This is my first journey into WordPress and I am not sure where to start. I already posted some material on another site that I called “A Blended Path” ( https://ablendedpath.weebly.com/ ), some writings and videos to act as “bread crumbs” to help me see the journey that I have made spiritually so far. I ended up here because at the end of last week I had some mystical experiences with Odin and came across a site here called “A Polytheistic Life” ( https://apolytheisticlife.com/paths/ ). I guess I’ll jump right in and describe an encounter with deity that I had yesterday.
First, I should provide one bit of background that makes the encounter more understandable. After making a video detailing my mystical experiences with Odin and posting it at Religious Forums, I received an encouraging reply from another member at the forum saying that he could see I was walking a path less traveled “for sure.” He also posted a picture of a bug with natural camouflage, having a body and tail that look just like a leaves among actual leaves. He seemed to be making the analogy that myth and personified deity is like that picture in that we cannot always tell what is the bug and what is the leaf and what is the bug-leaf.
Now on to the encounter. Yesterday, in my office at the community college where I teach, I was waiting for two students from another instructor who needed to make up an exam. In the meantime, I had copied a picture of Freya from the internet onto a Word document. You can see her beautiful red hair and lush surroundings here:
I was musing over whether she might be a face of Goddess I needed to connect with because of her relationship to Odin who seemed so overpowering to me recently. The image was still up on my screen a few minutes later when the first student knocked on the door so I could get her started on an exam she had missed. I was startled to see that her face, figure, and long red hair resembled the picture of Freya. After getting her settled on a classroom computer, I came back to my office and reflected on this odd coincidence. I thought that perhaps the synchronicity was confirmation that Freya wants to be part of my life. Although I already work with a personified deity that I know as a dark-haired Empress from the tarot with overtones of Venus and Gaia, Freya might even already be an aspect of this Goddess I work with. I had seen Freya described as Lover and Earth Mother.
Not much later, the second student came by the office and I took her down to the classroom to get started. At first I didn’t notice, I think because she had on a backpack and jacket, but it didn’t take me long to notice she was wearing a dress made out of the kind of camouflage material that hunters wear, a fashion statement I don’t remember seeing before. The picture and post about the camouflaged bug immediately came to mind, and I had the strong impression that just as Goddess could come through these students to communicate, so she could come through the various archetypes and images that speak to my heart.
There were other details and subtleties to my experience with these students that resonated with me and confirmed something otherworldly was going on, but these are the broad strokes. I will continue to seek and consider what kind of relationship. fellowship, or communion Odin and Freya may intend or allow. I know the Empress continues with me strongly and may counsel and guide me in the process.
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.
In this Grand Initiation, I fan the Black Flame, ascend the Black Mountain path, and invoke the Black Sun. These intentions crystalized in Week 2 of my Grand Initiation, and I shared them with Rose Crowley before my first monthly ritual with her Patreon group. My meditations and the ritual time this week were electric as a deep trance engulfed consciousness. I sense a breakthrough, a dark anointing, a seal of some of the attainments that may not yet be ingrained or fully rooted.
A certain transgressive thrill arises in the breaking of taboos, but also a more complete understanding of Becoming as aesthetics and behavior previously demonized into shadow becomes integrated. I have experienced this shift with tarot cards in 2016, which now surround me, and with the pentagram in 2019, which now adorns my ring finger and forearm. This week, making an impromptu circle and diving into trance, I found myself chanting, “By my own name and by my own will, I invoke Baphomet and Babalon, Lucifer and Lilith, Samael and Satan.” Taking on the semi-secret name of “Nala,” I again set my will to become No-Man (Nemo), to walk the LHP, and to commune with my Holy Daimon. I set the seal for the week upon my heart, the Baphomet symbol below encircled by a left-winding ouroboros:
The Webb essay for the week was on “Order,” which focuses on the individual will bringing structure from chaos and opportunity from adversity. The Book of Thoth readings included the Hierophant and the Lovers.
The three linked rings on his staff reveal the aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus with the stars of hexagram and pentagram showing that this High Priest brings the macrocosm into the microcosm–as above, so below. The dancing child within the pentagram reveals the aeon of Horus, and Venus holding the sword as well as the light from the rose behind show the new powerful role of the goddess. In my ritual context of “Apostasy,” I must consider his dark side, and even Crowley writes that he looks “sinister.” He shows the danger that any new expressions can become an exoteric, rigid conformity, that narratives of aeons–such as the Golden Dawn or the New Age movements–can become systematic, failing to acknowledge the inherent transience and emptiness of all things.
Associated with the Hebrew word for “knife,” this card reminds me of choices, sharp commitment, analysis, and separation. The alchemical concept “solve et coagula,” the two words also found on the left and right arms of Levi’s Baphomet, reveal the process of breaking down and building up needed for the Great Work. Crowley writes that this card is a twin of doubles with the Art card, which also features the alchemical marriage and the orphic egg and which also carries the mystery of the hermaphrodite. The Thoth Lovers card suggests a honeymoon or paradise state of balance that is hard to reach and cannot be kept, as the serpent leads to evolutionary dissatisfaction, driving us from the garden, motivated and fighting death daily, reaching higher states of Becoming.
The tarot reading this week was an intuitive five-card spread on all that is false regarding purposes, desires, relationships, goals, and ideas. The first three cards seemed to group well, suggesting the impulses of fire and air can drive us to charge in support of false principles, authority, and structures. The 6s, for me hearkening back to the VI of the Lovers, suggest an ego-drive for success, the desire to achieve perfect victory and beautiful balance in relationships. However, Apostasy tells us that there are no ultimate answers, that ascent is unending, and that we must commune with people one day at a time.
The last two cards seem to go together to express false goals and faulty thinking. The 3 expresses the power of a clear, fiery vision; however, the 5 reminds us that focus on set outcomes can destroy equanimity and serenity. Releasing overly solidified intentions and flowing with our own emptiness, we can explore expanding themes as the dissenting outsider rather than accepting what is written in stone.
For this week’s ritual, I drew symbols that have been part of my identity in religion, mainstream culture, society, education–even as a teacher, husband, father, nice person, and human being. I burned the little crosses, flags, diplomas, rings, stick figures, and smiley faces in my cauldron. I also lit a black candle for the true Hierophant along with a pair of candles for Mercury and Venus to represent the energy of the Lovers card, perhaps as the Hermaphrodite or Holy Daimon within. I followed Rose’s ritual order of making a circle, reaching trance, invoking spirit, and setting intention. In a crescendo of ecstatic trance, I mixed the ashes of old identity with blood and body fluids, foreshadowing the full Black Mass that is scheduled for Week 9. I chanted a semi-secret new name, engaging the inverted pentagram upon my finger, forearm, and heart. Nalasatanemo. I take your name as part of my own. By my own name and my own will, I invoke Satan and Samael, Baphomet and Babalon, Lucifer and Lilith.
The initial card for focus was the Thoth Magus. His path on the Tree of Life is from the emptiness of Kether to the understanding of Binah: he is the Logos, the Word, the Will. On my home altar I lit a special candle made for Mercury (who appears here also as Thoth and Hermes), and on my work altar I lit a Sun candle and Moon candle as Crowley writes the Magus and Priestess are paired like Sun and Moon or like Lingham and Yoni.
The Priestess card stood to the right side on my altars this week, representing the esoteric wisdom that arises from within as though from Isis, Artemis, or the Moon. Her path on the Tree of Life is the only one that crosses the abyss, bringing from Kether the “nascent forms, whorls, crystals, seeds, pods, symbolizing the beginning of life.” These cards are especially appropriate for a LHP initiation as they celebrate the inner Will and Wisdom that proceed from emptiness.
As I shared through the YouTube video in the previous post, the nine-week Grand Initiation is not only based on the Thoth Tarot but also adapted from Don Webb’s book. The first week centers on the Magus and the Priestess cards as well as Webb’s essay on Chaos. I also shared how the formal initiation was arising somewhat organically and including other life events and practices. For example, my 60th birthday is approaching at the closing of my second Saturn Return. I am reading several books on meditation and communion with my Holy Daimon along with daily practice. I recently finished a workshop focused on experiencing the divine feminine through Sante Muerte, Kali, and Isis. On the first day of the Grand Initiation, I received a Patreon receipt that featured the pictures of the three priestesses I support and that work with me on tarot reading, witchcraft, and ritual, a synchronicity that spoke richly to me, especially as I only joined Rose Crowley’s group a few days ago and will be named in my first monthly ritual soon.
Webb’s essay on chaos alerted me to the principle that random events and adversity are the source of Self-created order in life, and that principle played out online. After I had posted my complete structure for the initiation, I went several rounds with a fellow member of Rose’s group who insisted that I clarify my goals for the initiation. The spur to be clear had some good results as some things crystalized. I do think it was better the clarified goals crystalized during the workings and readings of the first week rather than being imputed before the initiation began–something like the “exploratory thesis” method of writing an essay, which (LOL) I tell my students never to do–but that is all beside the point as chaos arranged for the spur to accompany my first reading and ritual of the initiation. I found myself sitting naked at the altar and chanting: “I will to become no-man, I will to ascend on the LHP, I will to commune with my Holy Daimon.” The first goal of being No-Man relates–but not completely corresponds–to a video I just posted in Rose’s area for sharing occult resources.
Several things converged to form the No-Man goal: (1) my recent study of Buddhist emptiness and LHP identity, (2) my natural fetishes and proclivities, (3) my workings with the divine feminine, (4) the Thoth Tarot reading I did for my first week, in which the Emperor appeared as the identity I want to shed and in which the Knight and Prince of Disks appeared as the way/wisdom to release that identity.
When the cards are laid out, the Knight in the middle appears to be shifting from orange fire of authority and aggression to the golden earth of practice and nourishment. The final card is properly dark as the Prince carries the symbol of the Great Work accomplished and sustains the Spirit through his material element of earth–the world, the flesh, the devil. In Phantasmagoria, the guidebook for Tarot of Vampyres, this Prince is described as “being in love with Mother Earth.”
Interestingly, in meditation this morning, I had an epiphany about something that never resonated with me before, which is why Crowley had the gnosis to switch the placement of Star and Emperor on the Tree of Life. As I considered becoming No-Man in many ways, not the least of which is my break with the patriarchy and cultural conditioning to “manhood,” I suddenly realized how wonderful it is to have the Star in the place where the Emperor once resided, like a change in aeons.
The second goal, which the chaos of online conversation crystalized is to ascend on the LHP. In the past I have longed for a clear identity such as “black magician” or “all-inclusive mystic,” but now I may hold off as I am not sure I want a limiting designation. I have already had some brushes with pagans and occultists who insisted on some rigid way, almost to the level of the mainstream religion. I do value association with other practitioners as well as shared systems and gnosis; however, as Rose so eloquently says, the background and foreground have shifted for me. All must resonate with Self and be sifted by my own consent and channel.
The third goal that crystalized during this first week thrills the longings of my heart and was stirred up as I began reading Holy Daimon by Frater Acher. I seek communion with my Holy Daimon, another way of saying Holy Guardian Angel or Holy Spirit, I suppose. These words from the book struck a deep chord: possession is “the most intimate type of spirit communion.”
The intention is to shift my identity to that of “No-Man” (see the separate post forthcoming for Week 1), to ascend on the LHP (Left Hand Path), and to commune with my Holy Daimon (Holy Guardian Angel). The shift is transgressive, dark, individual, and progressive in contrast to a more mainstream, light, collective, and traditional initiation.
Impulse to foundation/identity balanced with emptiness (river of Heraclitus)
Impulse to pre-defined purpose balanced with the never-ending ascent of evolution
Impulse to love, faith, hope, or bonds balanced with focus on Self and responsibility
Nine weeks of readings from the Atu descriptions in Crowley’s Book of Thoth and essays from Don Webb’s “Grand Initiation” in chapter three of Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to LHP. Keep a Journal.
Set 1: Apostacy
Week 1: The Thoth Juggler and Priestess; Webb’s words on Chaos
Ritual: Put on favorite outfit of identity; remove, wash, and store for nine weeks. Sit sky clad.
Sigil suggestions: ouroboros, reversed pentagram
Card reading: do an intuitive three card spread on your identity, its release, and other wisdom.
Week 2: The Thoth Hierophant and Lovers; Webb’s essay on Order
Ritual: burn phrases and/or symbols of old identity
Sometimes called the “Chariot of Ascension” (in case you do a Google search), the Mer Ka Ba is a vehicle of spiritual transportation arising from ancient Hebrew mysticism. It seems to be experienced by many astral travelers today, and I first encountered it through a guided meditation in the Isis Oracle cards by Alana Fairchild.
The online luminaries such as Teal Swan seem to share the ancient idea that the state of transport belongs to higher consciousness, even a higher level of initiation, as the altered state can seem to transport the entire being–mind, body, spirit–through the microcosm or macrocosm in various realms, planes, dimensions, visions, and dreams.
My experience leads me to wonder how similar this vehicle is to other versions of ego transcendence. In my case, the trance state was very similar to my usual deep dives in meditation. For me, it’s hard to say whether the physical body ascends into the astral–hedge-riding, so to speak–or whether something higher makes the descent into matter and subsumes me–invoking the divine, so to speak. The Hindu model describes Shiva coming down through the upper chakras as Shakti dances up from the lower as the kundalini serpent meeting cosmic light, and the Mer Ka Ba as the union of upward and downward pyramids, making a 3-D version of the Star of David, provides very similar associations of the merging of earth and heaven.
One response to the suggestion of various pictures for similar experiences might be to say, “It doesn’t matter.” However, it may be necessary to master at least one practice or system in order to have the mystical experience. The portals or contact points may be diverse, but to dispense with all of them leaves one out in the cold, unable to use faith as a tool.
Once one practice or system is mastered, it may be fun and expansive to visit others, to know that the sacred flame is much like the Atman, the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel or that the Anima Mundi is much like the Holy Spirit or Goddess. The magic sigil might be a pentagram, a cross, number, or sacred geometry. Perhaps those who walk the Dao share something cosmic with those who breath the Om or even with the western mystics who practice different styles of contemplation and prayer. A human “perspectivism” does not require that all approaches be identical but simply considers that all may have something to offer and that all may share some common ground.
Such thinking helps me enter and exit such cosmic vehicles as the Mer Ka Ba, but does nothing really to help me experience the transportation. To actually make the astral trip, I really need to access the models and images of the mystics. I find I need to walk through some gateway, open myself to some visitation, or ride some cosmic car.
In preparation for a workshop designed to help participants connect with the divine feminine, I purchased the Santa Muerta Tarot and in meditation resonated strongly with this archetype of death, affectionately known to her devotees as “the bony lady.” She drew me time and again deeply into ecstatic trance as I found myself chanting, “Santa Muerta, please walk with me today. La Santa Muetra, work with me, I pray.” For the first week, I did daily draws from the special tarot deck as well as a guided meditation and larger spread at the end of the week, all of which I recorded in the Reading Journals area of the Cartomancy Forum: https://cartomancy.forumotion.com/t15743-santa-muerte-tarot-journal (just register a user name and password).
I was also filled with powerful, benevolent waves of bliss as I read the opening chapters of Tomas Prower’s book, where he provides reflections on the background of this patron saint of sinners, bodisattva of darkness, or deity who draws drug dealers and sex workers, police officers and prison guards alike. She accepts all, for after all, all will eventually come to her who observes all sowing and reaping of karma, perhaps, from a place of nonduality. She might be understood as an aspect of the inner flame of Self, a face of the divine, or for some, a literal spiritual guide.
Santa Muerta is much beloved in both her black and red aspects, the latter being called upon in matters of love, sex, and passion, making her very popular. She is often sought after for protection and, being non-judgmental, is known for quick and powerful response to prayer and magic. I have posted my own altar working and tarot draw concerning love magic at the Cartomancy Forum.
I can personally testify that the presence of Santa Muerte seems to come strongly, deeply, and quickly. She seems to be attending my current initiation and crossroads experience along my spiritual path.
THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.
My “Dark Ritual” started and ended with Baphomet as I used Eliphas Levi’s image to set intention at the opening and as the archetypal energy came forward with Loki the following morning.
After vivid dreams in the night, ending in two Trickster visions of office trouble, I awoke with the strong, familiar vibrations and warmth of deity and my dog Shiloh pressing heavily against my back. The image of Baphomet, the name of the Devil, and the energy of Loki came forward as I allowed myself to submerge into the Black Flame of isolate intelligence.
In preparation for the dark ritual or “Black Mass,” I had listed some of the Baphomet’s symbols of blended opposites: 1. Animal hooves, horns and human hands, body 2. Female (Solve = dissolve) and male arms (Coagula = take form) 3. Waning and waxing moons 4. Caduceus of serpents on staff 5. Torch/right hand above and darkness/left hand below
The title “Black Mass” was used for the transgressive system shock, as it has been seized upon by popular culture for this purpose as well as by real Satanists, who use it more as public psychodrama rather than for real ceremonies or workings. The title indicates the ceremony is an inversion or parody of the Catholic Mass, the most sacred of services.
As for a true ritual of the left-hand path, I choose to consider a dark ceremony for the Self–not a public drama to awaken sleepers, not even an esoteric gathering for solidarity, but rather an individual working arising out of chaos. If others share in the energy, they must do so from their own sacred space, tapping in and connecting from afar. They may walk a path where no one goes, even if joining together in communion.
Some self affirmation: “Fuck those who say you must join their closed communion, fuck those who say you cannot join, and fuck those who say you cannot have multiple belonging or blending of paths. Fuck the mainstream religions, and fuck those opposed to the mainstream religions. Fuck those who say you must submit, and fuck those who say you cannot submit. Fuck the right-hand path, and fuck the left-hand path. I go off road! I take off the training wheels and ride the bicycle! I kick out the ladder and climb the tree!”
Opening: Tool’s “Eulogy” or “Heaven on their Minds” from JCSS. (Choose a song that helps you feel liberated, breaking from traditions or forms which no longer serve you personally.)
Invocation: Call out to your Higher Self or Holy Guardian Angel. Light a candle and/or incense. Cast a circle or by Will alone create sacred space. Invite invasion from/submersion in Isolate Intelligence or Lucifer and Lilith or Prince of Darkness or Set or Om/Dao/All/Nothing. Set up or draw a transgressive symbol that shocks, repels, or thrills your psyche.
“Liturgy”: Focus on some written words, perhaps from your own past journals. I will choose something not from a revealed text of One True Way but off the “profane,” secular bookshelves of the library.
MY spirit to yours dear brother, Do not mind because many sounding your name do not understand you, I do not sound your name, but I understand you, I specify you with joy O my comrade to salute you, and to salute those who are with you, before and since, and those to come also, That we all labor together transmitting the same charge and succession, We few equals indifferent of lands, indifferent of times, We, enclosers of all continents, all castes, allowers of all theologies, Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of men, We walk silent among disputes and assertions, but reject not the disputers nor any thing that is asserted, We hear the bawling and din, we are reach’d at by divisions, jealousies, recriminations on every side, They close peremptorily upon us to surround us, my comrade, Yet we walk unheld, free, the whole earth over, journeying up and down till we make our ineffaceable mark upon time and the diverse eras, Till we saturate time and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers as we are.
I drew the first Major Arcana card to appear in my Thoth Tarot deck. My Book of Thoth fell open to the beautiful description of the Wheel, from which I took note of several items: Crowley envisioned an emerald serpent encircling a bright, scarlet heart–which I interpreted as the ouroboros of time and space cycling eternally around the Source and Self of Becoming. The scarlet of the heart reminds me of the holy grail of strength held aloft by the Scarlet Woman Babalon on the Lust card from the Thoth Tarot. I call the heart Source and Self, for Brahman/Atman or Great Work/Alchemical Egg only pose puzzles (the chicken or the egg first? left or right hand path?) in the dualism outside of the hub. Crowley himself writes near the end of the description that Shiva dances joyously at center, but upon leaving the perspective of the rim, Shiva is seen to be at rest with all else moving around him.
The most important segment is the one I can write least on, for dark liturgy (written or recorded practice) may be free form, but dark ritual must be entirely free. In the psychodrama of “Black Mass,” the actual wafer and wine from the Catholic service were desecrated; however, this kind of acting out will not signify meaningful liberation for every individual. As for me, I will probably tear a page from my Protestant Bible–such as the Ten Commandments that represented the old covenant–and then desecrate it with reversed pentagram, profane words, and images, before burning it in a cauldron: hence the “bread of the word” will become the dead-ash end of the ouroboros’s tail; for the wine, a drop of my own blood added to the ash may represent sacrifice of self to Self rather than an external, physical sacrifice of animal or savior. I include my own infernal alchemy, adding a little idolatry to “give it to the man,” break with tradition, or otherwise experience liberation in ritual. I may close with further song, meditation or journal writing. To each her own abhorrent, transgressive thrill of cutting cords, of breaking free.
Some may question the antinomian burning of “the letter of the law.” However, the commands in stone deal death to willing love from the heart by ordering outward compliance. The heavy-handed use of Law by the ancients displaced the usefulness of agreements between willing hearts (harmony) and high ideals of good principles. I will not go through every command to show, for example, how “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” nor how situational ethics are needed (boundaries to abuse, just war, polyamory, Robin-Hood activism, white lies, etc.). For the purpose of the dark ritual is not to provide yet another rabbinic interpretation but rather to break free from tradition that no longer serves, to join with–as Whitman writes–
“We few equals indifferent of lands, indifferent of times, We, enclosers of all continents, all castes, allowers of all theologies, Compassionaters, perceivers, rapport of [all humanity]…”
THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.
Much of my online posting–on forums, websites, YouTube–has been concerned with charting my spiritual path over the past four or five years. I have come a long way, recently formally distancing myself from Christian community as well as experimenting with practices of the Left-Hand Path (LHP). In this blog post, dedicated to the online coven that I have joined, I once again review where I have come from and what I am seeing now.
In the first two or three years, I began reading tarot, doing yoga, and practicing meditation. I gradually worked in chanting, even getting some meditation beads and trying guided meditations. These were baby steps away from exoteric religion as I started by “taking all things captive to Christ” (trying more and more of the “all things”) and moved to an inclusive, blended Christianity and finally to an all-inclusive mysticism, stepping back from the church entirely. In my desire to include all paths, I have begun engaging with the LHP.
My tarot birth date cards for the last three years correspond well with my encounters on the LHP, starting with the Temperance card for 2019, when I still often identified as an inclusive Christian mystic, but began some serious spiritual off-roading by receiving monthly tarot readings from a priestess and medium, who identified as a follower of the LHP. With this counsel and encouragement, I began working with dark deity such as Odin and Loki. I investigated a reiki group at a Unity Center in town, took courses at an Irish pagan school, and researched some other groups, but–along with my desire to be all-inclusive–I did not want to leave one camp just to join another. Some of the pagan groups seemed to be just as dogmatic as the Christian groups.
My birth date card for 2020 seems appropriate for the deeper dabbles I have made into esoteric practices. To my monthly readings from the medium, I joined an online coven and added monthly readings from the leader, Jessi Huntenburg. To my altar work, I added rituals and magickal workings. I overcame stigmas to the pentagram, to Crowley and the Thoth Tarot as well as to working with Lucifer and Lilith. Finally, having stepped back from the church formally, I began researching truly LHP groups such as the Temple of Set and–at the recommendation of a new but very close friend–began reading Uncle Setnakt’s Essential Guide to the Left Hand Path, which has dispelled some of the stereotypes and prejudices surrounding the LHP.
Over these past few years, each milestone seems to accompany a discussion with my wife Kristin, as well it should, and this Blue Moon falling on Halloween of 2020 has provided the most dramatic one yet. Kristin had seen my order for the Uncle Setnakt book on Amazon and had looked up the LHP on Wikipedia. She introduced the topic by saying she was very scared, as much as if I had come home with heroine. Her first question was whether the beliefs exalted self “to the exclusion of all else”; I was able to tell her only immature versions sunk to the level of teenage rebellion and harmful “self interest” that does not really serve the highest self. She was concerned about “occult practices,” which I evaded as she means things that still have a stigma, although we have progressively accepted Harry Potter, yoga, tarot, tattoos, and pentagrams, and I think her real concern is the associations with evil and decadence. I assured her that I am still me and love her and our children above all else.
My birth date card for 2021 is the Tower, and as Jessi Huntenburg commented at an online coven meeting, it seems I will be dismantling and building at the same time. I seem to have passed through the fear and stigma by gaining Temperance. This year I have been experiencing the thrill of new beginnings and the Devil-may-care excitement of personal liberty. As the old structures are coming down, however, I may find myself putting in place new principles and disciplines. I do want to establish a mindset that (1) is all-inclusive, (2) has a respect for the past and current group ethos, (3) seeks dissent and individual freedom, and (4) looks to progressive, continual enlightenment–not becoming a new dogma. In other words, the LHP has a piece of the puzzle but is not the new “salvation.”
In conclusion, what would really stick in the craw of some of us is if the mainstream religions turned out to be right about many things. Recently, Jessi Huntenburg produced a video on “Forbidden Fruit” that shamelessly discussed Lucifer and witchcraft together with Jesus as a radical, almost LHP prophet. She was able to discuss the story of Eden like any other myth–Norse, Greek, or Hindu–and avoid the toxicity of religion. It may take me through 2021 and beyond to do so myself, to get beyond my now reverse stigma, but I appreciate her good example. Rather than be RHP or LHP, perhaps I can be ambidextrous!
THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO THE BRAVE-AND-CURIOUS COVEN OF JESSI HUNTENBURG.
The place to begin is with the prejudice to these archetypes that arose from over 20 years as a mainstream Christian. I have written elsewhere about overcoming the stigma of tarot cards about five years ago. Even after being led towards yoga and goddess worship by the book Sophia Rising, I had a hard time understanding how the author could later expand to accept Lilith. I saw the Devil card in tarot only from the traditional Christian perspective, and although I would watch all of Abbey Normal’s YouTube videos where she channels archetypes, I would never click on the ones that mentioned Lucifer.
Over time, I found myself taking small steps of acceptance. I finally did click on a Lucifer video and saw that Abbey remained just as sweet as she was with Kuan Yin, Venus, or Merlin. I found myself working with dark deities such as Loki, Hecate and the Morrigan. Some time later, “Goat Girl” subscribed to my own YouTube channel, but I had to overcome a mental block to subscribe to her in kind because I saw she had tarot readings from Father Lucifer.
My big breakthrough came recently as I had a reading done on the Devil card, which had shown up as my birth date card for 2020. I had already studied up and saw that the card can simply represent primal creative power or deities such as Pan, Dionysus, or the Green Man and had learned that most pagans do not interpret Lucifer as the malevolent monster of mainstream religion and popular culture. So when Lilith and Lucifer “came forward” as the priestess did the reading, I was open and accepting.
Soon after, in meditation, I had an intense mystical experience with Lucifer and Lilith, accompanied by adrenaline, bio-electricity, ASMR as well as waves of submission and sensuality. I heard crow caws in the middle distance, as though the Morrigan, who I had been focused on for many months, were stepping back and confirming all was well. I have felt led to several websites (such as Metaphysicality Inc.) and TV shows–for example, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina–dealing with Lucifer and Lilith: it seems to be a season to become saturated or at least familiar with this new deity.
There have been a few other developments recently. During both online readings for August that I received from two different priestesses, thunderstorms were raging in the background. In further breakthroughs during meditation, I felt a Tower-like fall of prejudice. I envisioned going to a crossroads where there were serpents and coming before a mountain where I saw a winged snail. I knew in my heart that the meaning was to be careful and go slow when flying in this new freedom. I have also had dreams of meeting and getting to know new people that seem symbolic of L & L. I saw a meaningful green light reflected from the bamboo plant on my altar, which also suggests for me the “go ahead” for flexible, steady growth.
At a ritual meeting with an online coven–to which this blog post is dedicated–I shared obliquely about my spiritual expansion, describing the serpents of the caduceus and ouroboros. So far two members have (probably unknowingly) confirmed my thoughts, one by immediately sharing about her serpent tattoo and the the other by later sharing with me the Hieroglyphical Monad image, which I may get as a tattoo. The latter symbol is an all encompassing image that gives me an understanding of how the All or Source can be reflected in diverse and misunderstood forms such as L & L.
In closing, if I do go to the crossroads to sell my soul, sign the book of the beast, join a deeper coven, or get a tattoo, I would want to have a contract in mind as a kind of protective measure, a prevention against giving away my power in an unhealthy way. I would ask L & L (1) to honor beliefs, paths, and agreements that have come before, (2) to consider my age and late stage in life, (3) to grant motivation, strength, gifting with continued intense, fruitful astral connection, (4) to be for the good of all, harming none, and (5) to be all-encompassing, inclusive, honoring of individual sovereignty, flexible, shifting, and ever-expanding. Such a covenant would grant freedom and ensure personal responsibility.
After a five-month process of feeling called by and bonding with the Morrigan, I felt my first encounter with a new deity as I ordered the Thoth Tarot deck and Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette. Meditating on a few of the cards, beginning with the Magician and Lust (Strength) was an overpowering and sensual experience.
About the time the deck and book arrived, on YouTube, I came across Lon Milo DuQuette’s introduction to Rosicrucian alchemy and the Thoth tarot. The intense experiences came before, during, and after the full moon around May 7, 2020.
Learning that Hermes is a friend of humans, trickster of the gods, messenger and magician, and carrier of the caduceus–among many other energies–I asked the Morrigan for three cards telling of my fellowship or relationship with Hermes-Thoth-Mercury. I received the Devil, the King of Cups, and Death. The cards speak to me of the lower chakras and dark, primal, creative force–sensual strength as divine longing or lust, of the maturity and spiritual authority to manage the experiences, and of an initiation through the Nigredo or black stage of dissolution in the alchemical process.
I asked Hermes for three cards depicting my relationship or fellowship with the Morrigan and received three court cards, highlighting the personification of deity: King of Disks, Princess of Cups, and Queen of Cups. He did not seem to object to bringing a message.
The Knight of Disks takes the place of the King in the Thoth system and is active earth or fire incarnate. The horse seems more interested in the crops than other kinds of quests or battles, and the sun and energy here is being drawn into the ground. This expression shows how I feel in the presence of the Morrigan, as though she is calling me to live out my spiritual expansion in the real world, to communicate what is in my heart, to practice and come before her daily. The Knight/King faces two court cards of the utmost feminine kind–reflecting the powerful divine feminine influence on the man.
The Princess of Cups in this system is earth of water or incarnate fluidity. The dolphin may be a physical form of Venus, and the turtle in its shell is a creature that lives in mud, a liminal mixture of earth and water. The flowing dress of the Princess is adorned with ice crystals, another solid form of water. The flight of the bird and lotus flower may likewise show the manifest energy of heart, the joy of grasping the divine feminine in this sprouting springtime of fulfillment.
At first I was perplexed by the appearance of the Queen of Cups–water of water–doubling and tripling down on the feminine aspects in the spread. Doesn’t the Morrigan contain air and fire power, the battle queen with a sword and the wise crone who carries crows? Yet she also appears as a goddess of sovereignty, marrying the King to the land–not so much a love goddess as a divine partner. In my case, the land may not be literal real estate so much as a cause, hope, or “promised land” of milk and honey for all faiths. She is also a prophetess, sorceress, poetess, and shape-shifting goddess–so the Queen of Cups as an almost personal High Priestess may be pertinent to the question. Water of water is like mirror of mirror, so the image is reflective, liminal, shape shifting.
In another spread from the Thoth tarot, in which I inquired about my experiences, I received the 5 of Cups, Lust, and the Ace of Cups. The 5 empty cups suggest the letting go of instant gratification for inner power and the flow of the grail. An online search turned up some words from tarotX.net: “water represents the heart’s love by the water ‘surging into eternity’. The cup is an affectionately open image rising from the white lotus, which looks like a fountain of the abyss and a cup of water filled with the water of life from within.
“In the opposite direction, the rays that are shining straight down from above symbolize the spirit of creativity when it passes through the ‘source of love’ and then binds to emerging water balls to create energy forward (background), rooted in collective unconsciousness and represents the desire for love to dedicate and to be in harmony with God.”
In meditation, I think I heard the words, “I am you.”