Nightmare and Abyss

It was a nightmare in flickering, like film passing the light so slowly you can see the breaks between cells.

I was charged with selling long, rectangular houses. The owner of the real estate couldn’t get them off his hands, so he charged me with the task. The houses were old, shaped and constructed like single-story barracks. Each one was a single long room. The main entry was on the east, two auxiliary entries on the west and south sides. One high rectangular window was set high in the wall on the north side. There were no other light sources.

The tricky part of offloading these houses was that they were infested with the most evil, murderous, mind-fucking spirits one could imagine. They were thick in the houses like a filthy kitchen left to the cockroaches. The houses were also located in an isolated spot in a forest well known for marauding wolves and malevolent nature spirits—man-eaters, they cackled from every branch, their teeth glinting in what little sun peaked through the pine boughs.

Somehow, I managed to sell three of the four houses to three small, rough, stocky, red-haired bearded men and their small, stocky, red-haired wives and children. Women and men both bore axes sharp enough to trim a gnat’s eyebrow. They were unafraid.

The fourth house was a problem. In the process of selling the other three houses, I started to feel sick. The weight of the evil in those places was settling down upon and inside me. As the fierce, stocky people moved into their houses, the evil spirits moved to the next house and the next until the fourth house held all of them. I walked into the fourth house and laid a low, long table below the window. I put a white cloth over it and dressed it as an altar. I dressed myself in a white dress of light material. I knelt in front of the altar and lit a white candle. The intention was to clear the final house of its teeming evil. I lifted a mirror set in white porcelain to reflect what was behind me. I saw twisted forms in the light. Each form was composed of what looked like dust lit only by the gray light from the window. They wore thick layers of robes as if they were from some time in antiquity, though what culture or location I could not say.

I began an incantation.

The evil rushed me and I dropped the mirror. It did not break. I felt as if my head would come apart and my chest would explode. I fell backwards. I started screaming for my Aunt Kay, (my deeply beloved great-aunt who passed many, many years ago). I screamed like a child just waking from a nightmare. She did not come.

I was drowning in death. I closed my eyes.

I opened them after what felt like only a few seconds. I saw briefly the blue sky and seven huge black birds flying overhead. Each bird’s wingspan seemed like it would cover an entire city block. There were chemtrails in the sky as well.

“Call upon Jesus,” someone or something spoke softly in my ear. It was not a comforting voice. “Call upon Jesus to release you.”

I closed my lips tight, but I felt the name “Jesus” burbling up in my throat. “Jeee…” I began to burble before I gagged and closed my lips tight again. I closed my eyes and called to Hermes.

“That won’t work,” the voice said. There was a crushing pressure on my sternum now. “Jesus is your savior. Only Jesus can help you. Call upon Jesus.” I felt as if a thin, bony finger with a long gnarled fingernail pressed its way between my lips and went down my throat, the tip of that pointed nail dragging “Jesus” from my larynx.

“Jee…” I said again, then turned my head and vomited. Again, I closed my lips tight and, in my mind, called upon Hermes. I felt a weight crushing against my belly, like the owner of that voice were laying its full weight on me. I let out a huge rush of air, called on Hermes again in my mind, then let myself go off into the darkness as if I released my grip on a cliff rising above a lightless abyss.

The air in the abyss was cold and damp as the air would be in a cave at the end of winter. The musty smell in the air pleased me. It was familiar. It reminded me in a way of childhood.

“Here I was born,” I thought.

I was being carried through the abyss by someone or something with very strong arms who did not speak a word. I also maintained my silence, kept my eyes closed, and let my body go limp.

I woke up still feeling a touch of the fearful evil on me.

As nightmares go, this was the worst I have had in years and years. Words seem inadequate to describe the evil that was in those houses. I wish I could somehow convey the pressure, the smell, the weight, the crawling skin.

Last week, out of the blue, I woke up with a throat so sore I couldn’t talk. I have never had laryngitis like that in my life. I have never lost my voice. Not once. At the time I playfully blamed the touch of laryngeal plague on Apollon, but I see now it was a result of this incident and that the incident itself was only released to me a week after it happened. I suppose I needed the time to recover before the memory could be safely released.

I wish I knew those black birds better, or the brave, stocky people with their deadly axes. I wish I knew in what land and in whose forest those houses were built. I wish I knew who carried me through the caves. The person/thing handled me kindly, but with little personal familiarity. It was not Hermes. It seemed as if the entity were intentionally hiding its identity. It was dressed all in black with face and hands also fully covered.

Mysteries abound.

-M.

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Finding Woo in the Great American Mess

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More and more, I find the most authentic woo tradition for me is a good old American mess. Woo comes from the body and blood, the master magician once told me. So if woo comes from the body and blood, what woo would be most authentic to me? I am of German, English, and Scots-Irish descent as far as I know. Beyond that, gods only know. Somewhere in there all those people were kicked around by the Vikings. In addition, way back in the way back, those Romans really got around, and not all Romans were Romans, if you follow, so your guess is as good as mine. Finally, depending on how far back you want to go, we all pretty much came from everywhere, so where does this who has a drop of what blood thread end?

(If you haven’t seen the continental flag experiment, look it up. It is amazing.)

The best I feel I can do, the most authentic body and blood I have is American mutt-itude. I’m not sure exactly what that means yet, or what it should look like, but, as an American, it seems hodgepodge is my most authentic identity.

For example, even though I am not Wiccan, I have always liked the Wiccan idea of the eight sabbats—the wheel of the year. I am well aware it is based loosely, (at best), on ye olde traditions, and that the ye olde traditions it is loosely, (at best), based on don’t even all come from Celtic practices. But why should that matter? It’s fun and pleasant and makes you take notice of what’s going on in nature. That’s enough.

If we are honest with ourselves and admit that most neo-pagan traditions are historically iffy, (at best), then why not embrace that openly? Why insist on a lineage that doesn’t exist? Why is provenance necessary? Why should one tradition be better than another simply because it is older?

It seems these questions are rarely, if ever, addressed. They should be.

I have long maintained that the tenets of every religion ever practiced at some point came out of someone’s ass. (Unless, of course, you believe religious traditions, rituals, myths, etc. came straight from the mouths of gods, in which case, I can’t help you.)

If we take the Someone’s Ass Theory as a given, we see pragmatism is really the watchword. Why do certain religions hang on for decades, centuries, millennia? Because they work. Favor is given by the gods, people feel the spiritual willies, magic happens, altered states are achieved.

It makes me think of The New Colossus engraved on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty—a poem that never fails to move me, and one which every American would do well to remember, especially now when so many anti-immigration nuts abound in the name of patriotism.

Lady Liberty proclaims:

“…Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!“

In woo terms, I take this to represent the legacy of taking ancient and not-so-ancient tatters of various open practices brought here, honoring them, and quilting them together. I take it to mean honoring and embracing the patches of those tatters that have already been created when immigrant cultures met and commingled in the past. I take it to mean listening with respect and an open mind to the wisdom that those of different backgrounds choose to teach and share. I take it to mean a wholehearted welcoming of all open workings that have yet to press through the “golden door.”

I am blessed and lucky to live in such a heterogeneous land that grows more so with each passing day. This is the American legacy as it should be. This is the legacy of my body and blood. This is the holy woo of mutt-itude that speaks most fervently to me.

-M.

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Oh Tarot Supplicant: Heal Thyself

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The three of swords is one of those horror of all horrors cards no one ever likes to see come up. We tarot readers aren’t supposed to have feelings about certain cards, but let’s be real. The thing to remember about this card is that although those swords could have been plunged into the heart by treacherous others, there is a good chance at least one of them was wielded by you. Take responsibility for the gloom and doom, yank those swords out, and move on.

-M.

LOGISTICS

Deck: Prisma Visions
Card: Three of Swords

Timing of Reading:

Planetary Day: Sun
Planetary Hour: Mercury
Moon: Waxing in Virgo

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This Week’s Tarot Outlook: Boy, Your Frosted Side Sure Can Be a Pain in the Ass Sometimes

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This is going to be a week of emotional turmoil. Oddly, it won’t be because things are actually tumultuous. The turmoil will come inwardly from a sense of frustration over the fact that the good things you can see coming just over the horizon aren’t getting here fast enough. You want to stomp your foot and demand they giddyup, but tantrums only make them slow their pace even more. Unfortunately, this inner turmoil will cause you to feel at war with yourself. Your frosted side pouts and throws its tantrums, while your wheat side says be still, be patient, hush, wait.

Heed your wheat side. If you don’t let those emotions run away with you, you will be standing in the perfect spot to receive those goodies when they finally do arrive.

-M.

PS
I realize there’s probably an age minimum on that whole “frosted side, wheat side” thing. Trust me, youngsters: It’s hilarious.

Logistics:

Deck: Golden Tarot
Cards: Ace of Cups r, Two of Wands, The Lovers r, Knight of Cups r
Spread: Simple Hermes

Timing of Reading

Planetary Day: Sun
Planetary Hour: Sun
Moon: Waxing in Leo, v/c

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Tarot Challenge Day 8: Warriors Is People Too

Five of Swords

You are an excellent warrior for your cause. You have proven that to yourself and others countless times. Now the moment has come to move on from the proving ground and continue your journey. Do not lay down your arms. You may need them again. Just remember there is no profit in fighting and winning the same battle over and over again. Accept your victory and proceed to victories yet to come.

-M.

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Tarot Challenge Day 7: Not-So-Great Escape

Seven of Chalices

The temptation is to indulge yourself in any and all escapist delights that tickle your recently-become-gluttonous fancy. Consider what you are attempting to escape from. What is the root of the anxiety that needs to be soothed?

Remember: Comfort yourself. Do not bury yourself.

-M.

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Tarot Challenge Day 6: Dude… Lighten Up

Five of Wands

While your commitment to achieving your goal on your terms is unwavering, undoubtedly on your journey you are bound to encounter a few people who have some wise advice for you gained by experience. Loosen your grip just enough to listen and take heed. Incorporate the good, toss the stupid. Fighting against everyone who has anything to say just for the sake of fighting them profits you nothing. Accepting help does not mean your ownership of your goal will be any less complete.

-M.

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