It’s that time of year, again. Here is our hall, decorated in a style we like to call: Halloween Threw Up!
The LHP values free will and the right to choose above all else. The LHP doesn’t even judge choices as bad or healthy, positive or negative, black or white, good or evil. LHPers will judge a choice as bad for them, but they would NEVER tell someone else that their choices were not valid. EVER.
The idea that someone’s choices might be bad, that they need to be rescued from those choices, would never enter their minds… because the right to choose your own path is sacrosanct to them.
I don’t butcher goats or chickens for any reason – I don’t know how, and I’ve heard it’s a messy job. That doesn’t mean I judge those who do it for religious, magickal and ritual purposes. It’s not my business.
I don’t have any plans to join a black arts group… it doesn’t interest me… that doesn’t mean I judge someone else who has chosen to do so – it’s not my business. I also don’t assume that someone who joins a black arts group is evil or wrong – I don’t think their choice is appealing to me, but that doesn’t make them a horrible person that needs help changing their minds and their lives.
Saving people is what RHPers do – most specifically, Christian RHPers. Telling people that they’ve made bad decisions is something that people like that do. Personally, I think that no decision, no choice, is bad – it’s simply a decision. It leads to experiences and consequences. Those consequences and experiences might be uncomfortable or challenging, disturbing and disruptive, but that doesn’t make the decisions that bring them about BAD – it doesn’t even make the consequences bad… just something you don’t really appreciate experiencing.
People make decisions. They live experiences and deal with consequences based on those decisions. AND THEY LEARN THINGS THEREBY.
To have that chance to learn from a choice taken away, to have their right to choose taken away, is something no LHP practitioner appreciates being done to them – which generally means we mostly don’t choose to do that to others… instead, we’re usually almost rabid about respecting their right to choose their own paths, and to learn and grow from the decisions they make in their own lives, even when those decisions are not ones that we would make for ourselves. Most of us might offer advice if it was asked of us, but beyond that, we DO NOT INTERFERE.
Which is not to say that we don’t appreciate the joke of helping consequences come home to roost… or that some of us are not above practicing will control over others… but we’re usually subtle people and we don’t try to rule our friends – only our enemies.
Knights in Shining Armor save people. It’s their professional modus operandi. That’s a Christian concept – and not a LHP practice. Knights in Shining Armor disempower people by telling them they’re wrong, they need to be fixed, they need to be saved, and that a Knight is the only one that can save them.
Damsels in Distress are professional victims. Their experiences are always a result of someone else’s choices, not their own. They don’t own their own issues – the princess in the tower was put there by someone else… it would never occur to her to ask herself why she doesn’t rescue herself, why she’s instead waiting for someone else to save her from her situation.
LHP practitioners do not wait for someone to save them from their mistakes.. if they think they’re in a situation they don’t want to be in, if they feel they’ve made choices that aren’t working out, they rescue themselves. They fix their own problems and issues. They don’t need help, and they don’t want it, because they are empowered people, people who know that this is their life, and these are their choices, and it’s their responsibility to deal with the consequences. We save ourselves, thank you very much.
Knights in Shining Armor need not apply.
Part of the reason that we magickal people practice visualization to the point where we can see, feel, smell, touch, and taste our magick is that it allows us to give the energies we wield a greater depth, making our additions to reality more hefty, more likely to become the reality we seek.
But true visualization requires going a step further, in my mind, and eventually, several steps down the rabbit hole.
A rather famous exercise in visualization is called The Apple – where the practitioner creates an apple so completely that when they eat it, they actually feel full, they feel the moisture in their mouths, taste it, smell it, they can touch it – in essence, they actually create an apple from nothing.
But true magick is bendy.. requiring we practitioners to also be a little bendy… to take our visualizations a step further.
Say you have a spell that requires acasia. We all understand correspondences – they’re like short codes for magick… Blue is more than just blue, it’s air, or water, or healing, or peace… Water is more than just water, a rose is more than just rose… everything in existence is a symbol for everything else… an enormous web of information stored in symbol – sometimes literally, as in the case of runes, letters, ogham, and the many various other symbols used in magick… but all of those symbols and substances lead back to their root substance… Using acasia taps you into the ESSENCE of Acasia, because at its root, all acasia is Acasia… and acasia is used for purification, protection, wisdom, and visions… which means that the Essence of Acasia is those things… so you can use it in a spell to represent those things…
But I said we’d take it a step further… why stop your visualization at creating an apple? Why not create yourself? Why not BECOME acasia,and then follow acasia back to its roots, and become ALL Acasias, and from there, become the essence of purification, protection, wisdom and visions? Use acasia as a portal to all acasia everywhere, and from there to the roots of it, and from there, to the correspondence you desire, simply by becoming acasia and then diving inwards.
But it gets even more complex because all acasia is connected to all other acasia… so now it’s not just a portal to its own essence, and the ideas it is symbolic of.. it is also a portal to any place where acasia is.
You can do this with runes, with symbols, with colors, with plants, animals, stones – if it exists, it has a root, it has connections to all other things like itself and thus is a gateway, and it has connections to ideas. You can become everything, go anywhere… all by becoming the magick.
This method means that you never need tools for your magic… you can just become the essences of whatever you need and layer them into the spell using raw energy – so if you’re short on supplies, cash, or working an emergency where all you’ve got is yourself, this is a good method to be well-versed in.
Also, because you truly understand the symbology behind whatever you’re using, when or if you choose to use tools, the magick is that much richer, because not only are you using the short codes subconsciously, the way most practitioners do, but you are truly one with those symbols and their deepest meanings – which gives you more bang for your buck, magickally speaking.
“Why does PTSD happen?”
PTSD Happens when an experience is blocked, instead of finished. To avoid PTSD, a traumatic experience must be finished, fully experienced. When you stop in the middle, there is no resolution, no understanding in the subconscious or the conscious. There is only a disconnect.
“So I have PSTD because I didn’t finish my experience. The doctors stopped me from fully experiencing and resolving my emotions on my own.”
Yes. If you had been able to fully go through your own experience, instead of them layering more trauma in an attempt to prevent you from experiencing trauma and blocking the original trauma, you would not have PTSD.
“So what do I do now?”
You must face your trauma. You must go through it again and again, until you have resolution and understanding of the full picture. Shall we begin?
Matt: My phone is possessed. Do you know how to do an exorcism on electronics?
It’s started selecting things and zooming and moving things.
Me: It’s called a hard reset… it requires copious amounts of swearing by several gods of technology, and the use of various blessings of copper, zinc, quartz, and the like… you have to ask the spirits of the base particles of the phone to rise up and heal themselves, throw off the evil spirit and choose to be free…
If the phone is willing, and you work really hard, you can exorcise it like any other body…
But it’s kind of a bitch… phones seem to generally like being possessed… they seem to think it’s funny.
I think last time this happened to May, she just gave in and bought a new one. Also… how is it that out of everyone there, you’re the only one that managed to be the person that thing followed home??? Tch Tch… bad shaman… no donuts.
Matt: I’m mostly joking. It’s been doing this since before this weekend. I could try exorcising it, I guess… which gods do you call on?
Me: Probably the hardware gods all computer geeks swear by… I think phones fall under their purview… Gates, Jobs, etc?
Matt: Bill Gates?
Me: Well, yeah…
I don’t really know… maybe Samsung, Apple, “By the Power of BlackBerry, I Free You of This Evil…”
It’s like finding a parking spot at the Mall… you call on the Goddess Asphaltina..
Seriously… it really works… magick is weird and bendy… but you knew that already… however, really, your problem sounds more software than possession… I suspect that a real hard reset or a visit to your local store to talk to the professionals might be better than talking to me…
Matt: *snip* So put a bunch of pennies that I’ve cleansed with lemon oil and some anti static spray, and quartz, and pray to google and linux to cast out the evil from my phone and let it be cleansed of all adverse energies?
It’s something in the screen. The phone’s always been quirky and it would do this if I wasn’t totally grounded and was running a bunch of energy, but this is ridiculous.
Me: Pretty much. And ask your phone to get involved. No sense in doing an exorcism where the person who is possessed doesn’t work to get rid of the offending entity, you know.
Matt: It started flashing green when I cast out things.
It’s still twitching a little, but the phone did some twitching under my fingers as I was casting it out. We’ll see how it goes.
On a related note, I’m going to start keeping rolls of new pennies on hand. They always seem to come in handy for spells but I get tired of cleansing them.
Me: Encourage the phone to work with you… remember that I told Joan that she had to fight for herself, WITH us.
Copper is better… pennies have other stuff in them. Nickel and stuff.
Matt: I did encourage it. I felt it doing things, green sparkly energy was getting thrown off. It’s working fine now. I pulled whatever off the screen and fed it to fire.
Well, mostly fine. If it starts typing words I’m gonna freak out a little.
Me: Remember that a phone has copper and crystals and stuff made from plant and animal byproducts… plus it has a brain and a memory… so it has a spirit. It just might start talking and actually BE talking.
Matt: Earlier it was just mashing letters, no speech. I should really head to bed. I don’t think my eggless brownies turned out. 😦 The sorbet was a success at least.
Me: Sorry about the brownies. Sleep well. No more midnight baking/exorcisms for you. Sleep is important. 😛
Be nice to your new phone friend. Be gentle to it for a few days… it’s had a rough time. Possession is no fun.
Grats on the sorbet. Dream well.
THE NEXT DAY
Matt’s Phone: Also I’m glad you weren’t here for the chocolate sorbet. I would’ve fought to the death for the dasher. So put a bunch of pennies that I cleanse with lemon oil and some anti static spray, and quartz and pray to google and linux to cast out the evil from my phone and let it be cleansed of all adverse energies?
Me: you said that yesterday.
Matt: Weird… I wasn’t even on the texting screen and it sent that.
Me: Told you that your phone would start talking. 😛
Shadow Reintegration Work
So, today, I got another storm migraine.
As I was lying down for another nap (read drug induced coma), I suddenly had a vision of Simon. I could see myself reaching out to touch him. I had memories of us laughing, in love. Making love.
I had the memory of moving through the unmaking whirlpool of uncontrollable chaotic destruction surrounding him to touch him, to unravel him. Yes, he’d lost that much control, fallen that deep into madness… he was like a wandering black hole out among the multiverses. Only bigger. A black multiverse.
But I had a thought. I was in two places at once.
I had all these lifetimes of experience of unweaving sickness, of stripping away disease to bare the good, healthy thoughts beneath, so that they could grow and bloom. Why not, in that moment, reach down through the ages, merge with my old self, and give her the understanding I have now… show her how not to unweave ALL of Simon, but how to RENAME him. How unweave only the sickness, the madness, the uncontrolled chaos…
How to create Simon David?
So that’s what I did.
I merged with myself in that moment, and showed her what to do… and that’s what we did. We unraveled the parts of Simon that were unsalvageable… we unraveled the storm…. But we SAVED OURSELVES.
And then I passed out.
I dreamed. Simon David was in Hell. In prison. He knew it. He knew I was watching him. He saw others in prison. A child who didn’t belong. A group of people. He made a choice. They didn’t belong. He broke the rules. Bent them really. Only slightly. Just enough.
We watched. We allowed the bending – to see what he would do.
He saved the people, and got them out of their hell so that they could move on.
Simon David was a changed man. We approved.
I woke up. I thought about it. “Quit thinking about it. You don’t belong there either… and if you’re going to let him go, and not go, pretty soon he’ll be too far ahead for you to catch, and then you’ll never fix that hole.”
Damn… Time to let go of some things.
I trance down. I see where I’m at. I look at the rules. No flying. I flap my arms. I jump. Nothing. Damn. Can’t break the rules. But I have to. Have to catch up. Reach for my Twin. Reach down the line and CONNECT…
And suddenly I’m not where I was. Rule 1 broken.
“Well? Are you going to stop there? He’s 5 ahead of you NOW… RUN, GIRL… RUN!”
So I ran… flew, BULLETED through the layers… caught up to my Twin.. kept going, grabbed him and pulled… layer after layer, rule after rule… not paying attention anymore, just by instinct, because we are breaking out now…
It’s time to let GO.
Final door stops us…
The Gatekeeper stops us.
“Your last trial is the only one that ever mattered here. It is the only one that ever mattered anywhere. Merge and you may leave. Fail and you will never leave, no matter what you do.”
I’ve done this before, so it’s my boat to row. I take us down.
We fall into the cloudy, airy, white abyss, we let go of control, and we die the first death. We walk the abyssal plains of the dead, and we are buried, our second death. We rise from our graves, and we walk to the ocean, and we swim into the oceanic abyss. We confront our shadows. We flow into the abyssal lava, burn away our impurities, and meet our higher selves. We merge with our shadows, our egos, and our higher selves. I merge his shadow, his ego, and his higher self with myself. We come to the red lands, and walk to the edge of the black abyss. We cross into the void and shed all that is not who we truly are. We find the starlight singularity of Source, and walk into the light of rebirth. We emerge before each other, wholly ourselves… and we are still separate. I look at him and say, “I welcome you into me,” as he looks at me and says to me the same words. We walk to each other, and merge… and are one being.
I come out of trance and scan my energetic body. The hole is shrinking. I scan the threads, and notice that the ones that were covered by black threads before, the blackness hiding empty void underneath, now seem to be growing a matrix of song.
I’m not fully healed, but something has definitely begun to change.
I was also called a different name while I was down there… not Apple – something else. But I can’t remember what it was… which means it’s important enough that I’m not allowed to share it with you.
Happy New Moon, everyone… it’s a good day to begin to become whole after a few billion years, don’t you think?
I’m getting Flereous some cinnamon whiskey. He deserves it.
Yesterday, Lord Flereous decided that He wanted my Deity altar to combine with His altar, so instead of having an altar that’s just dedicated to Flereous and Ashtaroth, I now have one that’s also dedicated to the Morrighan as Aine, Hades and Persephone, Karnanos, Re, Loki, Bast/Sekhmet (Her Elder Self is One Being), Amun the Hidden One, Hanuman, Ganesha, Minerva, and to the two Bodhisattvas, Kuan Yin and Buddha.
He chose the bookcase, so… it’s a bit… cluttered. I’m not sure how I’m going to do offerings now.
I guess I will stick to offerings of energy and tealights.
The tealight in front of Hades is a pomegranate tealight… that’s my stand in for Persephone. You’ll note that, as part of my shamanic path, most of my deities are represented by either their animals, or by candles. Flereous and Ashtaroth are candles over their sigils. Re and Loki are both highly symbolic – Re is a copper bowl, and the rune Kennaz, and Loki is a bunch of matches, a yoni, and a picture of a bloom on fire. The Hidden One is represented by bones of the body and bones of the earth. Ganesha and Hanuman and my Bodhisattvas are the only ones with actual statues of themselves… and those were gifts from a friend.
Yes, the Morrighan really is a Halloween prop. Shush. She likes it.
On the chakra front… I’ve had several people look at me now… they all agree… I look like one big blue and white chakra.
I’m also noticing that my headaches are decreasing in severity and frequency, though apparently tension and panic can still cause one.
The other thing I’m noticing is a STRONG uptick in my gifts… and also my control of them. More dreaming, more accuracy, more channeling, more being ridden. It’s turning out to be something I’m very pleased with.
Flereous told me last night in a dream – woke me UP to tell me matter of fact – that I needed to create an altar to both Himself and Her. I’ve started work, but without more information on Her correspondences, I can’t do much for Her half of the altar.
I’ve been able to find a few of her correspondences, and her Enn –
Planet – Venus
Day – Friday
Sacred Animal – Horses
Enn – Tasa Alora Foren Astaroth
Courtesy of Akelta:
Dates: 1/1 – 1/10
Tarot: 3 of Pentacles
I dreamed an interesting dream last night.
I was in Hell.. or one of them. There was a woman set to torture me with illusions. I figured out they were illusions, and I defeated them all. Then I was taken out, and asked by a voice, “Why are you here?”
I replied, “I deserve to be here. I killed Simon.”
The voice replied, “You are weak since the death of your twin.”
Then I woke up.
I got the feeling that the missing heart chakra is because of my missing twin… and that I don’t deserve to be there, that is my weakness, that I’m being silly. I don’t really deserve to be there. Don’t deserve to be treated like that, and I know it, or I would have accepted the treatment instead of finding out how to defeat the illusions, been so stubborn about not going with the program.
It’s the first time I’ve spoken my twin flame’s name since I unmade him all those millennia ago, to stop him from unmaking everything else.
Even to myself, I never say his name. Isn’t that odd? I didn’t even let myself know until this morning that his Name was Simon.
So… I guess that ritual really did set my feet on the path to healing that hole in my chest.
Even after the chakra removal, the hole is still there… but it’s much less painful now, and I’m clearly still working on it….. all the way back to conception. lol
WARNING – THIS IS ADVANCED HEALING WORK – IF YOU ARE NOT A MASTER HEALER, PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS WITHOUT SUPERVISION.
Ok, so last night, we had a ritual set up for us by Akelta for the Summer Solstice for Lord Flereous.
Here were the instructions:
Step two – take some time and write down a piece of paper something that you’re ready to let go, release from your world… something that is holding you back.
Step three – sit in meditation and bring up emotions or things you have that attach you to what you have written down.
Step four – Meditate with thoughts and connect with Lord Flereous. Feel his energies and the power of the cleanse he offers.
Step five – Burn the paper and release it from you world.
Offerings: volcanic rocks, cinnamon, obsidian, oranges, flowers, passionate emotions.
Candles: Red, orange, yellow.
Enn: Ganic Tasa Fubin Flereous
Direction : South
Colour: Red, Orange
Ritual: Baptism, action, love, solstice.
The incense I made for him as an offering was: Jasmine, Rose, Cinnamon, Coffee, Bloodroot, and Bergamot Rose Oil.
What I chose to remove was: Fear. What am I really afraid of? My last panic attack was because I wasn’t perfect in someone else’s eyes. So my fear is not being perfect for other people. But that’s not measuring up. Why am I afraid of not measuring up to other people? Why do I need to measure up to them? Why am I afraid of that? I’m afraid of being rejected. Why am I afraid of being rejected? I’m afraid of not being loved. Of not being loveable. I need to let go of the idea that I’m not loveable. I need to be loved. I need to love myself. I need to let go of the need to be perfect so I can be loveable… and just love myself because i’m already perfect in all my imperfections.
However, when it got down to brass tacks – the deepest issue, He showed me, was not a lack of self love at all… it was the fact that my heart chakra is missing – has been taken. My Heart has been taken. There is a long story behind this, and it involves the loss of my son, and I really don’t want to get into it in this post, but metaphysically, my body and psyche is treating the loss of my son to my parents as a death of my heart and of my son – and my son IS my heart, so… no Heart.
Flereous told me, “I cannot replace your heart for you, I cannot retrieve all your pieces for you at once – but I can set your feet on the road.”
I answered, “Then yes, please, set my feet on the road. This pain and emptiness is just too much. I need to fix it.”
He put a cap of diamond over the hole, and I felt a shift, and then we said our goodbyes, I gave up the rest of the incense… and then I felt the need to go looking for information about what to do about a missing chakra – I’ve seen missing chakras before, but usually the body I’m working on tells me what to do – but for me, I was wondering what other people had written about missing chakras. So I wanted to do a little research.
What I came across instead was information on chakra removal.
SO – this is the first step on my journey to recovering and healing my Heart – dissolving my chakras, and my separation between myself and my son and everything else, and becoming more open. Removing the chakra system and becoming more in tune with my higher self and with Source, and thus with my Son and the rest of the world, without being battered by it as I was when I was using the chakra system to deal with my psychic abilities, will hopefully make sure that another crash like this last one will never happen again, as well.
PS – As I go, I hope to be able to learn to do this for others.
The following is a slightly edited retelling from Wiki with my notes embedded – if you’d like to read the original article (which I highly recommend) and hunt down all the relevant links, you can click here.
The Greeks and Romans, despite our current, Western, provincial views on sexuality, were actually a very moral and psychologically aware people – their myths explore many concepts relating both to historical shifts in cultural behaviors and traditions, but those myths also explore the deeply heroic journey each person takes to find themselves – the journey Western Mysticism now calls the Journey of the Fool.
The Story of Psyche and Eros, or Psyche and Cupid, is one such tale – the tale of the confrontation and destruction of ego through shadow work and chthonic mystery via sex magick and pranic healing. Cupid and Psyche is a story from the Latin novel Metamorphoses, also known as The Golden Ass, written in the 2nd century AD by Apuleius. It concerns the overcoming of obstacles to the love between Psyche and Cupid, and their ultimate union in marriage. Although the only extended narrative from antiquity is that of Apuleius, Eros and Psyche appear in Greek art as early as the 4th century BC. The story’s Neoplatonic elements and allusions to mystery religions accommodate multiple interpretations, and it has been analyzed as an allegory and in light of folklore, fairy tale, and myth. To Boccaciio (an Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist from the 14th century), the marriage of Cupid and Psyche symbolized the union of Soul and God. The Song of Solomon supported his theory, and and William Blake’s “Luvah and Vala” showed obvious agreement – which is why this myth is the cornerstone of our study today.
More importantly, the story is set inside another story in such a way as to create a mirror effect to the story outside – frequently, when working with Shadow, just as the inner psyche is crumbling, the outer world is also falling apart. Not only that, but as with all mirrors that face mirrors, when working with Shadow, we are all faced with the Abyss – the Abyss of Self, as well as every Abyss – the story within a story, both following similar patterns further emphasizes the effect of shadow work, demonstrating how the Tower must fall in all ways, in order for the Star to rise, to understand the Unconscious at work (the Moon) and become the full glory of Self (the Sun) releasing all Judgment, and thus completing the cycle (the World).
In other words – this myth is a map inside of a map.
There was once a king and queen who had three very beautiful daughters. The youngest and most beautiful was Psyche. Psyche was so beautiful that her parents and her admirers prayed and made offerings to her, instead of to the Goddess of Love. They whispered that she was the second coming of Venus, or Her bastard daughter. Venus was, of course, extremely offended, and demanded that her son Cupid shoot Psyche with one of his arrows and make her fall in love with a monster. Cupid, however, when he finds her sleeping, is so struck by her beauty that his arrow slips from his fingers and strikes his own leg, and so he falls in love with the girl and desires to possess her for himself.
The beginning of the story is one of a fall. Psyche literally means Soul/Mind/Spirit – In ancient terms, EGO or PERSONA. In other words, in the context of the story, the parents of the mind, the ego, worshipped that mind, that ego, to the exclusion of Love… and so that ego becomes destined to be married to a monster. When we talk about facing the Shadow, one of the things that comes up again and again is how the ego throws up illusions when confronted with the Shadow – not because that’s what the shadow IS… but because the ego is AFRAID. So the Ego throws up illusions against the shadow, creates monsters. Eventually, though… you gotta ignore the monster… and marry yourself. It’s inner alchemy. It’s the Great Work.
Ego is always there – there’s no denial in the myths about that. The comment is that the problem arises when ego is WORSHIPED OVER LOVE. Love must come first. And not just Outward Love. ALL FORMS OF LOVE.
So let’s look at Love a little more before we continue the story, and continue to dig deeper.
Venus is The Morning Star. You can think about that later, but I really want you to remember that, because it’s pivotal. Venus is the dawn star that heralds every new day. She is, was, and forever will be the Morning Star. She is also the Goddess of Love. In this story, she is a Herald, but I’ll leave you to figure out what exactly she Heralded, because it’s not obvious, even to Her. You have to dig for that and I’m not your spoon.
The Goddess of Love has two aspects which can be separated into four faces. The Mother and the Romantic – The Mother who can be nurturing and warm, or stern and hard; The sultry seductress or the jealous monster. She is the Goddess of Love and Beauty – and all those aspects have qualities which are both beautiful and terrible. Nurture can be smothering. Warmth can be suffocating. Sternness can be cold. Hardness can be cruel. Sultry can be addictive, seduction can be thoughtless, jealousy can be wrathful, and a monster can be a murderer. Love is all things… including hate. It is the most terribly beautiful thing in the Multiverse… and anyone who doesn’t treat it like broken glass is in for a rude awakening.
The worst thing that anyone can do is not love themselves or let love in. The second worst thing that anyone can do is be an insufferable fool who only loves themselves, too much, and doesn’t deserve it. She is not kind to either, and does not suffer fools gladly.
Now that you understand Venus a little bit better… you will probably understand why she behaves the way she does in this myth. It’s the job of Love to make you prove to yourself that you do actually deserve the things you want. It’s the job of love to allow you to put obstacles in your own way until you actually stop beating yourself up. It’s probably kind of a sucky job. I can see why Christians get The Mornings Star all mixed up… in some places, it’s Jesus – a Herald of Love… and in others… it’s Lucifer, a Herald of Adversarial Work… Honestly, Love is BOTH. You face the dark before you face the dawn.
Now let’s look at Cupid/Eros.
It’s interesting, considering our current social perceptions of sex, what the Greco-Roman world had to say about sexual love, isn’t it. They paint Cupid as an INNOCENT in all this. More than that… despite His hobby of wandering around shooting people randomly with those lusty philandering arrows and causing all sorts of trouble… in this story, He’s supportive, gentle, generous, kind, pretty much the Nice Guy. He’s sensitive, strong, loving… and obviously, being Eros, not so bad in the sack… and in the end, He stands up to His mother (don’t worry, we’ll get to that later) for Love. REAL love. He’s honorable, even if He’s not entirely honest… He kept the secrets He had to keep in order to keep the woman He loved safe.
Culturally, Lust and Love were pretty much the same thing back then… and there was nothing wrong with physical love in any form in their eyes. Now, I know, someone’s going to want to bring up Agape… but Agape is spiritual love. It’s more chivalrous. It’s like… the love a mind feels for another mind.
These days we see emotional love and physical/sexual tension as being separate. In the Greco-Roman world… the two were synonymous. Agape might be included in a rare relationship… but Eros was EVERYWHERE. However… they also understood that casual lust, that a random hookup at the bathhouse, while fun, wasn’t love. They perceived Eros in those relationships where sexual love was something that occurred as a pattern, not as a random physical act. A brush with Eros was not the same thing as being SHOT BY HIM.
So… Eros is pretty sweet. Droolworthy. An ideal to either live up to, or swoon over… or both.
Back to our story.
Although her two humanly beautiful sisters have married, the idolized Psyche has yet to find love. (It’s hard to find love when your ego is in the way.) Her father suspects that they have incurred the wrath of the gods, and consults the oracle of Apollo. The response is unsettling: the king is to expect no human son-in-law, but rather a dragon-like creature who harasses the world with fire and iron and is feared by even Jupiter and the inhabitants of the underworld. (Time to face the shadow.)
Psyche is arrayed in funeral attire, conveyed by a procession to the peak of a rocky crag, and exposed. Marriage and death are merged into a single rite of passage, a “transition to the unknown”. Zephyr the West Wind bears her up to meet her fated match, and deposits her in a lovely meadow, where she promptly falls asleep. (Step one on the map – the willingness to fling yourself into the abyss of the unknown – to let go of control even just a little bit – because the death of the ego is the marriage of the whole self – so you go up, and you go down – the upper realm and the lower realm. It’s different for everyone, and each triggering and each vision is different, because each person is different.)
The transported girl awakes to find herself at the edge of a cultivated grove. Exploring, she finds a marvelous house with golden columns, a carved ceiling of citrus wood and ivory, silver walls embossed with wild and domesticated animals, and jeweled mosaic floors. A disembodied voice tells her to make herself comfortable, and she is entertained at a feast that serves itself and by singing to an invisible lyre. (The upper realm – the belief of, well, that wasn’t so bad. I guess I didn’t die after all… or I did, and it’s over, and my shadow’s just not a big deal, whew!)
Although fearful and without sexual experience, she allows herself to be guided to a bedroom, where in the darkness a man she cannot see makes her his wife. She gradually learns to look forward to his visits, though he always departs before sunrise and forbids her to look upon him, and soon she becomes pregnant. (The confrontation of sexuality and desire, hidden needs.)
Psyche’s family longs for news of her, and after much cajoling, Cupid, still unknown to his bride, permits Zephyr to carry her sisters up for a visit. When they see the splendor in which Psyche lives, they become envious, and undermine her happiness by prodding her to uncover her husband’s true identity, since surely as foretold by the oracle she was lying with the vile winged serpent, who would devour her and her child. (We always have good things, and we always fall to the opinions of others – we create monsters where there are none.)
One night after Cupid falls asleep, Psyche carries out the plan her sisters devised: she brings out a dagger and a lamp she had hidden in the room, in order to see and kill the monster. But when the light instead reveals the most beautiful creature she has ever seen, she is so startled that she wounds herself on one of the arrows in Cupid’s cast-aside quiver. Struck with a feverish passion, she spills hot oil from the lamp and wakes him. He flees, and though she tries to pursue, he flies away and leaves her on the bank of a river. (Thus we lose the good things because of the monsters we have created because we have accepted the programming of others rather than our own true selves’ good sense.)
There she is discovered by the wilderness god Pan, who recognizes the signs of passion upon her. She acknowledges his divinity, then begins to wander the earth looking for her lost love. (Acknowledgment of the path, and then the beginning of the search for self – the quest for unification of male and female, higher self and lower self, shadow and light.)
Psyche visits first one sister, then the other; both are seized with renewed envy upon learning the identity of Psyche’s secret husband. Each sister attempts to offer herself as a replacement by climbing the rocky crag and casting herself upon Zephyr for conveyance, but instead is allowed to fall to a brutal death. (There are many who try to mimic your own personal journey – it’s yours and they will fall trying to do so – a journey is secret – you can share it, but understand that those who try to walk your walk will fail. Make them walk their own.)
In the course of her wanderings, Psyche comes upon a temple of Ceres, and inside finds a disorder of grain offerings, garlands, and agricultural implements. Recognizing that the proper cultivation of the gods should not be neglected, she puts everything in good order, prompting a theophany of Ceres herself. Although Psyche prays for her aid, and Ceres acknowledges that she deserves it, the goddess is prohibited from helping her against a fellow goddess. A similar incident occurs at a temple of Juno. Psyche realizes that she must serve Venus herself. (Remember that proper cultivation of not just the gods, but also yourself is necessary… put not just your spiritual life, but also your physical life in order during your passage. Juno is a reminder for self-reflection – put the past in order just as much as you put your present in order – mind, body, spirit – ALL must be put into order – and then all must be turned to serving Love. As for that – why should you serve Love? Love, welling from deep within you, Love that drives you, Love that is your passion, Love that gives you purpose and dreams – not some far-away old man on a throne, stroking His white beard claiming omniscience and omnipotence, screaming about your free will while the world falls apart, but the love within you that honestly moves your own Soul – what else would anyone serve? In the end, it’s what we all serve – Love is the Law, Love under Will. Your Soul’s Love. Your Soul’s Will. Your desire to manifest that here, and make a goddamned difference in this mess. Who else will? But hey… you don’t actually have to choose that… again – it’s all about choice… every step of the way, you get asked to choose. You could always not choose Love, and fall flat on your face. I dunno what happens then, because I chose this way. But I imagine it’s possible. Otherwise why would the word “Choose” be bandied about so much?)
Venus revels in having the girl under her power, and turns Psyche over to her two handmaids, Worry and Sadness, to be whipped and tortured. Venus tears her clothes and bashes her head into the ground, and mocks her for conceiving a child in a sham marriage. The goddess then throws before her a great mass of mixed wheat, barley, poppyseed, chickpeas, lentils, and beans, demanding that she sort them into separate heaps by dawn. But when Venus withdraws to attend a wedding feast, a kind ant takes pity on Psyche, and assembles a fleet of insects to accomplish the task. Venus is furious when she returns drunk from the feast, and only tosses Psyche a crust of bread. At this point in the story, it is revealed that Cupid is also in the house of Venus, languishing from his injury. (Finally, the confrontation with Shadow begins – and as you see… Ego throws up many illusions to avoid accepting the loss of the worship of SELF, and the return to worshipping LOVE – but the process of stripping away all pride is not something you go through without help – you are never left alone… if you remember to ask for it. This process always reminds me of that one movie, Mortal Kombat – “You must face yourself. You must face your Enemy. You must face your Fear. You must face your worst nightmare.” They got it backwards. Your worst nightmare is that your fears are your enemy, and you have to face yourself. That is the passage to meeting your shadow. Not merging – but meeting.)
At dawn, Venus sets a second task for Psyche. She is to cross a river and fetch golden wool from violent sheep who graze on the other side. These sheep are elsewhere identified as belonging to the Sun. Psyche’s only intention is to drown herself on the way, but instead she is saved by instructions from a divinely inspired reed, of the type used to make musical instruments, and gathers the wool caught on briers.
For Psyche’s third task, she is given a crystal vessel in which to collect the black water spewed by the source of the rivers Styx and Cocytus. Climbing the cliff from which it issues, she is daunted by the foreboding air of the place and dragons slithering through the rocks, and falls into despair. Jupiter himself takes pity on her, and sends his eagle to battle the dragons and retrieve the water for her.
The last trial Venus imposes on Psyche is a quest to the underworld itself. She is to take a box and obtain in it a dose of the beauty of Proserpina, queen of the underworld. Venus claims her own beauty has faded through tending her ailing son, and she needs this remedy in order to attend the theatre of the gods.
Once again despairing of her task, Psyche climbs a tower, planning to throw herself off. The tower, however, suddenly breaks into speech, and advises her to travel to Lacedaemon, Greece, and to seek out the place called Taenarus, where she will find the entrance to the underworld. The tower offers instructions for navigating the underworld:
The airway of Dis is there, and through the yawning gates the pathless route is revealed. Once you cross the threshold, you are committed to the unswerving course that takes you to the very Regia of Orcus. But you shouldn’t go empty-handed through the shadows past this point, but rather carry cakes of honeyed barley in both hands, and transport two coins in your mouth.
The speaking tower warns her to maintain silence as she passes by several ominous figures: a lame man driving a mule loaded with sticks, a dead man swimming in the river that separates the world of the living from the world of the dead, and old women weaving. These, the tower warns, will seek to divert her by pleading for her help: she must ignore them. The cakes are treats for distracting Cerberus, the three-headed watchdog of Orcus, and the two coins for Charon the ferryman, so she can make a return trip.
Everything comes to pass according to plan, and Proserpina grants Psyche’s humble entreaty. As soon as she reenters the light of day, however, Psyche is overcome by a bold curiosity, and can’t resist opening the box in the hope of enhancing her own beauty. She finds nothing inside but an “infernal and Stygian sleep,” which sends her into a deep and unmoving torpor. (This, finally, is the chthonic moment where the ego will be laid to rest, one hopes – and the personality merged. Trust me, after all that work, you’re going to appreciate the nap – this whole process can take YEARS.)
Meanwhile, Cupid’s wound has healed into a scar, and he escapes his mother’s house by flying out a window. When he finds Psyche, he draws the sleep from her face and replaces it in the box, then pricks her with an arrow that does no harm. He lifts her into the air, and takes her to present the box to Venus.
He then takes his case to Jupiter, who gives his consent in return for Cupid’s future help whenever a choice maiden catches his eye. Jupiter has Mercury convene an assembly of the gods in the theater of heaven, where he makes a public statement of approval, warns Venus to back off, and gives Psyche ambrosia, the drink of immortality, so the couple can be united in marriage as equals. Their union, he says, will redeem Cupid from his history of provoking adultery and sordid liaisons. Jupiter’s word is solemnized with a wedding banquet.
With its happy marriage and resolution of conflicts, the tale ends in the manner of classic comedy or Greek romances such as Daphnis and Chloe. The child born to the couple will be Voluptas (Greek Hedone), “Pleasure.” (Yeah – that would be PRANA – the destruction of Ego and the merging of the shadow and the higher self, along with the marrying of male and female principles in an act of divine love – in most cases a sexual act, but it’s not necessarily always so, to create a moment of godhood, a moment of wholeness, releases Prana.)
This poor little Caryatid has fallen under the load. She’s a good girl—look at her face. Serious, unhappy at her failure, not blaming anyone, not even the gods…and still trying to shoulder her load, after she’s crumpled under it.
But she’s more than just good art denouncing bad art; she’s a symbol for every woman who ever shouldered a load too heavy. But not alone women—this symbol means every man and woman who ever sweated out life in uncomplaining fortitude until they crumpled under their loads. It’s courage…and victory.
Victory in defeat, there is none higher. She didn’t give up…she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her…she’s all the unsung heroes who couldn’t make it but never quit.
~ Robert A. Heinlein,
Stranger in a Strange Land
A friend, a local shaman, comes to visit, to talk to me about how to understand stone. We talk about the underworld. From now on, I will go into the underworld to work with my stones, and I will go with Sage, Thyme, and Rosemary to translate. I will meditate on Fire every day, to calm my mind. I can never stop being busy… but I CAN slow down a little, he says. We laugh.
I become lava. My eyes become diamonds. I understand that fire SEES… that Fires ESSENCE is PERSPECTIVE.
There’s a sudden gathering of energy, throughout my body, like electricity. I know the fire, the magma, is purging me. Afterwards, I feel clearer.
I sit in my Temple, surrounded by the crystal dolmens, the salamanders who call me Nycto snuggling in my hair instead of in the campfire. There are undines twining around my legs and sylphs sliding sinuous around my arms. But I am incomplete. Where are the gnomes? One comes, and curls up in my lap, as if I am a womb for it.
The fire cracks open, tunnel wide… but I can’t take them with me. I shift them all into my apron – they become a perfect sphere, fit together like a 3D puzzle, and I grab a slab of stone, and board down the tunnel… and into the underworld…
They aren’t a sphere anymore. The sylphs are blue swords, tall and crystalline, fragile yet strong. The salamanders are golden shields. The gnome is a teddy bear, and the undines are a soft, silken black blanket.
I’m not sure why I’m here, so with no instructions… and the red sky and earth empty in all directions… I simply start walking.
A car comes out of nowhere and hits me, and as I fly up into the air, a Mack truck flips over the car, trailer vertical in the air as I’m flung by gravity against it…
And then I’m back in the underworld, under a blue dome of protection not of my making.
Voices all around me from people and things I can’t see shouting at me, “Caryatid, Caryatid, Caryatid!” I feel… loss. An overWHELMING sense of grief and RAGE. And NEED. And GUILT. I’m trying to stand and I can’t, and I don’t understand why NOT. But I don’t stop trying. I don’t know HOW.
I’m surrounded by stone. I AM stone. I’m burdened by it. The building has fallen. My face is cracking, body broken. I try to stand. I can’t. I try again. I don’t stop trying. I cannot stop trying. I will never stop trying. I will NOT GIVE IN. I WILL NOT.
I see… a long life. Many lives. I see myself plucking the darkness out of others, taking starlight out of myself and replacing their darkness with it. I see the joy I feel when they go on, when they MOVE on. I feel that love, that dedication. I feel that, I need that. I love that moment of success. It’s so beautiful, watching them get out of that hole.
I see me take that darkness and replace the light I took from myself with their darkness. I see that part become stone.
I see the Choice.
I see it made, again and again.
I come back to the dome. I come back to the shouting. “Caryatid!! CARYATID! CHOOSE!”
I see the stone.
I see also the Abyss. infinite possibilities. A singularity. No more stone.
But I cannot choose. I cannot choose.
I wake up.
A friend that night drew a card for me. The Hierophant in Shadow. Buck the System – in other words… screw the rules. Another friend reminded me of the Japanese habit of mending broken pots with gold. Kintsugi – look it up.
I sit down with my salamanders. I tell them… This time, I think I’m going to go alone. They smile. “Don’t worry. We’ll be here.”
I open the firepit. I enter the tunnel… and in the other world, I stand up. I STAND UP, and all my cracks are filled with gold, and I heave that freaking stone into the abyss. I look out at the otherworld and I say, “EDGE.” And I Choose.
I step up to the edge of the Abyss, and I don’t go over, but I don’t stay in the other world either… I find that place Between. And right there… I catch, out of the corner of my eye, Grey Robes.
I found my Goddess again.
They asked me why, afterwards… Why, when you hate the pain so much? I laughed. “Because you cannot hate something you don’t love. I can’t hate them nearly as much as I love them. And I never would choose to hurt myself this much if I didn’t love them as much as I do. I hate their pain. I hate their tragedy. I hate them for their indulgences. But I love myself too much to give up trying. I love the light and the gold too much to stop. I love to love more than I love to hate, or even hate to hate.”
I went back to my Temple. My salamander friends were there to greet me. So was every other spirit and entity in my life. I don’t think my Temple has ever been quite so crowded. We threw a freaking hell of a party!
There have always been two pieces of artwork that have summed up my life. The second piece is Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I came into this world that way, and I’ll probably feel that way even after I leave. But that won’t stop me from trying to lift every stone between me and my last breath… or the one after that.
When you meet her, she’s dancing in a grove, surrounded by men and women. She’s naked, and so are they, and she’s in the center of them all, as if the other dancers’ only goals are to reach her, to touch her, to slide along her body, sharing sweat for a brief moment. Exhausted lovers decorate the ground with corpse white and dying grey, and above the sound of the storm around her is the sound of panting, moaning, and the gasps of last breaths taken.
She, however, is a vision of slick skin and smooth muscle, hips flicking in a subtle, snake-like motion, nails scratching against her thighs slowly, eyes wide with innocent promise, lips quirked in a devilish smile – the very essence of ALIVE pulsing off of her in glittering waves, fierce and unbridled. She’s hypnotic, her black hair shimmering, waving sinuously against her golden skin. Strong thighs lead to her perfect, heart-shaped ass, swaying to a rhythm older than the trees. She turns in the breeze, the hands of her lovers caressing her waist, sides, and breasts as she raises her own arms gracefully to the sky, fingers grasping lightening, opalescent claws glimmering with venom. Her silver teeth are bared, tongue sliding along lips in a suggestive manner you’d love to follow…
She is Power. She pulls the earth from its roots and the lightening is her rope. Stars wheel, trees bow… she is elemental, a Master. Terror is her gift, lust is her price.
Your eyes soak up this image, and heat flushes your body, nipples hardening, toes curling, fists clutching at air you cannot breathe, thunder pounding like drums in your blood, pulse beating in time with the crashing of the world…
Do you join her? Do you walk the path of chaos and blood, sex and pain, power and pleasure? Do you bow before Time’s older sister, do you sing the song of the wild and the free, the explosive genuflection of a dying star to the nebulae it gives birth to?
Or do you freeze there, tame, on your knees, as she takes your head, never even noticing that you once used to breathe?
Her name is Serenity. She is Life, and Love… and all she knows how to do is fuck and fight. Whatever you choose… with this one, you’ll probably lose.
That’s ok… so will she.
But at least you’ll enjoy the ride.
These are pieces of a conversation held on another forum. Only my posts, slightly edited, are included.
We all get tired of the Art being disrespected by toddlers who shouldn’t even have matches… And think that a blowtorch is a good idea.
You ever see 6th Sense?
Remember the boy walking down the hallway, with half the back of his head missing?
You know how a lot of us practitioners kvetch about newbies who try so hard to be all big and bad and the darker the better? Well, the reason we 13itch so much is we’re usually the ones who have to clean up the walls and the relatives afterwards. It gets old.
We’re the ones who took the gun safety courses, and then when we saw the corpse, wanted to smack everyone in the room for even owning one, because it was yet ANOTHER dead kid and our hearts are just broken because guns should be treated with respect and honor, and not handed to 7 year olds.
Magick, especially dark magick, but any kind of magick, really, is a gun. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that, shouldn’t be playing with it. They don’t know how to tell if it’s not loaded.
People who know guns… they have the right eyes, and the know-how, to tell if a gun is loaded or not. All these newbie people who are playing with dark arts… they don’t have eyes, and they don’t know enough about the stick in front of them to know it’s a gun and what it will do if they point the wrong end at their faces. They really don’t. Think like you’re from some blind pygmy tribe still stuck in the stone age. You’ve never seen one before. You pick it up wrong, what happens? That’s magick, especially in the beginning if you don’t have a good teacher… white, dark, black, doesn’t matter, magick is a gun.
These kids THINK it’s a stick, and they think they can hit people with it, like it’s some magick hammer/club that will beat all their problems into submission. They don’t know it’s a gun. They don’t know what the flock a gun IS.
My point had nothing to do with the realism of magick, but the psychological effects. The comments stem from several incidents, such as the NMM incident which ended in the possessed raving about how he wasn’t possessed and he had lied to us all and he was the great and powerful Oz. There are, apparently, a few more running around who are just like him lately. I spoke up, because I’m concerned about the… cavalier manner in which any magick, but especially dark arts, and demons, and conjuration, have been being approached by children, who poo-poo us, completely not understanding that it’s their own heads that get reamed in the end.
Magick digs up and exposes the deepest subconscious goo, and forces you to face it and deal with it, and it is neither a kind nor pretty process, even when it’s white arts you’re using. If you’re not expecting that, if you’re not working from an internal place of stability (or worse, you’re going through puberty and have no idea who you are or where you fit or what you believe of yourself, others, and what you deserve out of life, except in some shallow entitlement manner) it’s going to blow a few fuses in your life… by doing so in your head.
Magick, especially dark magick, is a psychological gun. Better?
In most cases, magick DOES take time and practice, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
But when you rush it – that is exactly the issue I’m talking about. These kids think they’re the keepers of these powers, and the power is just playing with them, from the inside. What are the long term consequences? You don’t know. What we do know is that prolonged exposure for someone who doesn’t know who they are, and who repeatedly assures you that they have everything under control, makes them instead increasingly unstable.
THAT is the situation I’m referring to.
I’m not at ALL referring to the amount of damage a magickal spell can do against an outside enemy. I’m talking about what magick does to the practitioner’s head who is unprepared.
You keep thinking when I say gun, I’m talking about magickal attack. I’m not. I’m talking about the effect that magick has on the psychology of the person practicing ONLY.
I don’t care who wields a bigger stick. It has nothing to do with the conversation at all. I don’t care what that bigger stick can do to another person – except as a side-effect of the practitioner themselves getting in over their heads psychologically speaking.
Does that clarify?