irrevocably blurring the dividing line we were taught to imagine separates them, and bringing a different reality into view. 

So much has happened and I’ve been trying to sort out just why I haven’t written, which has opened up a fresh can of questions regarding the point of this blog and sharing things publicly, in general. The horrifying astrological configurations this year are reflections of tides and cycles in the causal, literal world; very real powers, in the face of whom we can only hope to appease, ride, or get out of the way. It would seem as though at times where we are collectively wading through the shit together, the sharing of personal experiences, trials, tricks, and triumphs would be exponentially more relevant and important. 

So why then? Why has my gut feeling been that radio silence has been almost necessary for so long? Part of it is that my life has never been so good. Sharing that feels almost inappropriate when so many are having a terrible time. But with the difficult stuff, it’s been exactly what I said earlier: Personal. Which is exactly why I’m going to share some of it: Because I’m a little scared to.

I recently had some very intense and major “energy” work done that revealed something behind my left shoulder, on my back. A bubble pushing on my left back shoulderblade. Imagine a twisted balloon, the smaller bubble being a part of myself which I had, at some point, made a choice to cut off from the flow of my conscious being. As my practitioner friend and I isolated it with our combined focus, I began to notice that the pains in my arm, shoulder, and back that had been there chronically hurting for years, began to intensify and eventually lift off of my skin slightly. My friend then said they were seeing the aforementioned bubbles, then the small one breaking the seal and being reabsorbed into the larger one as a whole. They said, upon further meditation, that it was a big masculine energy that I had chosen to “turn in on myself” as a means of preventing the possibility of any output of toxic masculinity, and that while this was a somewhat noble action, this was not an healthy or sustainable flow pattern. They told me I was strong enough to hold it now, that I had earned it. They then told me to bring it into my heart chakra and “love it.” 

My initial internal reaction was to complain that I wasn’t sure how to do that, but something in me took over and just did it. Then, for a moment, I became genuinely frightened having this agitated intensely masculine force burning and twitching in my chest, but I did somehow find the capacity to see it as a wounded thing and simply love it. This took a few moments, but eventually it stopped twitching, cooled slightly, and held a steady warmth. Then it expanded downwards filling the lower areas of my Orphic egg/energy body/whatever you wanna cal it. This sensation was truly astounding. It was as if I had anchored in to the earth and connected to a strength I hadn’t known in years. And it was about this time that I noticed my shoulder and upper back on my left side, a source of torment for over a decade despite numerous chiropractor visits, exercises, massages, and prayers, or more accurately noticed that I wasn’t noticing it in any pain. The source of that pain had been relieved. It was around that time I realized that I had been crying. It felt like I was embracing an old friend whom I not only thought was dead, but had altogether forgotten their existence. That was three weeks ago or so and my neck and back are still 90% healed, with residual tension and physical damage correcting itself as time goes onward. But those three weeks were no picnic.

It turns out that the part of me I reassimilated had not been encoded with any of the lessons or temperences I have been enriched by in the years since our disconnect. Imagine suddenly having a version of yourself talking to you in your head, commenting on fucking everything, and that version of you is ten or twenty years younger. The selfish, ignorant, destructive bullshit tendencies and worldviews of a younger you just haunting the living shit out of you. So what did I do? I talked to him gently every time and said “Look, we did it. We can do things this way now. Isn’t that nice?” And never once did he protest, but gladly and immediately re-patterned to the new, better way of being/thinking which was before him. This still took a few weeks, but the process is pretty much complete now.

So why am I sharing all this? Well, because I know as well as anybody that this sort of thing can be very difficult to believe sometimes, even when you’re in it. And perhaps my story or my ways of coping with something like this could come in handy for someone else. Or let them know they’re not crazy.

Also, because I want to start writing again. One thing that really helped me figure out what this blog is for was receiving the upcoming bill to keep the lights on here at reverendjanglebones.com for one more year. Turns out, it’s for whatever I want. And what I want right now is to do whatever I can to be helpful, even if that just means sharing what I’ve been wading through lately and hoping it lands for somebody out there.

Anyway, thanks for listening. 

Redefine, Man..

I never much identified with other boys or men growing up, at least not any that I met in the waking world of direct and tangible consequences. Sure, I spent some of the countless daydreaming hours of childhood in roles that were decidedly masculine such as saving princesses or leveling battlefields single-handedly, but in most cases I was riding my dragon friend, exploring fantastic new worlds, hanging on every moment of my imaginal high-adventures and even in those hetero-boy dreams the enemies I was leveling were representations of phenomena I was gleaming from waking life observations about human habit and character, and the princess was almost always a swashbuckler like myself. It was not uncommon for me to imagine myself being saved by said princess-wizard or princess-witch, or even princess lizard-warrior-person; whatever I was into that week. I think it was about the intimacy of trust and surrender, more than anything; things I couldn’t find in waking life when I was young.

My brief foray into team sports was forced upon me and consisted of a constant barrage of the very worst of homophobic slurs and hate-speech and a whole lot of chewed-up sunflower seeds projectile-launched into my hair and face, all straight from the mouths of creatures who called themselves “boys” but seemed to me more like mistakes that we had collectively made as a species and a prime directive for birth control for future generations of forward thinkers. Yes, I was that cynical when I was twelve.

Years went by and there was a brief time when I thought it reasoned out for me to forego the title of “man” altogether. Gender-fluidity is an attractive creature. We are all a compilation, an unique master-cut gem composed of varying quantities of elements and minerals, forever blessed with striking the eye differently depending on the light, depending on the angle. In this sense gender fluidity is more honest and more accurate for every human person, but eventually it occurred to me that this distinction is only necessary due to the horrific reduction of “male” and “female” down to an harmful obtuseness, an archetype to which autocratic control of the idea is relinquished.

I mean to say that I could take a stance on the way “men” are overwhelmingly problematic by refusing to identify as one, but therein lies a failure on my part be active within the solution: I disagree with, and take offense to, the common conception of what a “man” looks and acts like, but when I choose to identify as something else all my efforts to re-pattern are no longer working towards the reformation of that definition of man. In essence, it’s just easier for me to abandon the man-ship than it is to fight that current and stand for a better idea of what men can be, how they can think of themselves, and how they can be nurturers as well as protectors. Hell, they can even still engage in psychologically healthy, culturally sensitive, well-placed violence when another man is giving us decent broheims a bad name, whether that be through physical conflict (which is another area seeming to lack an abundance of nuanced non fear-based analysis/thinking) or through strategic blog-posts and simply living well and treating others with respect and consideration (but with that secretly satisfying internal victory over all those who threw abuse in my general direction and expected me to become like them.)

I’m not asking anyone to change anything, to be clear. I just feel that this thought process has something worthwhile therein. The areas that need the most attention are the easiest to abandon, and I get that the concept of imagining a better male archetype is not a one-person job. It’s not even a one-generation job, but it’s one that inevitably needs to be done or I presume the collective spiritually conscious “we” will always be fighting the “men” in one way or another. We may not be able to change hearts and minds, but we are certainly familiar with working with ideas as living things. Perhaps that is an apt place to start. I’m not super comfortable with the versions of male archetypes that are running around in minds at-large these days and I’ll bet you’re not either, but if you believe like it do that the imaginal is a real place that is ever-presently interactive with the tangible, then we have a responsibility to start enforcing better ideas. If we abandon the masculine to the erroneous masses, we allow those archetypes to continue thrashing about throwing tantrums disguised as chivalry unchallenged and unchecked throughout the unconscious. We magicians have the upper hand in the realm because we know it’s real. Use it. Feed the good “guys.”

I know for myself Serapis has been a place to begin because, as it turns out in most cases, the fewer stories there are about a male deity the less there is to dislike.

I would love to hear about your own grapplings with masculinity in the comments. No rules just right.

Anyway, it feels good to talk about this. Because as much as I would love to just opt-out, the facts remain that I’m Man. Now it’s a question of how to nurture a non-toxic version of that and manifest it here in waking life as a collective activism and a living example to the emotionally underdeveloped, the testosterone-tweaked, and the just plain ignorant. Every domino that falls may knock two more down. Every time a decent man can show strength in vulnerability, he does the others a favor in striving for balance and providing an example. If enough of us acted as such, the tyrants could find no purchase on the climb to dominance. 

Resistance, The Shadow, & Ethical Malefica

It seems obvious that any time someone compulsively avoids an issue it’s because there is something present within or connected to the issue of which they are afraid or by which they’ve been traumatized. Sometimes that’s due to the action of others, sometimes our own foolish folly. In either case what we find is a partition between the actively aware self and some dark corner of the mind. It reminds me of instances where a parent loses a child and seals up their room as a sort of museum shrine to their lost beloved offspring. The rest of the world keeps changing with age and experience, but the room becomes an out-of-place fixed anomaly, which in turn can become a petri dish for less-than-pleasant phenomena. So too goes the shadow.

My first experience with my shadow was when I was 18 years old and in Florida. One of my best friends had stopped by, distraught over yet another argument with his long-time girlfriend (for eighteen year-olds anyway) who was quite clairvoyant, but had little control and was often tormented by her abilities. My friend and I decided to go to the beach, but at his request we drove an extra fifteen minutes to an access point we rarely frequented and parked far back in the dunes where the car would be hidden from potential friends driving by in our small town, where everyone (and their cars) were overly familiar and recognizable. It was no more than forty minutes later that his girlfriend came walking up behind us along the shore, now nearly a mile up the beach from the car, asking him if they could talk, as if there was nothing strange about any of this whatsoever. 

After they had talked (for a teenage relationship’s length of time) I approached her about the only thing on my mind the whole time I waited: How the fuck did she know where we were? 

Her casual reply when I asked her was, “Your little boy told me, the one that lives in your yard.”

Of course, I started to shake. Sure, this would have been urine-inducing enough on its own, but add to that my experiences within the month or so leading up to this conversation, the ones where I knew I was being watched regularly at night when I was out on the screened-in porch, and I was lucky to have nothing but salty air on my shorts. I had also, within the couple of weeks prior, experienced an escalation. I was getting rocks thrown at me from the exact spot it seemed I was being watched from; a stand of three palm trees and a wild patch of Florida brush beneath. And what’s more, I had also felt that it was most assuredly a young boy. 

“He’s mad at you. He doesn’t want to be ignored, don’t be afraid of him.” She said.

Having zero evidence to the contrary, I took her advice with total conviction and much apprehension. I went home and I mowed that wild patch. And I put some potted jade and a couple trinkets down there, along with a lawn chair and an official address in which I fumbled over every word, terrified that the neighbors, or worse my mother, could see or hear me performing this seemingly insane ritual action. Nothing noticeable happened except that I felt a little more crazy. At least, until the next time I was out on the porch at night. Where before there was the thick fog of an ominous and envious gazenow it felt fine happy even, though still not entirely healthy or free of presence. When I looked over at that spot it felt like someone winking at me, still imbalanced, but no longer bitter and jealous for attention.

In the following year it became apparent to me that I had been attempting to separate from my inner-child because at that time in my life my inner-child represented a threat to my well-being. For me at that time, survival seemed dependent on the sacrificing of the inner-child for the sake of functioning in a nightmarish soul-sucking workforce when all I cared to ever do was create. Combine that with male adolescence in a social climate where toxic masculinity seemed an exclusive option and you have one sad puppy who doesn’t feel allowed to express any sadness. When placed in the proper context, nothing about any of this is surprising.

It fascinates me to this day that my inner-child was throwing rocks at me, having been twisted into a shadow by my miscalculated judgement and misdirected survival instincts, but that is exactly what happened. This was a special kind of experience. One where because others were a part of it, it cannot be unconfirmed in my mind no matter how much time or distance comes between me, here in the ever-living now, and the boy on that beach.

I wish I could say that I was suddenly adept at identifying and integrating my shadow, but I had barely yet begun creating it at that time in my life. Just as eventually the mother redecorates the bedroom and begins the arduous work of healing, so too have I now done so with more emotional trauma and self delusion than I ever thought myself resilient enough to endure. 

All this leads me to the current climate and the question of ethical malefics. Allow me to explain, but first we need to take a slight detour that turns into an on-ramp. Come along.

Now, to anyone who disagrees with malintent, be it through magic, physical force, psychological manipulation etc.; How would you feel about someone murdering your child or partner? What about emotional abuse or manipulation? Are you actually opposed to retribution itself, or is it more the issue of losing yourself in the indulgence of revenge? What about real-time self-defense?

As was elucidated in the video this too is a symptom of the shadow, albeit a much more deeply seated one than with which most people are used to working. But that doesn’t mean some don’t dare to delve that deeply into the depths. Some have no choice. And I would argue, as Jordan Peterson did, that this can be one of the most difficult aspects of the self to dissolve and reintegrate and those who have done so are worthy of respect, but what’s more this seems the only possible way of accessing the realms of necessary resistance without falling into warped emotional reward systems in relation to resistance or violence. Retribution is not sononymous with vengeance.

What if you have done all that inner work, dissolution and coagulation, with aggression like I did with my inner-child? What if you’re entirely comfortable with your moral boundaries and know that when you seek justice it is not out of an imbalanced emotional need? Why couldn’t a release of justified rage be controlled and focused on an outcome that is an appropriate outlet for that feeling rather than repressing or redirecting it? Certainly I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone (on good days) but something like “Those who swore to uphold the law shall be judged by it.” certainly wouldn’t be putting anyone in harm’s way that doesn’t absolutely deserve it. Perhaps it has no effect other than being the correct place to release that anger, but perhaps that is okay too. If outrage isn’t properly worked through it will spill out into portions of our lives in which it has no business whatsoever, and if focusing that outrage back onto the cause through magic has even a slight chance of efficacy, then why the hell not? As long as it’s genuine and not some social justice piece for your own self-propagandization.

That last question was not rhetorical. I want to hear your thoughts.

Be safe out there and take care of each other. You’re irreplaceable.

So Many Names: Venus Rx

In the first of at-least-more-than-one Venus retrograde posts, I’m doing a little dedication in hopes of remediation. Please enjoy this Lady In The Underworld-sympathetic playlist. I’ve been working on it since last friday. Most of these are a little on-the-nose in a very deliberate way. The idea is that we find ourselves contemplating her journey at this time while falling into the emotions of directly correlating lyrics and music. The experience becomes the offering.

Please enjoy. Or suffer. Whatever is best right now. I trust your judgement.

And turn shuffle off, you monsters.

I decided to stop boiling with rage at the failure to embed, so you can just click this whole sentence.

In Technocratic Modernity, Habit Forms You

Habits. The bad ones seem to arrive suddenly like intruders in the night, until you begin to notice the signs of their presence dating back to before even so much as a suspicion stirred within. The good ones are trophies that didn’t come without a hard fight, but more like degree certificates than second place at regionals. The bad ones are the behavioral equivalent to Frankenstein’s monster.

It seems to me that most people find it more manageable to enact a strategy of self-indoctrination than reduction, intentionally attempting to cultivate helpful habits rather than actively prevent negative ones. It seems there is a resting (and rather unexamined) belief that if good habits occupy a certain portion of our conscious lives then we will have created an inhospitable environment for unhelpful habits to form, like antibodies. There are obviously cases where this is true, but generally speaking you are not a secure system no matter what you do. We’re far too complicated and too mortal for that matter, but especially in our minds which are forever an open system, even in quarantine.

Take, for instance, visualization. Any spiritual practitioner is aware of the vast improvements to this skill that comes over time, but what happens when this skill is plugged directly into constant thoughts of maintaining physical barriers and caution around all humans at all times? Reinforcing an imaginal bubble will put you in a cognitive one. What happens when the impulse to hug a friend is inextricably linked, through time and conditioning, with a guilt response? Are you comfortable with hugs meaning heresy? A failure to follow the cognitive and emotional consequences down to the depths of their seriousness is undoubtedly a side effect of materialist thinking. In official reality, the interiority doesn’t matter until it’s so unhealthy that it’s directly influencing the exterior world, typically though violence or dissent. The internal conditions that create these states are ignored or brushed aside, marginalized until they demand attention. Why? Because they’re invisible.

Yes, we’re apparently toddlers.

Each cognitive experience we have shapes us. We are a result of our lives, at least more so than the other way around, and even with the good habits in place we are being asked to intentionally create some very very bad ones at this time as a matter of civic duty. If not, you’re letting the whole world down and potentially a threat to the state. Yes, these bad habits are going to save some lives, but distance from other humans on a long enough timeline would be a conscious decision by the human species to put safety above literally everything else that defines us, safety that is entirely illusory from the start. This judgement call places the loss of human life as the worst possible fate imaginable. Death, the first and absolutely most natural requirement of life, is viewed en-mass by our society as the worst thing that can happen. Not the loss of our humanity.

This all stinks so heavily of a collective festering unattended fear of death that I’m worried it’s going to frighten the children. The problem is that the lack of peace made with an inevitable end causes all kinds of strange psychic and metaphysical phenomena to manifest in the intense avoidance thereof. These complexes are now being collectively shoved down our throats as we’re declared traitors if we don’t sing along.

You’re going to die. If you’re comfortable with that, then you have my sincere and total thanks. Perhaps trying to talk to others about death in a non-covid context could open doors to helpful discussions. Perhaps not. But isn’t it worth gently trying? Just remember the operative word there is “gently.” I’m also open to ideas here. Pease, by all means, leave us your thoughts. Donate a feeling in the comments section. No wrong answers, folks. Do you have any ani-SD tech to share with the class?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I just don’t give two fucks about living in a world without hugs. I’m playing along though, humming and cursing under my mask and reminding myself that there are a great many fates worse than death.

Hang in there and beware the mindfulness you’re not as mindful of.

Art by Heintje

Suicides & Synchronicities

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. 

Abracadabra.

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.

Dildos & Other Essential Items

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.