Ten Thousand Spoons When All You Need Is A Knife

The following entry may contain triggering material.

I thought I’d been here before, here being the meadow just within the Gates of the West. It was an overcast day, and I wondered if some sympathetic fallacy would at least spare those from being sung out the door under moderately sunny skies, by chirruping tiny birdies. The Spider Lady’s eyes were like eight dark glass marbles of varying sizes pressed into dough, over a beard split by the make—and stirred by the movement—of eir fanged mouth. Eir limbs appeared human: knees were human elbows, feet were human hands. Eir elbows, too, were human elbows, four of these human arms ending in human hands that—

—cast the razor net.

My beloved became a collection of net-hole shaped pieces as the threads fell through him, though it can’t have been heavier than a cobweb. I suppose the physics of the otherworld, the metaphysics, are largely signifiers. I thought I’d been here before, although hadn’t, I thought I’d watched this happen once or twice before—not to someone I knew who blessed the air with every exhale, who would stop my chest from aching just by consenting to my holding him in my arms. Of course this was “different”, an “exceptional case”, of course: I was upset.

Pieces of him fell bloodlessly, though, which my imagined memory compared to the others who’d burst—tellingly.

Cobb reeled in eir net in the moment it took for me to throw myself onto his body parts. They sunk into the ground, and I turned around up to cry to the Clarene, bring him back, heal him, there wasn’t a drop or sliver of the vile stuff so how could you—

The Clarene looked on with human eyes, set in a darkly beautiful human face, under though mostly in front of a magnificent frizz of human hair, anything other than anthropic or able-typical of her body swathed in a gown made of celestial eclipses. When she spoke, her tone was blunt as a lightningbolt. “What will you pledge in exchange?”

Nothing! I’d answered, because I had nothing suitable for pledging, which itself is unsuitable for pledging. I lose my mind fairly frequently, so I might not have had it with me. Despite my crying over somebody else getting hurt, I was sure I was heartless. I couldn’t pledge any service with a lifetime of learning that I’m useless. Mostly, though: Do it, or don’t do it! But you know what’s right!

If that’s call to close the gate against me, so be it. Even in my despair and desperation, I trust the Clarene’s judgment.

The Clarene melted away—into a more godly-cosmic form, as I can only imagine one does when one is a god—or summoned away maybe? I don’t know.

My beloved resurfaced from the earth, whole and sleeping.

Before I could thank the gods, though, the Spider tsked and threw the net again. I heaved his body away at the threat of eir movement, too slowly: a thread caught on his left forearm, and the hand fell away in chunks. Those didn’t sink into the earth this time.

“Cobb!” I shouted eir name, or at least what I called em. “What the Hell?!?”

The Spider’s marble eyes betrayed no emotion, no reason. I held my beloved tightly—his back to my chest, like I learned in swimming class in the human world, to rescue someone who doesn’t know how to swim—and found Heartwrench’s hilt had appeared, between my hand and his chest. I’m not supposed to still have this.

In any case, the Spider had reeled in the net and made to throw again. Of course Heartwrench’s blade was out, too, and if I only thought through the sword enough then—

—there. Like a bubble of glass, or like an air bubble in water, the rind of a sphere appeared around us. With my free hand, I tugged at his jeans, to try to get his feet inside the sphere. Heartwrench’s spheres are only permeable to those and whom I treasure. Usually. A knowledge dusked on me then: Heartwrench’s sphere couldn’t stop Cobb’s web.

I suppose the physics of the otherworld, the metaphysics, are largely signifiers. Heartwrench makes bubble-shields…and most of the bubbles I’ve taken as a reference, the ones from the human world, those can float. Heartwrench and I had never done that before. Usually, though, if I only think through the sword enough then—

We floated up, and away. Cobb didn’t even look up to watch us go.

~

Even in the otherworlds, my emotional metabolism is too slow. I was still crying in despair when really, I should have been relieved. I didn’t know where we were headed, on what currents we coasted, through the overcast day into clear late afternoon. I caught sight of a dome in the sky, the average size thereabouts of an airport near a capital city, stained glass in no particular pattern, something like stairs sort of notched around it coming from and back around a single wide balcony.

Princess Irene waved us through the balcony opening and into the dome. A description: anthropic, except for the butterfly wings; about as tan as I am, but with slantier features (more refined); hair that could be described as a pixie cut; and wearing something between a toga and a Regency-era gown made out of gauzy veils, so a simple cut and line, but as many hues in the layers as there were in the dome.

Heartwrench and I dissolved the protective floaty sphere over a divan, where I laid his body. Maybe I shouldn’t have been relieved: the color was draining from his body, his hair, and even his clothes.

“He’s not going to die,” I said, although I didn’t know it until I said it, and then I spontaneously knew a bit more: “He won’t wake up, either. It’s not really sleep, it’s…a curse, you know, like in modern versions of the fairy tales he…”…needs somebody who loves him truly to kiss him and wake him up. I sighed. “We’ve got to summon his husband.”

Irene shrugged as if to say, “If you’ve got to, you’ve got to.” Then she wandered back to the balcony.

I might’ve been misled about high fantasy adventures. In the ones I’d read, usually, everybody rushes to help the hero and they fret anxiously until it’s done and okay (especially hospitable bystanders.)

In my experience with the otherworlds, if you know enough about somebody—who’s subject to the metaphysics of that world, anyway—and you find a space that has the potential for that somebody to be there, and you project your own expectation onto it…then they’re there. That’s what I call summoning.

Sometimes you don’t know them well enough. Sometimes there’s no potential to be intuited. Sometimes we don’t know how to project that expectation. Sometimes, I’m sure, they just don’t want to be there. So then they won’t be there.

The husband strode through, too swiftly and determinedly for me to want to slow this with more description—I tried to say how glad I was that he’d come over, but he glanced at the stump of our beloved’s left arm and snapped at me, “Haven’t you done enough?”

I backed away and went over to the balcony.

Epilogue

I shouldn’t still have this, I thought to Heartwrench, and at the corner of the balcony stood the one who was supposed to have it. She was a warrior princess, anthropic, with a quick smile, armored and caped like the Ophelene, but white—for that moment. The next moment—even before I could say hi or how are you doing here—she began to dissolve, starting from the head, into silvery glitter that fell upwards and vanished. A single orange-red, translucent stone appeared, buoyed up in the last curtain of glitter.

I took it and held it into Heartwrench’s hilt until silvery thorns grew around to hold the stone, because that seemed to be the thing to do. From Spenser’s Faerie Queene (Book II, Cant X…okay, the real source material is Shakespeare’s King Lear) I’d called the princess Cordelia—though perhaps she was really Carnelian, some new Crystal Gem from Steven Universe.

So anyway, that was odd.

348. Let’s Locate Our Power and Use it (Kelly Maddox)

Original video by TheFourQueens. Official website: here, YouTube account: here. The following text in this entry is a transcript.

When the world is a little bit topsy-turvy, I like to begin with a good cup of tea. Don’t you? (Whispers.) I do. (Holds up a mug of tea and sips.) Mmm!

Hey there, kittens. I’m not really sure what this video is going to be. But I do feel compelled to make it. So, I’m just basically going to let my instincts take control. I’m going to flow into it and just see what comes out, what comes along, and spend a bit of time with you guys, you know? ‘Cause it’s been…a crazy few days, and I think–I think that’s fair to say! I think that’s fair, yeah? It’s a fair comment.

I knew that whatever the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election, I was not going to be over the moon in any way. I accurately predicted that with the outcome being Donald Trump, I would definitely feel (laughs) a lot more panicked and, umm, that my response would have probably somewhat of a nihilistic flavor to it, like, well, hey! If Donald Trump’s the President of the U.S.A. then why don’t we all just do what the fuck we like? (Laughs.) Right? Why do we have any rules? Why do we have any laws? Like…Everything is just on its head, you know. And that was definitely my initial reaction. I did feel like I was in the fucking Twilight Zone. A hundred percent.

But I want to be clear: There’s no bone in my body that’s pro-Hillary. I think that part of the reason that Trump is now heading to the White House is that the liberal agenda was to present Hillary as the sane, sensible choice. And actually, there is a hell of a lot wrong with her, too. You know? There’s a hell of a lot wrong with Obama. There’s like, it’s kind of, it was set up like that and I think that was dangerous. I think Hillary was seen as more of the same, and I think Donald Trump was then seen by a lot of people who are…scared, or feel disenfranchised, or don’t know any better…umm…as the only option for change. The only way to shake things up. And I have a lot of opinions. A lot of opinions about that. And about like, you know, Hillary being selected as the candidate over Bernie Sanders, and how things could’ve gone down differently, and I like to look at things [00:02:00 subjunctively].

That’s not what this video is going to be about, but let me just be clear, you know, had Hillary Clinton have gotten into the White House, I definitely wouldn’t have been over the moon, either. I read a comment on Facebook the other day that said something like, ‘I don’t know how to tell my children when they sit down for breakfast in the morning that hatred now holds the highest office in the world.’ And that was a lot of what I felt, you know. A lot of what Donald Trump symbolizes, a lot of his rhetoric, a lot of his comments…umm, they’re insidious. They’re clearly fucking odious. And there may be a very small minority of people who watch my channel regularly who did vote for Trump or are supporters of Trump, and obviously this video is not necessarily designed to cater for you. But I think there’s probably an even smaller minority of people who watch my videos on a regular basis, who would be surprised to learn that, like, I’m not pro-Trump and never was. (Laughs.) You know? So I don’t think this video’s going to come as a surprise to anybody.

There is so much confusion, and bewilderment, and anger, and apathy, and frustration, and alienation in the psycho-spiritual community right now. And it’s been interesting for me to feel the dust settle inside my own psyche and figure out where the [00:02:16 land lies now] you know? And what it is what I really want to do, how I want to choose my response to this. I’m going to start by reading the status update that I put on Facebook about this the other day, which, for a lot of people that read my Facebook page regularly, did seem to be some comfort during a really difficult time. So I’m going to start by reading that.

I know that lots of people out there in the psycho-spiritual community are feeling disjointed, disempowered, confused and overwhelmed at the moment. I know that we’re all going through our own individual ups and downs, and perhaps can’t always be the beacons of strength and empathy to each other that we would like to be, as we grapple with things in our own ways. I know that some people don’t know where to turn, who it’s safe to reach out to or what to say to comfort those who are feeling afraid. I just want to hold a hand out now to anyone who might happen upon this status and chance to read it during an uncertain moment.

The truth is that your response to this outcome is an autonomous zone. No one else gets to vote on what you choose to do next. Your response to this is your sovereignty in action. You CAN and you MUST locate the sources of power within yourself and bring them into consciousness, into beingness, into the light. If you are jarred, scared, confused or angered, it means that you have deeply held ethics, intentions and beliefs. Find them now, and ask them to lead you forward. If you believe in love, freedom, equality, compassion, acceptance and empathy, then those beliefs are now your sacred fuel. No one can stop you from being in the seat of your own power.

What can you do to spread love? What can you do to create positive change? What will you do to stand in solidarity with those who truly need to feel that their place in this world is valid? How will you put your spiritual ideas into action? How will you begin by just doing your seemingly small but incredibly significant part?

I know it’s so hard to feel powerful right now. But you ARE. You can create a ripple in this dark water, and so can I, and so can anyone who is prepared to take the scary, holy step out of their confines of apathy and into the fire of their deepest vision for this planet.

Let this be a rallying cry from the cosmos.

I know where I’ve been slacking. I know where I could be more present. I know where my love is more needed. I know that I want to be a piece of positive change in this place. I am slowly beginning to raise my head and decide that I’m going to let these events drive me out of my hibernation and further into the good that I can do when I set my mind and soul to it.

Let this pain inspire you…

I’ll leave the link to that Facebook post down below if you want to read it again at any point, or share it, you can do.

I was watching an interview, that a guy from Huff posted, with Gabby Bernstein. It was kind of like a 45-minute, you know, the dust has settled let’s really feel our feelings and anchor into our purpose kind of talk about the election results. In that interview, Gabby Bernstein said that her response to the result of the election…was not a spiritual response. It was not. You know, she didn’t instantly go to Love, and instantly go to Inspired Action, and think about, you know, where she’s better needed and what she can do and how she can be of service and…She was rage-filled. She was fucking angry. As a woman, as a survivor of sexual violence, as somebody who believes in compassion and equality, as somebody who believes in spiritual and religious freedom, umm, you know? She was fucking pissed off.

And to me, that was the most helpful thing that she said, actually. Was that she didn’t have a spiritual response. And that it was a loss, and it’s okay. It’s okay to recognize it as a loss. And like I said, you know, at the beginning of this video — I’m under no illusion about the two-party system in America. I’m under no illusion about what Democrats have been doing overseas, their foreign policy, the things that they’re lying about, the money that they’re embezzling, the corruption that they’re neck-deep in…I’m not under any illusion about that. I do not think Hillary is a paragon of liberal virtue. Not at all!

But when a guy that openly says racist and misogynistic and hateful things, and clearly has no background in politics, no true understanding of how the political system works, is near totally fucking ignorant of things that even I have a decent working knowledge of…when that guy wins over Hillary? You know, it’s…Your instant response is not really going to be a spiritual one! And I think that that’s the first thing that I’d like to say, is that it’s okay for us to hold space for ourselves and each other, to have a response that may not, when you look at it objectively, be described accurately as ‘useful’. You know? The initial response, I guess it’s ‘useful’ to externalize the rage and the bewilderment and the anguish. Long-term, it’s not going to be useful, it’s not going to be useful to ‘drop anchor’ there. But I think it’s really important to recognize that those responses tend to come first, before the dust settles and we think about what it is we can do — and how we can allow ourselves to feel that inner call to action.

For me (sigh) I would say…it probably took me about 48 hours to get my head together enough to think about what I wanted to do next. What was the thing that I wanted to do? How could I really kind of channel — channel the energy, channel the bewilderment?

I’m very fortunate, because I have like a platform online that I’ve built, which is a lot to do with reaching out to people and having dialogue with people, and sharing ideas, and providing comfort, and providing inspiration. And so, for me, that was a big part of what I considered to be my coping strategy, was just thinking…how can I be there for my ‘tribe’: for the people I hang out with online, my audience, my clients? And I did receive e-mails, I have had clients either scheduling extra sessions or rescheduling sessions that they had set in wake of the election results, just dealing with the response that they’re having to the election results…I’ve had people messaging me, asking me to make a video or wondering what my thoughts are. And I’ve definitely experienced, as I’ve been scrolling through Facebook and stuff, and looking at some of the spiritual peeps that I follow, just a lot of bewilderment, and a lot of discussion, a lot of dialogue, about our emotions and what’s happening within us as a result of this. For me, it was definitely nice to have that feeling of, like, I can do something for people. I can put something out into the world that will be useful. So I started to think about that, and that was a big part of where my sense of center came from. It was just basically, how can I be of service to people who are feeling bewildered and overwhelmed, and are kind of looking for things to inspire them or calm them down?

The other thing that I allowed myself to think about quite a lot, that I do tend to encourage myself to think about in times like this, and I did it as well during the whole Brexit situation, and a lot of the very hateful behavior that came up during that time…was I thought about my personal ethics, my beliefs, you know? And the way that I want to walk out into the world every single day. [00:10:00] The vibe that I want to bring to it, the things that I really want to share with people, and the energy, the vibration that I want to hold. And I thought about the fact that that’s where my agency is.

I think a lot of us are just feeling really, really fucking disempowered, like supremely powerless. Powerless to change what is happening, strapped into this rollercoaster of…inexcusable weirdness, at times, I felt. And powerless. And actually, that is an illusion. We all have agency. We all have the power to create a ripple in this dark water. And I just started thinking about that. I started thinking about how I could be of service, you know? I started by texting my friends and making sure they were okay, making sure that I was creating a vibe of openness and availability in my friendship group.

Giving to the food bank. Thinking about organizations that I could get involved with or join or learn more about. Reading articles, and reading think pieces, and opening up my mind up to different things, you know? Taking the time to really sit with myself and nurture myself and care for myself in the process of all of this. And get my brain oiled in a different way.

I’ve tried to look for the positive things. I’ve thought about how many cultural commentators and writers and things like that I’ve either overlooked or never discovered before, and as a result of being very interested in this election, and now reeling from the result, I’ve actually engaged with a lot of people’s work, and got a few new books on my book list and that’s been cool just from a personal perspective.

And just really thinking about how I can carry the energy of helpfulness and acceptance and my belief in equality. Just making people feel comfortable, making people feel included — in any way I can possibly can. And just trying to be kinder, you know? Even just while I’m out in the street, just making sure that I engage with people, and I give them eye contact, and I just make everybody feel seen and heard and loved. And just try and put that energy out into the world. And all of this has come as a direct result of me sitting down and thinking, what is my little piece of agency in this world right now? Where’s my power? Where’s my power at?

(Laughs.) I need to focus on that! You know? And I’ve been focusing on that, and my hope is that more and more of you, as the days are going on, are being able to focus on that as well, to focus on what you can do for your community, what kind of energy you want to carry with you out into the world, and how you’re not going to allow some of the incredibly potent fear that is clearly infiltrating all different areas of society right now…turn you into somebody who’s fearful, into somebody who rejects others, into somebody who is suspicious of others, and insecure about others, and wanting to snatch power and civil liberties from others.

It’s about knowing where your center is, and where you’re coming from, and not letting those things influence you to be other than what you know you are to be in your soul. There’s so much work to do now, and that’s something that can actually help you bring your A-game to every new day. And another thing that I was thinking about in the last sort of like 48 hours or so, is Shadow Work, and self-love as a daily practice, and digging deep and really anchoring in to self-discovery and self-awareness and self-mastery.

These things that we do, that we talk about with each other, you know, the courses that we pay for, the videos and the audio files that we listen to, the books that we read, these concepts that we have dialogue about…all of that isn’t for nothing. All of that isn’t for vanity! It’s not a fucking caprice! You do that…as training…for this bullshit! (Laughs.) This is what you’ve been training for, you know? And I know some of you watching this video have been training for a hell of a lot longer than me, you know? I know people watch me that have been meditating for upwards of 30 years. I know people watch me that have done upwards of 30 Ayuhuasca ceremonies deep in the jungle with a really experienced shaman. I know people have done all kinds of incredible things, you know, people have been forging their own paths, weaving their own practices, learning so much about themselves and about transpersonal experience and how to plug themselves in and how to turn this shit up! Now! On planet! In this lifetime! I know activists watch me, people that literally have thrown their bodies over Mother Nature in the service of Her greatness.

I know that there’s amazing people out there that watch me, people that have overcome all kinds of mental health difficulties, and triumphed over dark, dark nights of the fucking soul. You’ve done your work! You’re doing your work! You’re coming to your work. And this. Is what. It’s for. This is where the training wheels come off.

Because really, we’re looking at Shadow. We’re looking at Shadow unfolding now. That’s what I truly believe, you know? I truly believe that. The way that Jung was watching the rise of Hitler, and being like (side-eye) “Yeah, ahem, guys? We need to look within!” ‘Cause what we don’t want to see within ourselves is manifesting outwardly…and it’s not great! (Squeezes eyes shut.) It’s not good!

Umm. (Laughs.) That’s how I feel right now. And I feel like that’s the perfect time, then. That’s the perfect time to come at this with everything that I’ve tried to learn. (Nods.) All the strength that I’ve tried to develop. Now’s the time for you to show yourself what you can do. Show your loved ones what you can do. This is the challenge. This is the challenge almost that you’ve been training for, that you’ve been preparing for…If you feel bewildered, if you feel uncertain, if you feel like you don’t know where to start? Start with that realization.

You know, I really feel like…obviously, I run a YouTube channel. It’s not an invite-only situation. Anybody can show up and watch my videos, and there are lots of different kinds of people that do watch my videos. I’m really grateful for that, but I feel like the vast majority of people that watch my videos are people who’ve been doing some fucking work on themselves, you know? For some length of time or another. And if you’re watching this and you know you’ve been doing that work, and you’ve been showing up, you’ve been trying to love yourself more and really just dive into your darkness and bring it into integration, if you have been reading about how to live life on a deeper level, how to experience things with more meaning, how to let go of your fear, how to overcome depression…If you’ve been doing any of that shit, if you’ve been meditating, if you’ve been learning tarot, if you’ve been in the process of learning any spiritual discipline, just know that you’ve been training, you know? You’ve been preparing for this. You’ve been getting in shape for this. And that’s a really good starting point, I think. That’s somewhere that I was happy to start, and something that I’ve thought about a lot. And you know, that initial reaction, like Gabby Bernstein said, you know, we’ve got to have room for that shit, of course. You’ve got to have a meltdown. You’ve got to go and hit a punching bag. You’ve got to get that extra session with a therapist. You’ve got to let it go! You’ve got to let it out. But, I really feel like after that, come home to this sense that you’ve got this. You’ve got this.

Your agency is somewhere, it’s somewhere within your grasp, it’s somewhere within your reach. You do not have the agency to turn this around and go back, but you do have the agency to make a difference now that it’s happening. You do have that agency. You do have that power. You can make somebody feel better. You can switch up the vibration in a room. You can teach somebody a chant or a mantra or a prayer that you use that helps you. You can pass one of your loved ones a crystal, and say, “You know what? I know you don’t believe in this shit, but I want you to have this. It’s a master communication stone, and it will help you to express what you want to express or, you know, it’s a stone for creativity and I think it wants to belong to you.” You can take someone a coffee. You can ask if somebody if they want to go for a walk. You can deliver some warm clothes to a homeless shelter. You can offer to walk someone’s dog if they’re feeling a bit frail or sad or under the weather.

Figure out where you can put a bit of your time, where you can give a bit of your money, figure out what’s going on that you agree with that you think is good and positive that you want to get involved in. Think about those things that you were planning on doing for ages that you thought would be a really good idea that you kind of wanted to do but you always convinced yourself you didn’t have time or you weren’t good enough or there’d be a better moment to do it. I’d say the moment is now, wouldn’t you? Because after being slapped on one cheek with Brexit and now being slapped on the other one with this, I’d say the time is definitely fucking now, you know? Anything, anything you want to do to bring that positivity and make that change? Do it now.

The beautiful thing is that that is such a good use of our energy. (Sighs.) We have to have that ungraceful, unmanageable reaction where we do feel rage, and we do feel bewilderment, and we do feel frustration. But that incredible ball of holy electric life force, you know, that comes out of us in that display of rage or that externalization of fear and anguish? That is raw! That is key! That is off the fucking chain! We can do something with that! We can take that. We can harness it. We can redirect it into an avenue where it actually will do something. It will be planted like a seed, and it will grow. It will make other things happen. It will be a catalyst. It will be a part of the alchemy that we need to celebrate and bring into beingness now. So, hold space for your anger. Hold space for your raw terror. And then know that that stuff is power, and you can shape that power according to your beliefs and according to the needs of your self and those around you.

So for me, it was like saying, okay, this is my time to break down, this is my time to flip out…and believe me, okay, it was 6 o’ clock in the morning, umm, and I was going through Facebook, and I realized things were going the way they were going, and I shit you not, I had a panic attack for the first time in years. [00:20:00] I’m just going to be honest. I did. I had a panic attack. I started to hyperventilate. (Breathes.) Umm, it was, it was, it was…shit got real, you know? It was legit, that’s all I’m going to say. And it was difficult. It was a difficult moment for me. And I let that happen. I rode that out. But there’s a lot of power in that, that raw reaction comes from a place of deep belief, and deep intention, and deep love, and that is some pure, real, potent, grade-A uncut shit. That is beautiful. We need to learn how to use it. We need to channel it, we need to harness it.

And when we harness it, and take it away from screaming judgments and obscenities and feeling resentful, and feeling alienated from our fellow human beings and feeling rageful and shutting down and crying and sobbing and doing things we know that are bad for us because we don’t know what else to do…When we take that power away from that cycle, and we put it into what is the next right action? Who can I help? Where can I put this energy? Who needs me? Where are people mobilizing? What can I do to show somebody that I care that they are heard? That their life is fucking valid, that their life has meaning?

That is Alchemy. That’s spiritual Alchemy! And you can do that! You have the power to do that! Every single moment of the day is another moment to choose Alchemy, to choose to be the master of that change.

I think I’ll come back and do another video later because this is my brand new video camera, and it’s not telling me how long I’ve been filming for, because I didn’t remember to kind of go into the settings and put that capability on.

[caption: I’ve actually had it on the wrong light setting and I messed the audio up a little by keeping autofocus on. But hey ho – you live, you learn!]

So I’m not sure how long I’ve been filming for, I’m not sure how long I’ve got left on the camera, I definitely want to pull some cards, I definitely want to do a Tea and Tarot episode pertaining to using our power, finding our sense of personal agency. So I’ll be back! I’ll be back, I have a lot to say, I want to sit with you guys for a lot longer. I want to feel your presence so much. I want to read your comments so much. And I’m sending so much love to you.

Come and hang out with me on Facebook if you want to. Come and hang out with me on Twitter. If you are looking for journal prompts, if you are big on writing to externalize the emotions that you’re going through, I have just literally published 50 journal prompts which were specifically designed as a response to this complete clusterfuck. And maybe you want to use some of them to help you to explore your feelings and, you know, deal with your fears and come to a point of inspired action, so I’ll leave the link for the 50 journal prompts below, please check that out.

If you want to book a spiritual counseling session with me, if you want to have a chat with me, if you want to have a cup of tea with me, I’m available to clients as always, go to kelly-annmaddox.com and click on the Work With Me tab. I’ll leave the link below for the spiritual counseling sessions specifically. If you’ve never spoken to me before, never worked with me before, and you think now might be a good time? I’m ready. I do hour-long sessons and 90-minute long sessons, so come and see me if that’s something that you want to do, if that’s something you would like o invest in, then I’m here.

I’m going to sing you out with a chant. It’s my fucking favorite. If you don’t chant, and you’re feeling stressed, you should chant. It’s a very good use of time. Very good use of time and energy.

Okay, let’s raise this motherfucker up to the roof. (Chimes.)

Ong na mo
Guru dev na mo
Ong na mo
Guru dev na mo

That means: ‘I bow to the teacher that lives inside me.’ And we have to do that now. That’s the fucking plan, okay? So we’ll reconvene here, sooner rather than later, I’ll be back, you know where to find me if you need me. Much, much love, pickles. And blessed be.

In Which ‘How Dare You’ is an Honest Question

The following entry may contain triggering material.
img_20161030_093105
I got this deer-patterned, silver-glitter covered, pocket notebook because it reminded me of the Darren (who I spell Darene but pronounce the same.) A thought occurred to me that this could be my liary, a diary for lies. I’d originally gotten the idea from Catherine MacCoun’s On Becoming an Alchemist, in the chapter dedicated to the procedure of Separation and encounters with threshold guardians, or Adversaries. Should a questant continue to have an Adversary turn them away from the threshold, the advice went:

keep a “falsehood journal.” Each night, just before going to bed, record in this journal every single lie you’ve told since you woke up. Include the little white ones meant to spare others’ feelings or grease the wheels (…) and pay special attention to the lies you have told yourself. Don’t attempt to rationalize or excuse them and don’t castigate yourself about them either. Simply write them down. If you’re thorough, you won’t need to persist long with the exercise. It provokes a very swift response.

Every falsehood I personally clear gets me further away from the humiliation of discovering that I wasn’t the product of cutting-edge reproductive technology but a common bastard all along, a lifetime of abuse and gaslighting from the home I ran away from fourish/fiveish years ago, and that geis I broke. I’d figured out the heartwrenching joy of getting the truth out, long before I got the notebook. If I’ve been obnoxious, destructive, or a bore about it—I’ve told you what’s behind me.

Oh, I still found something to write in it. Access to the university library without a student identification card was easy enough if I claimed alumne status. The security guard didn’t get in trouble for waving me through…I hope…but when I wanted to reserve or check out a book, and explained the truth to the librarians in the attempt, it was hardly encouraging that they didn’t know what to do with an independent researcher, unaffiliated with any organization, who’d been schooled abroad, and dropped out before even starting a higher education. After some hollering back and forth, because it was a very large library and it wouldn’t do for them to crowd in one section (but, hollering! in a library! from librarians! what’s sacred anymore?) they charged me an affordable fee and informed me that their library was usually only open to non-student researchers two days a week. So now I know better.

As it turned out, or at least what I felt nudged toward when I tried to write that in…the Darrenesque called for an omission lie more—at least from me, at this instance, a specific one, I think.

I’m not getting better.

I’m clinically insane, mentally ill. I ran away from the so-called support system that was a constant trigger for the worst of it, but was the only even nominal support system I’d have. I work contracts: freelance writing and illustration, or managing a merchandise table, or working a ticket booth for events. I don’t have the education, the skills, to find sustainable work that will keep myself off the streets. I loathe depending on connections so far into my twenties, but that’s what I’ve been doing, and each of those have only lasted for as long as each connection didn’t know—

I’m never going to be okay.

Leaving my abusive birth family didn’t free me, it’s ruined me—and I will not go back, because I’m insane. And unintelligently much happier in the ruins compared to living with rich abusers. And I refuse to. My life depends on organization and regularity that I evidently couldn’t develop if my life depended on it, ignoring overwhelming pains that hardly anyone else believes even exists or concerns them (unless I trouble some specialist of a frivolous and expensive field of medicine), working through fatigue and lack of clarity with a determination that I never have because I just want to end it all, all the time.

Nobody I lean on is a temporary crutch, because I’m not healing, I’m doomed. By now that initial loathing has melted into normalcy.

Whether I take you down with me or not, I’m doomed.

Don’t write it, the Darrenesque seemed to say, as my head lanced with the pain and distress of all those realizations, and my pen hovered over a blank page. Say it aloud. To someone who it’d change everything to hear it.

Dare you.

Double dare you.

Double-deer dare you—

“I’m not getting better,” I told my roommate, whose family paid for my plane ticket to and from their home in the south this summer, who’d themself been covering for the rent and bills and groceries five out of ten months this year, and nine out of twelve months last year (and now that I look at that, I guess I’m getting incrementally better, at a glacial pace, but that’s no good,) on a salary not meant to support more than one person and that they juggle with taking a Master’s degree and general health complications—most recently, psychiatric.

“That’s okay,” they replied.

The ensuing conversation was more elaborate and private than that. Certainly the situation is complicated by said roommate’s sympathy to mental illness (they’d been more of the attitude that “you don’t need meds I’m not buying for you unlike food we need, you just need bootstraps,” until this month) as well as some potential political stability. (Not instability, instability is fine for a region within a volcanic range and on a fault line and in a typhoon belt.) (Seriously, though, roomie’s moving to Canada if this gets worse oh hey wouldja look at that it’s getting worse; I am not going with them, I’m a tropical creature who’s heard horrifying legends of hailstones, and besides I wasn’t invited.)

At least, I can end on my own response to my roommate’s response: “Wait, what?”

Entheogen: Happy Pills 2/2

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Previously on the Codex of Poesy :

After a week, if I didn’t have too bad a reaction to the meds, I could up the dosage to a whole pill. It would take about three months for the brain cells to unshrivel from the damage of depression, and then I’ll have the energy and clarity to do what I used to be able to do. I shouldn’t expect effects right away. Three months.

The sort of proto-wishcraft I practiced at that time focused on empirical evidence of psychism, with the idea that the mind was the key. To clear the mind of the usual chatter would invite intuitions, so fellow practitioners claimed. Intuitions could tell us the number or suit of a playing card before we could see, or the thoughts and emotional states of the people around us. Willpower directed forcefully through a clear mind could move physical objects.

I could never manage any particularly consistent outside effect. Sometimes, I’d dabble in guided imagery, which would never yield any insightful result. Those quests would usually go in some nightmarish, unhelpful direction. As for within: I could clear my mind, though. I could notice and simply be with the pain, and my mind would go silent, no images would come to mind…and, it was something like peace.

This did not improve my attention span, when depression began to dull the world. This did not hold my thought process high as the structures crumbled into ruin. This did not improve my memory, in those exercises to clear the mind, I may only be now but everything else carried over pains and troubles of the past.

Myself out of meditation knew that my health was failing and I was losing my mind and I’d never meet my goals, the way everything was going. So, I started on what they gave me.

The next time I tried to sit still and clear my mind, the usual chatter would not stop.

That one thing I could do from years of regular practice, now rendered impossible by a pill the size of a rice grain.

It wasn’t so devastating. Once I decided to act to change everything, my mind, my life, my family’s habit of alternating abuse and comfortable silence, I can hardly complain about the changes.

So, I allowed my mind to create images around the chatter. My mind chatter was like that of a crowded, noisy room…like a restaurant, I thought. I saw the milky sunlight through the windows, the swatches of color of so many people’s clothes, heard the chatter and the clatter of metal utensils against porcelain. I could shift my attention to the tablecloth, and the backrest of the chair, and the noise wouldn’t go away.

I didn’t quest in a way that occupied my Surreal Fetch, back then, I would always be watching my Surreal Fetch from somewhere outside myself—another reason these quests annoyed me. This time I was embodied, I knew, seated and smoothing over cloth.

Then I saw myself approach my table, and draw a chair to sit across from me, and sit and watch me. Ey was ready to listen, and to talk.

Much as I loved biology class and the neuroscience unit, and the security it lent me in that I was doing a factually correct and right thing, it’s not what prepared me for the shift in value priority: Forget empirical evidence of telekinesis. This was our life on the line, so now this was the Work we’d do.

~

The skin over my sternum felt as though someone had rubbed mentholated ointment over it, though I was certain this wasn’t the case. When I’d looked up models of the Fetch in other traditions (Otherreal, or Sidereal) I wondered if this were some vortex of compassion activating. Incidentally, I was beginning to care again, about wilting plants and injured animals and what people anticipated or loathed.

Eating used to be like arm-wrestling with myself, the defending champion you damn well know how your mother resents your eating your life away since you were born and now she knows that job security is a lie she hates still having to feed you because she’ll never have a good life like she did as a rich kid, the challenger of but I’m going to faint and they’ll notice and fuss and blame me (which might not be unwarranted, but certainly doesn’t inspire more positive changes) and I’m shitting bloodclots from the ulcers.

If I could muster up the temerity to request therapy and psychiatric medication, I could eat. The oils around meats tasted awful to me, but fine to everyone else who knew it to be my favorite. Eggs and dairy products took on a cloying texture that I couldn’t bear. Fish was barely tolerable. My psychiatrist told me that she’d never heard of a side-effect like that.

I went vegan, and carried it on for far longer than the aversion and tastebud weirdness alone would have kept me away from real proteins. I considered the lifestyle change a result of some spiritually superior calling, which I’ve got to admit was a huge mistake.

~

I chose life. My birth family really hammered in how badly I should regret it. It surprised me that I could enjoy something at all, so maybe when I would have taken a silent satisfaction in an outfit I liked, I’d smiled. “What happened to my kid?” My mother snarked, “You’re smiling and eating and interested in fashion.”

“It’s a lot sooner than the doc said the meds would work,” my sibling said pointedly. “You’re just looking for attention.” Drama-mongering faker isn’t really sick. After our mother died, she tsked at my continuing to purchase antidepressants, saying, “I’ve spoken to friends of mine who went through depression. You only need to take meds for one year, then you’re fine, and you’ve had your year.” She’d never studied psychiatry. I’d doubted that she’d even taken a proper survey of depressed friends, plural, it was probably just the one whose personal experience she’d consider the most convenient to impose. “I respect what you’ve gone through,” she lied, “But you were a bitch. You’re not allowed to get depressed or eating disordered again. I know I’m not allowed to say this, but your not-eating thing was a choice.”

~

I’d described to my therapist long ago what the mind fog felt like, like white mold growing on the inside of my skull so I could only find the fuzzy outlines of my thoughts. She suggested, knowing what an iron-cast meditative practice I had, visualizing a way to make that mold go away. I’d made a metaphor out of my experience, couldn’t I make an experience out of that same metaphor? No. No, I could not. It was neurological, biochemical, not a matter for the quests. I’ve read that some people find half an hour of meditation effective in doing away with what they describe as brain fog, and I envy them.

I ran away from home to home and to almost homelessness. I had a roof, at least, and walls, but could only afford to eat so little that my fingernails began to splinter as they grew from the quick. The brain fog came back. I could have a whole meal for slightly cheaper than a single antidepressant pill, and ought to have the meal instead, if the brain fog was from malnourishment rather than depression. It was that sort of way of working within financial limitations. The fog felt familiar as depression, so I took the meds on an empty stomach. I needed a clear mind to work.

Besides, a fusion deity of Hela and the Morrigan was wandering around my room, and I was beginning to get the sense of what She really meant. I named her Lady Hawthorne.

Nausea had always been a side effect, but this time it was surprisingly incapacitating. It’s amazing how nauseous a body can get without vomiting even stomach acid, and by “amazing” I mean “torture” and I can’t brag about it as a feat, really, it’s more like a betrayal: How could my corporeal fetch do this to me. Why would my corporeal fetch do this to us. I wanted to die. Once it passed, I decided against taking the other half of the pill when I was supposed to, and I still wanted to die, but at least I wasn’t nauseated.

Before it passed, I sat on the floor and leaned into the corner, trying to breathe as slowly as I could without fainting, because inside movements made the nausea wane, which meant it would wax full right in a trice. I was trying to keep the nausea steady until it flowed away, like trying to find a part of a river that flowed without ripples.

I’d been reading about the Ophelia, a modern god of rivers (of course: the greatest civilizations in human history formed around a river or two), time, death, and depression. Depression had taken on a broader definition to me: the cold and hollow exhaustion of anxiety, the eroding attention and memory, the restless slumbering.

The suicidal ideations, that’s what Lady Hawthorne attended to. The Morrigan aspect of this fusion god represented the battle, the aspect of Hela (from Proto-Germanic *haljo “the underworld” … Literally “concealed place” compare Old Norse hellir “cave, cavern”, from Proto-Indo-European *kel- “to cover, conceal”) represents the hidden nature of this particular kind of battle.

When I thought about the Ophelia as a god of depression, this included the recovery, no matter how nauseating. Time and death, too, it occurred to me had life as an integral part, at least the way my nascent headcanon of the Ophelia claimed. Should I die of natural disaster, injury, illness, or age, I expect to glimpse the Ophelia in that last moment. If I kill myself, I’m the Helrrigan’s.

And if I starve to death in self-imposed poverty rather than eating disorder comorbid with obsessive compulsion (or depending on who you ask, choice)…? Eh, how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

They were both in my room then, new gods perhaps summoned by new rituals and new ways to travel so far beyond your ken into the realm of horribly wrong. We three got through it all right. We’re still getting through it all right. All three of us, around this.

Entheogen: Happy Pills 1/2

The following entry may contain triggering material.

The psychiatrist showed me a pill the size of a single rice grain.

“Eating one of those a day is going to make me not want to kill myself? That one whole thing?”

She looked surprised. No, of course not! You should cut it in half.

If I squinted, I could see the groove where it was meant to be halved. “A chisel would be too large for this. I’d need the flat screwdriver from my spectacle repair kit, and somebody to hold the magnifying glass.”

After a week, if I didn’t have too bad a reaction to the meds, I could up the dosage to a whole pill. It would take about three months for the brain cells to unshrivel from the damage of depression, and then I’ll have the energy and clarity to do what I used to be able to do. I shouldn’t expect effects right away. Three months.

(Ten hours after that first dose, taking hold of a glass of water became as difficult as horseback archery because my whole body kept shaking and twitching. That’s a side-effect. I consider it more like an effect, actually.)

My sleep pattern and appetite should get fixed up eventually, too. Oh, speaking of what I shouldn’t eat: no liquor, no caffeine, no chocolate.

“No chocolate! How can life be worth living?” I didn’t really say that, because I hadn’t gotten even my morbid sense of humor back. I did eat chocolate and the teeny tiny happy pill, though.

~

The psychiatrist also hastened to clarify that this was a misnomer. Antidepressants don’t make people feel happy for no reason, like some chemical puppetmaster. Medications targeted thought processing issues, memory problems, stress metabolism, fatigue, oversleeping. Dissipating suicidal ideations coincided consistently enough, but this would never lead to a drug high.

Perhaps I was merely happy to feel normal, two months into the regular dosages. No, I’d made an online acquaintance to whom I could not commit to a friendship, unfortunately, though the way her liminal experiences carried her through a bad situation made our shared conversations something I ought to have clung to; she told me that her mother died and her father physically abused her, and on the other side of the Internet where she couldn’t see, I erupted into giggles. It wasn’t even absurd or unbelievable, maybe I would have begun to laugh at that time without anybody talking to me. Had this been an offline friend, this would come off horrifyingly callous, and I was genuinely and completely horrified at myself for laughing. I couldn’t stop, not even when I desperately made the effort to recognize that someone else’s situation was horrifying and painful to them. It was like the tremors and twitches, in that respect, but I can’t say it was purely mechanical—like, I began to hyperventilate as though I were laughing. Instead, bubbles of sheer delight filled my chest. It was an intrusive mood: I was not delighted.

Fellow depression recoverers would say things like, “that’s the depression making you think/feel that way, not you,” and I would never understand that dissociation. Happiness wasn’t me, especially not this kind, this was the pills. The psychiatrist told me it was a misnomer, and I don’t want to say she was mistaken. I’d heard the opposite too often, too, a derisive, “go take your happy pills,” or “take your chill pills” whenever I came off glum or angry. Even if it weren’t the case that psycho-social stressors (from, say…people who take the same lousy health-bigot attitude as that…) played a significant role in triggering my depressive episodes…it didn’t work that way. It wasn’t a way to get high.

Some new magazine research or another would inform this friend or that how antidepressants caused depression. I’m inclined to blame the stigma associated with medication, becoming itself a psycho-social stressor. I’d also differentiate between stages of depression. I’d go quiet and shrink into the conviction of my own worthlessness if someone so much as informed me that my shoelace was untied, and that anxiety would carry over into every little thing I did. Learning not to care about every little thing could be healthy, or could be a sign of further depression, because then I stopped washing up or eating—but that’s probably more like ennui. Then there’s suffering so much physical and emotional pain that I’d chase death just to make it all stop, every waking moment like I was being stabbed in the head with all the tears I forced myself to hold in because crying wasn’t helping anymore (but not crying wasn’t helping, either, it was just bothering people less,) and the heartburn and stomach ulcers.

Starting on the antidepressants got me back to anxious about my shoelaces. I’d almost preferred the bleakness, only because serenity and joy and adventure didn’t feature as options. Maybe depression is a way for the psyche to modulate the focus and sensitivity that leads to distress, dulls the senses, gives a bit of mindspace to find one’s center again…but, then nothing can modulate the modulation. Not philosophy, not theology, not activity—I’d gone for all that—and certainly none of the advice from people who condescended to care but really refused to get a clue (not that I explained or described it well, then or even now—but I can’t believe it was all my projected frustration.)

And I won’t say the medications were the one true solution, either. I believe that medication eventually did away with the feeling that I was holding a solid iron bowling ball in my skull (though I still wake up to spikes—I may want to learn to cry properly again), and more eventually did away with the sort of misty mold that grew on the inside of my skull so I could only make out the fuzzy outline of my own thoughts. That’s a huge improvement over my quality of life, and I have not entirely been the one to foot the whole cost of that improvement. It was expensive, and hardly worth it to my birth family, who believed I should be somebody else entirely (someone on whom a pressure-cooker of abusive dynamics has no effect; let me reincarnate a few million more times and then maybe I shall spring from the womb so unshakably enlightened.)

One bit of good fortune that I’ll admit to gratitude: I have not required an adjustment in the dosage and kind. I haven’t exactly suffered from an adjustment in the dosage and kind, or days when we couldn’t find a pharmacy that stocked them, or days when we could but my mother muttered about the expense so I would lower the dose. I ate them with chocolate sometimes although the psychiatrist with the million-dollar education in this field told me not to, and the effects wouldn’t be better or worse than times I didn’t eat chocolate with the antidepressants—but that doesn’t make my decision an inherently good decision. When these pills took me from bleak to anxious (and queasy, and so twitchy that I couldn’t hold a glass of water), I made the decision to keep taking them anyway, and the result was good enough for me—but anyone else for whom the drugs leave psychologically raw and undefended, in a different life situation than mine, with vastly different predispositions and body chemistry, well, it stands to reason that my decision to keep taking what was prescribed can’t apply across the board as a good one. When I caught myself laughing at a very real abuse testimony from a dear acquaintance, I lowered the dosage without consulting my psychiatrist—and the intrusive high moods stopped. I will neither recommend this course of action nor heed accusations of my excusing psychopathy with medication: a drug happy-high wasn’t worth eclipsing empathy, no matter how generally miserable I’d become—rather, the matter was that I was exactly as miserable as I’d become, so maybe someone more depressed or differently-depressed would have made a different decision.

Only I can draw a line like that for me: sometimes I’ll get so excited about something that I overstep my bounds and come off like my happiness is so much more important than the comfort of people around me (and I’m sorry); sometimes I’ll flip the bird at what’s clearly a dishonest attempt at emotional blackmail (and I’ll often still be sorry, and have to keep telling myself I’m in the right.) One time I decided that sharing someone else’s pain and misery completely was worth the risk of inexpertly adjusting a rice-grain-sized drug that effectively shakes the nervous system to the mindcore. I’m as likely to help myself to imaginary bone-shaped biscuits either way.

The Human Experience is chemical, and theological, and genetic, and philosophical, and physical, and personal, and social, and circumstantial, and relative, and overlapping-confounding, and clearly distinguishable and objectively conforming to a specific value judgment.

While people who have have suffered less competent psychiatrists than I have would, perhaps, develop a completely valid aversion to the whole thing entirely (and I don’t exactly love my psychiatrist, could be another reason I would do everything to avoid checking in on an adjustment)—I do consider a theological exclusion of psychiatric medication…umm, wrong.

To be concluded…

p4Zxw8-I2

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Biology class helped a lot, to prepare me for what was going to happen. At first I was so disappointed when our teacher cancelled the ecosystems unit that had been on the syllabus “because they’re only any fun if you can go on exciting field trips.” She’d gone on to assure us that the nervous system was in fact very interesting, although all I could think of was a rumpled lump of chewing gum topping the purple roots of some tree.

We studied human sensory organs. Iris, retina, optic nerves, shortsightedness, astigmatism, colorblindness, vitreous humor, aqueous humor, and what part of the brain processes sight, then we had a whole class dedicated to trying out different optical illusions; in the same detail, hearing, smell, taste, how complex the skin really is as an organ, how we sense location and balance and time…

(If I overthink the liminal quests too much, wonder why anthropomorphism, how gravity or thermodynamics carry to the otherworld, what is language even what is meaning…it’s a bit because I know that our corporeal experience is such a faulty process. Most of what we physically experience can not be physically true outside of our mind. Find enough people who can’t be arsed to consider that every moment, though, and we’ve got something like a life.)

We got to study the brain: neurons, neurotransmitter molecules, dendrites, electro-chemical signals, and all the structures that have been mapped. Prefrontal cortex for logic. Amygdala for emotions. Hippocampus for memory. Hemispheres. Music does this to the brain. Language does that. Potassium. Magnesium. Iodine. The effect of splitting the corpus callosum with what looked like an ice pick, because this science teacher wanted us to really think about the relationship between science and humanity: stem cell research, eugenics and genetic engineering, evolution, thalidomide, and how wrong it is to treat crazy people like they’re not people and take an icepick to their brain even if dressed in all the authority of a scientific medical doctor. Oh, we can be kind, if we so insist, but science means (or ought to mean) no excuses ever.

~

I’d had a horror of what fellow Catholic schoolkids call demonic possession. To explain what that is gets pretty deep into mythology that I don’t recognize anymore, but back then it was an almost constant source of anxiety. When I learned how delicately structured the brain was, and how those conveyed corporeal human life experience, I’d begun to consider my body like an elaborate lock. It stood to reason that whatever tried to come in that wasn’t myself would contend with everything stored in my body: my motor skills (or lack thereof), my myopia, that I was a super-taster, my preference for schmaltzy show tunes and the accompanying Pavlovian reaction honed over a lifetime, my predisposition to distress and melancholy…and considering the extremes of that last one, better you than me, demon.

Learning biology helped me claim my body, for better or worse. I’ve been trying to hammer out an entry or two about the facet that’s better, but everything I’ve got drafted about the concept of the Corporeal Fetch has been how I personally hate it for every conceivable reason. This fetch is mine, though, possibly even me and mine.

~

Eventually, I’d figured that my brain was malfunctioning. Whoever said that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem had me at “permanent solution” to pain so intense that no one should have to survive or even encounter it. A few failed attempts at that solution and I thought, fine, try another difficult way. Asking for help at all was really, really, really difficult, more like a meep though I made sure my mother understood it—and she’d sent me to piano classes instead, which were the same price and looked more productive and she’d read somewhere that music cured depression and…she was the mom. The brain fog by then was so bad that I couldn’t read the alphabet, let alone musical notation, but I went because she told me and because nobody noticed my moods had gone from volatile to bleak to catatonic and I didn’t dare ask again for another year. This was after I’d dropped out of mainstream schooling, and she’d enrolled me in a homeschooling course with the expectation that she could leave me alone with the exercise books and I could just blaze on through them. I was so tired and mysteriously pained all the time that I couldn’t even get up to eat, and dropped to 70 pounds at a height of five foot nothing.

I’ve offered that, and my difficulty reading, and scieNCE~! as reasons why my mother ought to have followed through the second time I asked. That wasn’t why she did (ought or ought not), though, and I’m not sure anymore that those are the ought-to anyway. (Depression is bad, I don’t really have more persuasive words; so unless someone’s been there, this doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in any shared understanding or belief. Even then, I’ve gotten handwaved by people who testified to have attempted suicide once or twice a week when they were my age, and that the trick was just not to dwell on the past so much—which I’ve found to be unhelpful and even damaging to put out, duty to speak your truth or not.)

At the therapist’s office, I’d emptied my head out onto a box and a half of facial tissues and filled out a survey, a series of statements I’d rank from one to five. Have I had thoughts of suicide so-and-so number of times per week? Have my sleeping patterns changed drastically? Has my sex drive increased or decreased drastically? Did I often feel “blue”?

I remember anxiously asking my therapist how I was supposed to check that I was a Level 5 Blueman. Knowing people out there who had spent their childhood in sexual slavery, or on the front lines of battle, ought to keep me aware of my place on the bell curve—shouldn’t it? In any case, my therapist graded me with red stars and a referral to a psychiatrist.

My mother resisted and tried to appeal to my spiritual side. Wasn’t Free Will a good concept? I should give it a go even though it was Christian (and because it was Christian—it’d sure helped her through trauma, though apparently not enough to, umm, not perpetrate it.) Or what about meditation! (I’d been doing nothing but over that year as a drop-out shut-in. No, I have not achieved telekinesis.) And if my fasting came out of a determination to be more than my body then couldn’t I understand that I was more than my body? (It was an eating disorder, that I could die from.) Anything but the pills. Anything but.

It was just so unfashionable. There was no way that a chalky little tablet could really have such a dramatic effect on The Human Experience (at least, The Human Experience bits that have got any chance of being understood or accepted.)

~

The psychiatrist had to get out a plaster model of a neuron and what looked like tiny clear rubber balls without jacks. Depression wasn’t only emotional, of course, it had to do with stress metabolism at a chemical level, and sleep habits, and energy levels—which made it a medical issue. (I’d been saying the same thing, but not with plaster models and pamphlets and the right kind of coat.) She also explained about the genetics, this psychiatrist, and she casually asked my mother whether she’d ever attempted suicide. Once in university, my mother had replied, with some tablet overdose; they’d had to pump her stomach.

You see? The psychiatrist said with a smirk. Genetics!

I’d like to believe that I still had it in me to be dismayed and appalled at them both. My mother knew what it was like to be driven to suicide, and she’d still do the same to her children.

To be continued…

Wishcraft, Stagecraft, and Pepper’s Ghost

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Wishcraft looks like it goes: believe in something and it will happen—maybe do something to express that belief, like a lot of wishing superstitions. Maybe that’s enough.

I examine my belief system, though, to make sure it’s still working (and I wonder with what I’m examining it, which keeps me paralyzed in a philosophical paradox until something sudden distracts me.) I’ve found two separate processes in action: 1.) making sense out of nonsense, and 2.) making more sense out of something that makes sense.

This comes up when I cast Ogdoad glyphs based on chess pieces. I’m casting them onto whatever poetic metaphysical equivalent of a chess board there is, and I have a specific idea of their nature and purpose—but not always the rules of the game, or that this vocabulary has the correct Glamour, or that who or whatever I address would listen and understand enough to join in on reinforcing this belief system by effective response. (Linguist Ferdinand de Saussure made a better connection between speaking or parole as the chess pieces, and language or langue as whatever it takes to make those chess pieces more than decorative.)

Fairy Chess changes the rules: that the pawns can now move like kings without having the value of a king, or that every move transports a piece to a corresponding square on a parallel board, or that there’s one extra piece on nobody’s side whose move is determined by the roll of an eight-sided die and so help your pieces who can’t get out of the way fast enough.

In a way, I’ve come to recognize these more as Proscenium stuff. A chess game can be theatrical, full of errant knights, flying castles, bishops moonlighting as assassins, and pawns that can rise to power as royalty. It’s not a frequent courtesy of the game I’ve seen, that players ever give one another the satisfaction of striking down the king. When such is a mathematical certainty, there’s no point in acting it out. The loser tumbles the king, and the players shake hands on it. Of course, the loser can flip the table over in a snit, instead, but that very real act somehow cannot undo the loss never enacted: “offstage” as it is, in the rules of the game, somehow less real. (If a player flipped the table over when so many other possibilities in-game remained, that would have a different effect.)

So, I’ve come to another distinction. The one is Conjecture Proscenium, which claims all those mathematical certainties of the downfall of chess kings, and the maths, and whys, and hows, of symbolic meanings, and all in a space where it really is just a game. The other is Conjure Proscenium, which I’d touched on when defining a deliberately created Scape (although I called both concepts Proscenium, then.)

I see the same process in the way I cast glyphs in the Otherreal, which is really very much like projecting a Pepper’s Ghost.

In the sidereal or otherreal, I sometimes feel qualities of otherwise undetectable billows in the air. They don’t change meaning or quality according to what shape I’ve put them in by waving my hands about, though—I’ve tried, and maybe that way simply doesn’t work for me. I build glyphs below the stage, the back of my mind or the bottom of my heart, and then play them out on the plane I perceive. I still wonder how it works, how it doesn’t, what is it about the world that has metaphorically conducive properties? But that’s applauding the scenery. Belief moves somewhere between the players and the props.

Ogdoad2016