Sunday, May 11–the day of the New Moon–continued some of the high-intensity breakthroughs of Week 2. I noted in my journal seeing a green light through the crossroads in front of the house we rent, a symbolic calling to the Left Hand Path. Raecine Ardis, my tarot tutor and spirit medium, posted a resonating video on her dark practices and considering a workshop on Hecate, “who gives the skeleton key.” Jessie Huntenburg, Wise One’s Coven leader, posted a chat on love with wild abandon that was also healing and promising. And as I began playing the monthly ritual by Rose Crowley, leader of Integral Satanism, a Facebook notification from another Rose appeared as if to signify that my Dark Empress, the divine rose, channels as Great Spirit or Oversoul through many avatars, events, and energies in my life–not the least of which, I was reminded, is my sweet wife Kristin.
In the first monthly ritual where I am named, Rose opened by seeking the unholy sacrament, the unformed gate, and the unspeakable gnosis. She invoked the “void serpent” of “all ages, all creeds, and all guises.” She invoked herself as Oversoul, herself as primordial space, energy, and consciousness, asking that those named become the best version of themselves as well as ascend and become gods in human form as well as wisdom and power incarnate. The experience was quite powerful for me.
However, what followed in Week 3 had something of the dry, cool clarity described in readings I happened to be doing. Webb’s essay on Clarity from his own Grand Initiation in Uncle Setnact’s Essential Guide to the LHP suggests that moments of crystal clearness come as polarized–emotionally when times are balanced or cooly when the heart is wild with feelings. In an essay on the “Lord of Silence” in Overthrowing the Old Gods, Webb describes messages coming through the still-small voice of Spirit. In Holy Daimon, I read how Frater Acher experienced the cold side of Saturn during his first week of ritual to commune with spirit.
As I drove to work on Monday morning, I saw road workers delaying traffic at the crossroads by our house where I had seen the green light. Miles away, on a further road, I was delayed myself as a worker shifted his orange sign from “Stop” to “Slow.” And yet again on a highway yet further, I saw another orange sign indicating road work. I reflected on how I had similar experiences when going through initiation on the Christian path in 1991 and with Odin and the Morrigan in 2019: fighting gout and other adversity, outward signs that I was under (re)construction that accompanied synchronicities of calling. In the dry times and dark nights, I tend to wonder–as did Frater Acher–whether outward cycles are affecting me or whether I am doing something wrong. This time I drew three cards from my RWS tarot to help me reflect on the cause, current situation, and purpose of this dry spell.
The Hermit reminds me of Webb’s words on Clarity and suggests that dark nights bring starlight. The highs and lows are important parts of the soul’s journey. Even in mundane experiences–such as a new relationship, new home, or new school–we go through honeymoons, hangovers, and the more stable phases where roots grow deep.
The Magician reminds me that magic is at work and that internalizing must come hand-in-hand with manifesting, probably both before and after. It is encouraging, though, to remember that the magic is working.
The Five of Wands might suggest that dark or dry experiences are part of growth. The sparring lads are in training, stirring up the flames. In part I am also clearing out the old ashes, fanning the embers, seeing what sticks from inrushes of information and spiritual downloads.
These times of clarity, free from the charms of trance states and ecstatic mysticism, may also be important for making decisions. . In this more analytical condition, I decided to increase my tier in Rose Crowley’s Patreon group from Acolyte to Vanguard, which might be better done with a cool head, as I may need to be able to express my thinking to myself or others.
The first focus card and reading for Week 3 was the Thoth Devil, which complements Rose’s reference to “shamanic genesis” in the monthly ritual. The spiral horns as well as the serpents rising on the Caduceus well symbolize this infinite expansion and Becoming. Pan the goat is the All emerging from primal creativity, an almost inexpressible urgency, as the tree or wand is described arising from the depths of the earth to pierce the heavens, with Crowley quoting his own Book of the Law: “I and my Nuit are one.” The goat is said to be in a barren wilderness or the high places of ancient worship. Here is the Black Flame, the Black Mountain, the Black Sun.
The eye on the goat, which Crowley calls a blind eye as though of the one-eyed monster, assumes further importance in the Thoth Tower. In the explosion of enlightenment when Shiva opens his eye, the universe disappears. Sharp flames from the mouth destroy the structure at the base of the card. The dove and the serpent show the two types of love described in the Book of the Law, perhaps suggesting that true love is destroyed in exoteric systems promoting principles at the expense of Will. This card fits well with the theme of Weeks 1 – 3 of this Grand Initiation: Apostasy. The house of cards that make up systems and identity must come crashing down as the ouroboros cycles from destruction to creation.
The card reading for Week 3 included two cards with clarifiers for the issues of “Needed Transgression” and “Needed Destruction.”
The two Major Arcana appearing for “Needed Transgression” seem especially appropriate as the Hanged Man is the symbol of the Trans-Sates Conference I was recently watching and as the Fool for clarification applies well to the new beginnings of initiation. The Hanged Man certainly represents suspension and liminal spaces. Although self-sacrifice can be attributed negatively to mainstream religion, I think there are LHP versions of submission, for example, Odin’s sacrifice of self to self, transgressive sexuality in BDSM, and alternative spirituality of becoming “No-One” or “Nemo.” The Satanic Temple even has a ritual called the Unbaptism, which reminds me of the Drowned Man or Hanged Man.
For “Needed Destruction,” the Princess of Wands displays fiery, youthful rebellion as “plumes of justice” jet from her head. She is naked, showing how all must be removed that the fires may freely burn with wild abandon. She dances as virgin priestess before the altar of ram’s heads, indicating the fires of spring. The 3 of Wands clarifies well, showing that fresh fire and new vistas rise from the ashes of old vision.
The sigil for Week 3 was the reversed cross. Originally the cross was offensive and scandalous, perhaps worthy of the energy of an outsider or “worthless one.” However, like the the healing bronze serpent that Israel turned into an empty icon, the cross has turned into a gilded symbol of an exoteric system. The shocking inversion acts as a reset, in a sense, restoring the original “Scandalon.”
The Eye of Shiva opens, and the phallic sun casts shadows as the moonlit realms vanish.
In the Night of Nuit and shamanic genesis, every human shines as a star in the moon’s reflected light.
In seeking the meaning of the dry spell this week, I drew the rune Wunjo, even as the sun card flashed during a tarot shuffle. I feel a breakthrough is imminent.
The ritual this week called for trashing icons of the mainstream mindset. In keeping with the energy of the Tower, several times I lit an altar candle made in devotion to Mars. I cut out images of McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Disney, Army, Las Vegas, Hollywood, and White House and dug out from old drawers a ceramic cross, a Mickey Mouse magnet, and an old name tag from a state job. My wife came home early, interrupting me and reminding me that my willingness for public expression always seems to lag behind my will to do personal heart work. It turns out my body wasn’t prepared for what I had in mind anyway, my digestion for some reason not being quite regular. However, the next morning, when everyone was gone, I defaced the icons with permanent marker, defiled them with excrement, and put them out with the rest of the garbage for the weekly pick up later in the day.
Thus ends Set 1 (Weeks 1 -3) on Apostasy. Now begins Set 2 on Transmutation.