The Rat Trap Working–A Journey through the Underworld

When I look back at my 32 years on this planet, I like to separate my time here into three different lives. My childhood–from the time I was a baby until the end of high school.  My young adulthood–the time in which I spent trying to figure out who I was. And lastly, the life I’m currently living. My current incarnation arose late last year after realizing that I was not only capable of becoming Adept, but that I actually had developed into one.

A couple weeks ago, I had a huge “a-ha moment” with regards to how I interact with people. Communicating has never been my strong suit. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that it’s become even more difficult to speak with others on a one to one level. The majority of this problem is grounded in the fact that amidst the confusion of my past lives, I chose to look inward and journey through the depths of the Underworld.

As of February 2017, I am surrounded on all sides by Tucson’s wall-to-wall corporate sprawls filled to the brim with white upper middle class suburbanites just looking to raise their families, punch the clock, and consume. Here, everything has novelty. Shitty black garbage bags with yellow ties. Shattered cavities of plastic and torn shiny paper. Smog and tumble weeds of blue solo cups and rusted nails. The sad loneliness of Panda Express in front of the television with the family on a Sunday evening.

“God’s not dead.” they say.

“God’s not dead!”

“Do you hear us?”

“God’s not dead!”

Yeah–okay. Whatever you say.

I’m living in the middle of an airborne toxic event. Suburban Tucson is a bad parody of a Don Delillo novel on expired LSD laced with bath salts. People here are just looking to live out their lives refusing to ask the tough questions that might change each and every one of them irrevocably.

“God’s not dead!” they scream, running away from the rabid black-toothed rats gnawing away at their insides.

“God’s not dead! HE’S NOT DEAD.”

It takes a lot of energy to ignore the ferocious biting of rats. They will rapidly tear away at everything you are or ever will be should you do nothing to stop their treacherous advance. Some of postmodernity’s favorite remedies for ignoring this pain come in many shapes and sizes, all beautifully packaged for your consumption. Amphetamines and antidepressants. Wild Turkey and Ambien. Subway punchcards and Starbucks. Bad movies and aspartame. Painkillers and suicide.

polyp_cartoon_still_not_happyDon’t get me wrong–if that’s the life you choose then so be it. Who am I to judge? My situation is unique to me. Just don’t expect me to refer to that type of life as an “enthralling state of existence”.

I vividly recall what rats gnawing away at me felt like. It was incessant and raw. As a young adult, I remember the rats of my childhood eating away at my insides. They reminded me that deep down I hurt. That I had no idea who I was. I needed to get away from them in order to heal the open sores they had caused. 

When I was little, my life was rigid, structured, and controlled. At times, I remember becoming paralyzed by anxiety in an effort to save face in the presence of my father. As I moved on into my next life as a young adult, I began to explore the possibilities of my new found freedom. Because I grew up in an environment of suppression, I found it incredibly easy to obsess over the things I could never do. My lifetime as a young adult was very short. It was a positive experience, but ultimately, met its end in a tragic death of my choosing.  

Classic Kung Fu revenge films and Westerns all share the same basic story structure. The main character begins living a decent or happy life. They then suffer through an intense tragedy. Usually this takes place in the form of their entire family being murdered. This sets into motion the protagonist’s need for a journey through wilderness and/or period of intense training away from society. They then return to society in an effort to just “get along.” Of course this never works out. There’s always a few bloody fight scenes along the way. In the climax, the main character almost always achieves deadly revenge against the person or force who caused their initial tragedy. Lastly, the credits start to roll, and we find the main character either walking off into the sunset alone or pulling a “remember the Alamo.”

I identify with movies like “Fist of Fury” and “The Grandmaster” because I have lived out the Kung Fu revenge trope before. Because I have lived through it, I understand that language.

My journey towards this understanding began when I was seventeen. I recorded an energetic demo tape with my brother and formed my first band. When I was eighteen, we were struck with young dumb luck and signed a record contract in the pre-MySpace era. At nineteen, I toured coast-to-coast across the United States. This may sound awesome, but life back then was far from perfect. The rats of my gender identity issues still gnawed away at me underneath it all, but I was able to ignore them because I was happy. At least I thought I was. After all, I was doing what I had always dreamed of–I was a professional musician. And that’s all I ever needed!

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It wasn’t though. In 2006 my band died from my inability to ignore the rats in my closet any longer. I had a life as a musician, but what use was it if I couldn’t live out that life as myself?

In the wake of losing what promised to be a flourishing career I decided to put an end to my life as a musician and instead tour the abyss in search of myself. It was time to figure out who I was and what I wanted out of life. And the only way to figure any of that out was to approach the tough questions only I could ask: “am I capable of walking away from it all?” and, “Could I build up a new life for myself starting from less than zero?”

Realizing Capability

The first step in the long journey towards yourself begins with the realization that you are capable of crossing that lake of fire. That you are capable of doing the things you set out to do. That you can reach the very bottom of Hell at the expense of everything else in your current life. Only you can decide if you can handle the unexpected calamities that will come with taking those first few steps into the Underworld. To become yourself, you must test your capabilities. And you must develop them through the trial of journey. Keep in mind that your destination certainly matters, but all of your meaningful life changing transformations come from the journey itself. This is why it’s incredibly difficult to express what Xeper is into words. Xeper is powerful because it is shrouded behind the walls of confusion and ambiguity. And to have any sort of relationship with Xeper, you must be willing to recognize the superficial nature of what it means to be you and work your way violently inward.

The most difficult aspect to journeying the Underworld has to do with the people you meet along the way. You will meet many. But most don’t even make it past the gates. That’s because they lack the realization of capability. Many people take two steps in and turn tail–they fear for what they might find underneath it all. Some brave souls will journey with you for a time. A few of these will try to distract you from getting to where you’re headed. Fewer still will even face some of the trials you may encounter along the way by your side. Eventually though, if you’re truly determined, you will leave every one of these people behind. Not because you’re better than them, but because they are physically and spiritually incapable of journeying farther. There’s a sad rule to traveling the Underworld–the deeper you go, the less company you’ll be able to keep. As you slowly make your way to the bottom, you even begin to speak an entirely different language than all of the people on the levels above you.

I spent nine years (2006-2015) traveling the Underworld of myself. A lot of times I felt as though I was in limbo, that I wasn’t making progress. But I learned to heed the signs along the way that indicated that I was indeed capable. My journey there was punctuated with a great deal of objective personal change. I transitioned. I went to University. I decided it wasn’t for me. I hit rock bottom. I found joy in performing. I got into car crashes. I ate a lot of ramen noodles. I got my first cavity. I discovered that I was still a musician. I had life changing surgery. I moved across the country. I joined the Temple of Set.

My time as a first degree in the Temple of Set wasn’t riddled with frustration. Instead, it felt like going home for the first time in my life. It helped me to emerge from the Underworld and confront profane life in the everyday. My first degree taught me that I could arrive to new solutions to old problems, and how to apprehend new problems before they grew out of my control.

Becoming Adept doesn’t come from merely accepting yourself for who you are. That’s part of it, but it goes much further. The Adept understands that she is always capable transforming herself into someone she can truly love. For me, I couldn’t have come to this realization without traveling the Underworld for nine years. And I wouldn’t have been able to Xeper as a result of this realization without learning how to make use of the languages I learned while traveling the abyss. I accomplished this by embracing consistency in my initiatory practices which allowed me to keep the rats away and the channels of my endeavors open and awake. Both journey and consistency are integral to the development of the would-be Adept.

The Rat-Trap Working (aka Journeying the Abyss)

By Adept Nikoletta Winters

The following is a long form GBM working that has many parts to it. It’s very important to make preparations beforehand in order to execute each part efficiently. The purpose of this working is to reaffirm your genuine wants requiring you to plan for their success in the long term.

We often start and stop many things. Starting an endeavor usually begins with intense enthusiasm, but without pursuing consistency, you will be incapable of taking it further. In order to see beyond the initial realm of impulse, you must be willing to complete the motion of journeying with your endeavors as a way to express authenticity of want. It’s easy to ask yourself what you desire. It’s hard to answer why you aren’t doing the things you want to do. You want to learn Russian right? Then why the fuck aren’t you doing it? Don’t say “I don’t know,” or attribute it to laziness, lack of time, or other adult responsibilities. Excuses like these, are rats. And you actively use them to ignore your potential. You create them on the surface level and eventually they attach themselves to your daemonic self. They hold you back from chasing after the things you want. This working is engineered to exact revenge on these rats, effectively “trapping them.” If this working is performed correctly, you will have begun the process of equipping yourself with a shiny pair of capable new eyes. If you feel yourself slipping away from the things you want due to the rats of depression, apathy, or exhaustion–plan a weekend around performing this. Over the course of this working, you will actively engage with immediate manifestations of your will. You will also set into motion energies in that will aid in rooting one or perhaps several wants/desires as a powerful source of Xeper in your life. This working will require you to communicate not only with yourself, but with people around you. It is separated into six phases modeled after the Kung Fu Revenge Western trope:

  1. Peace
  2. Tragedy
  3. Journeying the Abyss
  4. Reintegration
  5. Combat
  6. Isolation

During the course of each stage pay close attention to your surroundings, how you feel, who engages with you. The only catch is that you must complete the main working in a twenty-four hour period.

BEFORE you perform the main working, you must write your own Invocation of Set. You can model it after the Invocation in the Crystal Tablet if you lack a sense of creativity, but I would ask that you at least give it the good ‘ole college try to put your own personal touch to it. The ultimate purpose of this exercise is to make an invocation that is uniquely your own. You are taking this invocation on a journey and delivering it to yourself via consistent nightly recitations of it between two days of personal power. Hint: if you do it right before bed, you’ll experience vivid and sometimes horrific dreams. Don’t be scared–that’s just your magic letting you know that your doing the work.

For me, I situated nightly recitations of my invocation over a fifteen day period from February 10th to the 25th. Both are days of significant power for me. The tenth marks the anniversary of significant progression in my gender transition, and the twenty-fifth is my birthday.

The main working occurs on your second day of power. Begin the main working in the morning or early afternoon. Dress appropriately–you’re going to be headed out for the day after performing the “Peace” phase. You won’t return until you reach the “Isolation” phase.

At the end of each phase, recite the following encouraging words in reference to experiencing the stress of Hell, the Duat, or the Underworld: “My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

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I pulled this phrase from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Prayer to Persephone.” Persephone is the queen of the Underworld and also the goddess of growth in the spring. This is vital to the working as a king or queen of the Underworld will have certainly journeyed to its depths and gained forbidden knowledge of its hidden languages. Persephone’s second aspect, of growth in spring, is equally as vital to this working. It connects the idea of the new and intense enthusiasm we experience when we first pursue the things we want to do (spring) and being able to nurture them to maturity through consistent journey (growth).

1. Open the Gate – Ring Bell x9, recite your invocation of Set, call upon the elements, drink from the graal, etc.

Recite the following:

“There are days where the sun will hide, where peace has withered, where tragic death leaves a gaping hole. There are days where you will journey to the fiery pits, and to the ends of the Earth. There will be days where you will make a return in the spring, and leave again against frozen northern winds. There will be nights where you will seek revenge, and mornings where you’ve tasted it. There are days where the sun will hide, where peace has withered, where tragic death leaves a gaping hole.”

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

2. “Peace” – Engage with something that makes you feel peaceful and relaxed. Perform it until you feel at ease. Ten minutes is the ideal amount of time for this phase. For me, I chose my favorite guided meditation and did it.

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

3. “Tragedy” – Get out of the house. If you can, visit a place of significant tragedy in your life. Discuss tragedy with a perfect stranger. Talk with a loved one about the saddest day of their life. Any one of these things will work. Get to know what tragedy is in your own world.

For me, it’s when something goes away before it’s time.

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

4. “Journeying the Abyss” – Choose a place to go that makes you uncomfortable or uneasy. I’m not asking you to pull a John McClane and walk into a room full of terrorists, but I am asking you to visit a place that gives you a sense a danger that you cannot easily leave.

I chose to visit the Underworld by going to Bisbee’s “Copper Queen Mine.” In the case of an interesting synchronicity during the course of my working, I was randomly asked by our seventy year old guide to have a seat on the “sanitary cart” in the mine. The sanitary cart was a toilet for the miners of the Copper Queen mine and was known as the “shitter” or “throne.” For the rest of the tour, our guide kept referring to me as the Queen of the mine and asked me to pay him a visit in the future. He told me “I could come back and be Queen anytime.” This was mind-blowing to me! I literally became Queen of the Underworld while the gate was open on my working. Synchronicity? Yep. Laugh out loud funny? Hell yes, but you kinda had to be there.

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

5. “Reintegration” – The key to this phase is communication. Talk to people around you. Visibly display your Pentagram of Set if you feel adventurous. If someone is wearing or saying something that strongly connects with any of your sensibilities, make a comment or start a conversation with that person.

My big reintegration moment came when I came across a guy in Bisbee dressed head to toe like a steampunk. It was a pretty radmobile getup so I told him that I “liked his outfit.” He commented on my Pentagram of Set and showed me a red ring he was wearing that also had a pentagram on it. This was a cool little moment. I ended up running into him again across town. (I think he followed me). He gave me a business card this time. Turns out he was a local entertainer who performed nightly seances on the weekends. 

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

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6. “Combat” – Do something that requires you to learn a new language. Spend the afternoon learning a new skill, a new game, or dance routine. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but you do need to understand how to engage with your chosen language by the end of this phase.

I chose to learn how to play a complicated board game called “Eldritch Horror.” After I learned, I played a game of it with my significant other. We got our asses royally kicked by the Azathoth.

“My dear, my dear, it’s not so dreadful here.”

7. “Isolation” – For this phase return to your ritual chamber and perform a task that isolates yourself in such a way that you can completely focus on yourself inwardly. I chose a ten minute scanning body meditation.

At the end of the final phase, make a list of three endeavors you wish to pursue over the next month. You must consistently engage with these on a regular schedule throughout that time. Keep a daily record of this in your magical diary. At the end of the month, write about what you learned and how you feel about your time pursuing these endeavors.

In the spirit of consistency before you close out the working, recite your invocation of Set one final time.

Ring the bell nine times.

“SO IT IS DONE.”

ia_ia_azathoth

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rat Trap Working–A Journey through the Underworld

Attachment and Initiation—The Obsessive Struggle

The first thing I want to talk about is my current understanding of Xeper. The tried and true “Coming into Being,” and “Mindful Evolution” are great and wonderful, but it’s important for me to define Xeper in order to understand how I’ve applied it to my own initiation. This is tough, because in order define what Xeper is, I have to experience it first.

Initiation is hard. There are no supervisors to make sure that I’m doing right. I have to know what I’m doing while I’m doing it. I have to be honest with myself. I have to be heroic. I have to volunteer myself, to myself, for myself. Initiation is not about how big my ego is, it’s about the work I’m doing to make me into the “best me,” the best version of myself, and remembering that there will always be another “best me” to strive for, when I never get there.

5ouroboros_emblem
Initiation as the Ouroboros

How I define Xeper

Xeper – the adaptation of subtle self-awareness.

It’s the re-discovery of a thing you should know and then applying that recognition to a method of understanding to stimulate growth within the self.

I’m going to tell a story about something that happened to me rather recently. It’s about the obsessive struggle.

What is obsessive struggle?

Xeper. Cell division. Once. Twice. Three times. Where does it stop?

Experience. From here there is no return.

By my very nature I am an angry person. I usually wake up every morning around 3:45am and I’m on the road by 4:30am. I like routine. But when any little thing gets in the way of that routine, I flip out. If I can’t find my keys—I yell. If someone cuts me off on the way to work, I “what the fuck” all the way there. If someone knocks on my office door when I’m on a phone call—I lose my shit. I’ll always put on a nice face when I answer, but you can be sure that I’m annoyed at the prospect of having to get up from my desk for a stupid question and a stupid person.

I tend to keep to myself. My nose often buried in a book during my lunch breaks. I hardly speak. I’m even less inclined to say anything when I hear tall white men discuss their sometimes erotic sounding love for their lord and savior Jesus Christ. It’s a little bananas in Arizona. It really makes me miss New England—not the winters of course. I miss being within reach of more—how can you say, down to earth people? Lesbians looking off bridges. Theatre auditions. Chocolate peppermint brownies for lunch. When I moved to Arizona, I was all in, and now, I’m not so sure. I won’t be staying here for good. I have “big plans.” An endgame so to say. My day job? Merely a tool to get me to that point. I don’t have to work, but I like having my own money. Autonomy. A day job can do that. Going through the motions. Working in that small office is the least important thing in my life, by far. Although, I often find my time there to be somewhat magical. So, I keep to myself and observe the comings and goings of my workplace.

I had a co-worker in late December spread some pretty nasty rumors about me. I was kind of surprised. And even though I have anger issues—I’m well-mannered. I always have been. When I was made aware of this person talking shit to everyone in the building I felt like an attack had been carried out on my never ending obsessive struggle. I felt like everyone else knew something about me that I did not. This was a problem. It was a problem, because reminded me that my past was as real as the surgical scars I now wore. It reminded me of who I was. Who I really was. And that made me angry.

I spent the last ten years of my life in the obsessive struggle of making myself into something I physically couldn’t accommodate. Doctors. Psychologists. Magistrates telling me “no” I couldn’t change my name. Government offices. Airports. Universities. Professors. Surgeons.

Last February, I underwent twelve hours of surgery on my face to feminize it. I was born a male, but I underwent six different procedures to essentially reassign myself a face different than the one I was born with. The surgery included a forehead reconstruction, rhinoplasty, chinplasty, a trachea shave, mandibular reduction, and a lip lift. As my skull was quite masculine to begin with, I felt every procedure to be a necessary one. It hurt. A lot. And despite throwing up buckets of blood when I woke up, the surgery was a success. The changes brought about by this immensely invasive trip to the doctor’s office made my life much easier to deal with. I can’t begin to tell you, what a delight it’s been to feel a little more comfortable in my own skin.

fffs

 

A co-worker came into my office one day late in December and told me some disappointing information.

“Do you know Hooker Bitch?”
“Can’t say that I do.” I said.
“You know that chick who has the grandma hair?”
“Oh yeah…” I laughed.
“She’s been telling people that you were born a man.”

I was so pissed off that I couldn’t see straight. My focus narrowed. After work I went to the Fourth Avenue street fair with my fiancé. Smiling faces. Pinball machines. People asking me to sign petitions to legalize everything. I should’ve been having a good time. But, the only thing on my mind was getting revenge against this person for blowing my cover. I needed to weigh in on the alternatives.

Let’s take a step back.

I had been through too much to let this hooker-bitch bother me. And yet I did.

I felt compromised. The obsessive struggle somehow invalidated.

I considered several alternatives in dealing with the situation.

1. I could openly confront her about it.
2. Go to HR. Yeah right—they never help with anything.
3. Find a new job.
4. Do a destruction working against her.

“I’m a black magician,” I thought. “Let’s toss some lightning bolts around.” And so I did a pretty nasty destruction working. Three weeks later, this girl was on leave of absence for some kind of illness she had developed out of thin air.

Mission accomplished…

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Hooker-Bitch started a witch hunt against an actual witch. And that pissed me off. She embodied everything I hated about the Christian rednecks here in Arizona, and I wanted to see her suffer for talking shit.

Let’s get real here for a minute. Destruction workings are too easy. Why? I mean, would I be willing to pull the trigger on someone instead of doing a destruction working if I could get away with it? The answer? Always no. That would mean destroying myself. I would be put away for life–or worse. Totally. Not. Worth it.

Hooker-Bitch wasn’t worth the expenditure of energy. Knowing this–the real question is: why did I commit to doing a destruction working against this person if I wouldn’t even be capable of picking up a gun, let alone pulling the trigger?

Why did I do it?

The answer is simple, but not so simple. I wanted to feel powerful. Although, there was another aspect to this that I was overlooking.

Was I understanding myself? What was the driving force behind my lust to feel powerful?

If I wasn’t going to ask the tough questions then nobody would.

I wasn’t confronting something. Something important. My problems weren’t with Ms. Hooker-Bitch. That was obvious. As far as I knew I outed myself. My name is plastered all over Google in LBGT related topics and interviews from when I lived in New England. I mean really–how far could I run away from the facts?

At this point in the game, I still wasn’t understanding the problem.

desert2

In Tucson, we are surrounded by the Sonoran Desert. When I need to mentally digest something, my fiancé and I hop into the car, find a trail-head, park, and we start walking. I like the desert for the silence. I can hear myself think when I’m there.

During one of my many walks following this incident, I felt bothered and confused by the results of my destruction working. Not because of what happened to my target—but because I couldn’t justify wasting my energy like that no matter how many ways I tried to look for a good reason.

A quote from MindStar:

“As Plato illustrated in the Meno, the underlying basis of all knowledge – the primal building-blocks upon which learning and reasoning depend on their accuracy and coherence – are inherent to each incarnate intelligence: anamnesis – “recollective awareness of the neteru/Forms.” In non-metaphysical terms, humans know “instinctively” whether they are thinking reasonably and without validity.”  (Aquino 72)

You see, I did the destruction working when my feelings were on auto-pilot. And by auto-pilot, I mean, even though my anger was directed at this person during the course of my working, I did the working without awareness. All I cared about was doing something that would make me feel strong and powerful.

I did the working on impulse. With emotion. It takes a titanic effort to see things from the outsides of ourselves. It takes patience and self-love. It takes compassion. And a lot writing in our journals. At the moment in which I was at my lowest, I chose to act. And I chose poorly—I compromised my ethics. My values. I forgot to pay myself before I paid everyone else. I instinctively knew that I wasn’t thinking reasonably or with validity. I just chose not to see it.

Addicted to Water

I had to dig deeper. I had to continue to ask why. The ancient Egyptian spell for crossing the desert. I always think about this when I visit the trail-heads outside of Tucson.

Ipsissimus Webb writes:

“The spell [for crossing the desert] is not intended for illustrative purposes, although it does illustrate the myth of Creation. It was an operative spell for survival across the expanse of the desert. This is an interesting moment. You are leaving behind the Known and are entering the Unknown. The Known is the divine land of Khem, before you the Unknown desert with its mirages, bandits, scorpions, sandstorms, etc. Beyond that are the foreign lands ruled by Set. What do you say as a charm? Not a prayer to Set, whose lands you were entering. Not a prayer to the familiar gods of Egypt. No, a statement of one’s Coming Into Being as the Creator. Now why would this be protective? Or more to the point, what was being protected?

The answer is that it is not protective of the body. It’s not a prayer for rain, nor a cantrip for food, nor a conjuration against desert brigands. It is for the soul. The smart traveler has already taken care of the body’s needs in the proper realm. They’ve stored food and water; they’ve sharpened their swords. But now they pause — at the edge of the Unknown — to strengthen their mind/soul. They are going into a realm where they may lose their purpose– even die in a distracted manner. What better time than using the urgency of an upcoming struggle to Work for the immortalization of the mind/soul?”

The obsessive struggle. A foreigner in an unknown land? Me? I was from New England. Arizona made me uneasy. Call it peaceful hostility. The years I spent becoming the person I am today. Preparing myself for the unknown desert. My sword—sharpened. I was angry at Hooker-Bitch because I forgot the first reason I started this unending journey through the desert of myself in the first place. I was putting too much, far too much, emotional currency on my physical self as opposed to remembering who I was at the core.

Anamnesis. First forms. Neteru.

As I walked through the desert with my fiance, he said a word that reminded me of something Immortan Joe said from Mad Max: Fury Road:

“Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you and you will resent its absence.”

The one word he said to me was: “Attachment.”

I was addicted to water. What do I mean by this? The destruction working was a waste of resources. I became fixated on the things that caused me to be angry because I didn’t fully understand how to apply the situation to a method of understanding. Let’s get real—at the time, I didn’t want to. My problem was that I was constantly looking for validation of what I was physically instead of just knowing it for myself. I was attached to my body. I was attached to time. To my youth. To my past. All of these ever slipping through my hands like sand in an hourglass. I set myself up to be hurt. And I was put into a corner. I reacted on impulse without rationalization. I forgot my ethics. And more importantly I forgot myself. I was angry because I began to resent water’s absence. Ten years of work, come and gone. I had to let go. I had to stop being addicted to the past that made me who I was, and start living in the present in order to continue pulling myself forward towards the unknown matrix of the future. Change—is scary.

Attachment is the root. It is entropy. Attachment is fear. I should’ve known this. I had just forgotten.

My reactionary, impulsive, use of a destruction ritual was a Remanifestion of a negative pattern. It’s likely that I’ll do it again. But it’s also less likely that I won’t. Why? I have this experience to draw from. To actively change the course of the future. It’s here where I will stimulate growth within myself with the subtle self awareness to KNOW how I naturally want to react in situations like this. My capriciousness isn’t a newly discovered weakness. I had just forgot about it. Through this ordeal, I have come to recognize that it is there, and that it is mine.

Conclusion

The obsessive struggle. Why does it have to be obsessive? That only means that I am attached. And attachment? Attachment means standing still. That I want to stand still. Do I really?

Goethe wrote that:

“Until you discover and accept yourself fully, you won’t have the conviction or the courage to be free. As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

How do you learn to know yourself? You remember who you are. You remember what you need. You keep asking why, even when you don’t want to. To become, you must overcome.

Some logic.

If standing still means being destroyed when things change, when routine is broken, when water becomes scarce then I want nothing to do with it. It’s perfectly okay to be angry. Everyone gets angry. What is not okay is to become attached to things that cause that anger. Attachment is misery. It’s so very easy to destroy. It’s easy to stay addicted to water as we cross the deserts of ourselves, even if we know that that water is poisoned. What’s difficult is to build. To be the creator. To not mind matter, but to mind the self. That’s how you cross the desert and learn to finally live.

Attachment and Initiation—The Obsessive Struggle

The Year L Review: Self-Discipline as Heroism

It’s been quite the year. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that I’m still writing on this blog. I’ve started and stopped so many blogs and websites over the years that I find it hard to believe I’ve actually stuck with it for an entire year. We’ll see if I make it through another one! Self-discipline is heroic!

(Below is my victory dance)!

I figured today would be as good as any to write out a list of some of the awesome shit I did this year. To be honest, I would say this was probably the most memorable year of my life, and here I thought 2012 was the pinnacle! It just goes to show you how surprising life can be.

  1. I read more books this year than I’ve read any other year of my life. A few of the highlights include: Harry Browne’s “How I Became Free in an Unfree World,” Anton LaVey’s “The Compleat Witch,” Taylor Ellwood’s “Pop Culture Magick,” and Ouspensky’s “The Psychology of Man’s Evolution.”
  2. I got into listening to podcasts. I fucking love Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. His World War I podcast is a masterpiece. Radiolab’s podcasts are short and sweet, and packed full of interesting conversation starters. Joe Rogan’s podcast is interesting too–but that’s a sometimes food.
  3. I traveled to Spain. Beautiful country. I want to live there! Marbella is basically one of my favorite spots in the universe.
  4. I had a crazy twelve hour surgical procedure on my skull to soften it up in order to become more passable as a woman. So far, so good!
  5. I moved from the east coast to the west coast. West coast best coast!
  6. Traveled all over the U.S. Spent a fuckload of time in Dallas Airport. I would say it became my second home this year.
  7. Went to South Carolina in a hurricane, with floods everywhere. That was fun. And underwhelming. Ain’t nothing but a thing!
  8. Played a lot of different games this year. My favorites include: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fallout 4, Wonder Project J2, Knuckles Chaotix, and Magician Lord.
  9. While we’re on the video game subject we setup the ultimate retro setup in my self-improvement chamber. We have everything! NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, 32X, Sega Saturn, N64, PSX, PS2, Dreamcast etc. It’s pretty awesome having access to every old school game that we grew up with.
  10. I released an album and an EP amidst all the crazy that was 2015: http://gothicelectric.bandcamp.com http://starseatworlds.bandcamp.com
  11. I got a drum set! Fuck yeahhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s about time. Now I can truly be a one woman band!
  12. I started doing karaoke regularly.
  13. I started watching anime, and loving it. Some of my favorites from this year were Shimoneta, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, and One Punch Man.
  14. I finally watched Neon Genesis Evangelion. I also started watching Ranma 1/2. Needless to say I’m in love.
  15. I journaled more than I ever have this year. I’m a badass note taker. No, you can’t copy off of my notes!
  16. I finally got my own place that wasn’t shared with roommates. Am I sovereign yet mom?
  17. I finally got around to watching Game of Thrones. The Red Wedding was pretty awesome, the Purple Wedding was even better. Arya Stark is my favorite!
  18. Learned a lot more Japanese than I did last year. I’m doing this very casually. I could probably be a little more heroic about learning it faster.
  19. I cut out Facebook from my life. This wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.
  20. I turned thirty. Thirty is a club. For those of you still in your twenties you’ll see what I mean when you get your membership card in the mail.
  21. I got a brand new kitten. She’s wonderful in every single way!

lursydrum

The Year L Review: Self-Discipline as Heroism

The Intent Funnel: Practical Typhonian Magic for the Practical Typhonian

Back in 2011 I had a really tough choice to make. It was a little after a year since I rebounded from rock bottom. The year before I was so broke that I almost prostituted myself in order to pay for tuition to one of the many expensive New England universities. As my bills closed in all around me, I desperately started applying for jobs everywhere. Somehow, by some immense luck I was hired to work the world’s shittiest retail job. This job wasn’t glamorous or fun by any means, but it paid the bills. By the end of 2011 I decided that I had a choice:

1. Finish my school and be more in debt than I could ever hope to pay back with the English degree I was going for.

or

2. Buckle up and work my ass off in order to work towards paying for facial feminization.

I chose to buckle up.

Fast forward to 2015, it was a solid choice that paid off. I’m always worried that I’m a goddamn quitter, but I suppose that’s not an accurate observation of myself. I’m just not a multi-tasker—because who believes in that bullshit phenomena? I had the foresight to understand the needs of my big SELF and ran with it. If I had decided to go the school route I probably would’ve ended up quitting eventually anyway.

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During this four year period, I read absolutely nothing. Unless you count Kotaku, but let’s get real, Kotaku doesn’t count. Reading Kotaku is more like reading a coloring book. I probably killed more brain cells reading it than if I had read nothing at all. Amidst all of this heavy mental lifting I ultimately decided in late 2014 that I needed something to rekindle my reading spirit. Enter Ipssismus Don Webb’s book “The Seven Faces of Darkness: Practical Typhonian Magic” (#2AG). I was drawn to this book for a few reasons:

1. Its scarcity. At the time there weren’t any reprints available for any of Ipsissmus Webb’s more popular Rûna-Raven books. It made me want to get a hold of it even more.

2. I had just finished marathoning American Horror Story: Coven. This show was rocket fuel for me.  It definitely inspired me to investigate the Left Hand Path moreso than I had done in the past.

3. At the time, I recently played Bayonetta 2 and replayed Bayonetta 1. As someone who once sang about dissecting angels in a Satanic Black Metal band I felt connected with Bayonetta on a visceral level. A witch that kicked angels asses? I could see myself doing that. What was the next best thing? Investigating the writings of Ipsissmus Webb of course! I can’t explain how that works into any kind of rational thought, but that’s how it went!

Initially, I decided against buying (#2AG) in light of the fact that it was going for almost $300 USD on Amazon. I found a really crappy PDF copy of this book online that I had to reformat. I eventually ended up buying physical copies of Ipsissimus Webb’s entire Rûna-Raven backlog from Lodestar after they were re-printed earlier this year (2015).

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As someone who knew absolutely nothing about traditional ceremonial magic “The Seven Faces of Darkness” proved to be an invaluable resource. If I could call (#2AG) anything I would call it a crash course in what it means to be a practical traveler upon the seemingly not-so-practical roads of the Left Hand Path initiate. The Left-Hand Path isn’t exactly the easiest thing to understand from the outside looking in. “Seven Faces” gave me a small taste on some of the more intricate aspects of a traditional magical system–Hermeticism, without overwhelming me with the drier details. Those drier details I found later in other books like Ipsissimus Flowers “Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Magical Papyrus of Abaris” (#3Y), and Franz Bardon’s “Initiation into Hermetics.”

I will admit, upon my first reading of “The Seven Faces of Darkness” I felt very confused about what I needed to take away from it. I found Chapter 6 on “Spells” to incredibly useless—at first. The selection of the PGM (Papyri Graecae Magicae) available in this chapter is home to some pretty heinous shit. The first time I read the words for the Coptic spell “Oil Spell for Sealing a Marriage with Hot Sex” I laughed a little bit. I couldn’t ever see myself using most of these spells within the context of how they were written. As I look back at them a year later, I see something different. I see examples–models which I can apply to my own workings.

As a former English major I take an interest in understanding context. Especially with details that might not be entirely apparent at first glance. For example, Dante’s “Inferno” can be interpreted as an allegory for the political conflict going on in Florence during the 14th century between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. Dante even puts people he actually knew in real life, like Filippo Argenti, in the poem.

(Incoming EXTREMELY loaded paragraphs…)

Of course, understanding the historical context of something seven hundred years old isn’t nearly as difficult as trying to ascertain the “assumed” to be second and third century contextual meanings of Hermeticism. I say assumed, because there are so many details we don’t know about Marsilio Ficino’s translation of the “Corpus Hermetica.” The “Corpus Hermetica” was “lost” during the middle ages but magically reappeared after the de Medici family acquired it somewhere in Byzantine.

Alchemy was in vogue during the Renaissance and much of the Ficino translation—appears to be biased towards the “lead to gold” obsession of the seventeenth century. Regardless, let’s assume his translation is based off of authentic texts used to compile the Hermetic Corpus. It’s still not first hand information. I would say it’s more like third or fourth hand information. Contextually, much of what we have from Ficino’s translation is through the lens of the seventeenth century alchemical philosophy and not from the entire perspective of the second century author(s) of the Hermetic Corpus.

canto 14 the inferno The Violent tortured in the rain of fire

Much of what the original authors of the PGMs were going for have been all but lost. Unless, of course, we take an educated guess as to what they were going for and applying that knowledge to what we know about Greek, Coptic, and Demotic traditions and languages.

Ipsissimus Webb writes, “Postmodern theories argues that magical language isn’t gibberish, but an appropriate form of discourse with another realm of existence.” (15) I appreciate the fact that he included a detailed analysis of three Hermetic workings in Chapter 2. It breaks down the seemingly confusing  spells as models for further assumed understanding of magical formulae. We can be apply this model to other Initiatory practices/traditions.

The PGM may seem especially dangerous to those unfamiliar with it, in light of the fact that we don’t necessarily understand the context of, or the exact precise meaning or pronunciations of words written down in these works. When we say words like “BOLCHOSÊTH” without any knowledge as to what that word means, what is that doing for us? For all we know when we say this word our subjective interaction with it might send an encoded message to ourselves that may cause some unintended consequence in our “world.” Though, this sort of superstitious Mickey Mouse bullshit sounds closer to a Right Hand Path contextual understanding of the PGM.

Herein lies the most interesting aspect to (#2AG). When does historical context become useless in terms of applying it to the use of magical technology?

Even after we begin to recognize simple formulaic words such as BOLCHOSÊTH as “Ba’al strikes Set” are we even pronouncing it correctly (BOLE-CHO-SEET)? For all we know this could be the wrong pronunciation of the word. We don’t know for sure! We’re two thousand years away from understanding the actual implied context of the words found in the PGM. For all we know pronouncing BOLCHOSÊTH as “BOLE-CHO-SEET” with a hard “T” sound at the end instead of a soft “TH” sound could make the word mean something entirely different.

For a more up to date example let’s look at the Japanese words for cute and scary:

Scary is kowai (怖い,こわい) . ko – why

psycho

Cute is kawaii (可愛い,かわいい) ka – wa – ii

cute

Notice senpai–that these words sound awfully similar to the Western ear. However, they mean the exact opposite thing in relationship to one another. One lazy delayed pronunciation of 可愛い (kawaii) might make your Japanese friends think your waifu is a scary bitch! Case in point, you used a word with the wrong pronunciation and it produced a different result than you anticipated.

For another example see “Army of Darkness” and Ash trying to say the words “klaatu barada nikto” correctly:

“WAIT A MINUTE. EVERYTHING’S COOL. I SAID THE WORDS. I DID!”

So why is all of this vital to our usage of ancient magical technology?

Well—the fact of the matter is, context isn’t all that important. Unless of course you’re using the PGMs or magical technology like it under the veil of superstition. Only then does context become everything. This why magical technology, in general, can be dangerous to use. If your subjective sense of self perceives a misalignment of context to be dangerous in the usage of magical technology then it will pose an actual danger to your subjective self.

Seeing beyond this, my biggest takeaway from (#3AG)  with regards to magic is that magic comes from you. It doesn’t come from saying ABLANATHANALBA sixteen times or from the trappings of the ritual chamber. Magic comes from you, and the only thing that is vitally important to its use is intent. Everything else is auxiliary to the usage of the PGM or other forms of magical technology. Understanding how to formulate more and more accurate forms of intent in the magical chamber is much like habit forming (think neuroplasticity)–it takes practice. Webb writes “The magician will (after practice) free him-or herself from the text, and as each successful immortalization of the soul occurs, the magician begins to act on a more and more divine level. For the advanced magician every act becomes a magical one. He or she is said to have become magic (heka) itself.” (39)

Acting on a “more and more divine level” screams to me as being able to form clearer and more clearer routes of concise and exact modes of intent in the magical chamber. We practice this “freeing” from the text as Ipsissimus Webb writes in order to get magic to do what we want it to do, which may not be what the authors’ of the original texts had intended for a working . “Each successful immortalization of the soul” or intent is accomplished by practicing this over and over again. Only when we truly “say what we mean and mean what we say” with regards to our intent in the usage of magical technology can we “become heka” itself.

intent
The Intent Funnel
I created a graph called “The Intent Funnel” to illustrate the various levels of effectiveness in terms of formulating an accurate intent for workings. You can chart intent on this graph based its specificity. The more specific the intent the better—obviously. The more vague, the easier it is to read anything as a possible result from your workings. I tend to think this is bad, especially in operative workings where you’re trying to accomplish a specific thing. A vague example of intent in an operative working would be “I want to be rich!” You didn’t say by what means you wanted to be rich, and you didn’t give yourself a time frame. You also didn’t even say what you wanted to be rich in. For all you know you could become rich in sorrow! Which is why this sounds like a vague mode of intent to me. That would be charted right at the very top of the graph.

intent2
Examples of Intent and where they chart on the funnel.
On the other hand, an example of a more specific mode of intent would sound something like this: “I want to go to Harvard to study astrophysics with Dr. Von Loki and graduate in 2019.” This would be charted closer to the bottom of the graph as it is much more specific than the first example.

To conclude, Intent is not wishing for something to happen. Intent is like a GPS, and magical technology is like the car. The destination is the result of a working. You may want to go down the road that might result in making you part of the nouveau-riche elite, but unless you program your GPS with precision, you might be taking the long way to get there.

The Intent Funnel: Practical Typhonian Magic for the Practical Typhonian

Keep Swimming

Excuse me while I do some thinking out loud.

I don’t often say this, but I’ve been sad lately. I don’t mean a depressive–“I want to kill myself” sadness. I’ve just been sad. This probably sounds like an entitled first worlder having the blues over her materialistic life. I could see that. I assure you that it isn’t. I would simply call it–indigestion to change. This year has been a lot to take in–a major surgery, a cross-country move, and a job change. It’s a lot to adjust to. You could say I traded my old life for a new one.

rising

Overall, life is better than it ever has been. I can’t complain. There is still something missing though. In some ways I can identify that that something is independence. I miss New England. There’s nothing quite like being able to walk in the woods alone in the late afternoon. The silence is deafening. Make no mistake, I’ve spent time investigating the desert. I can’t wait until Summer is over. I hear Autumn and Winter are definitely something else from what we have back in New England. I’m looking forward to having my first snowless winter in quite some time.

The skies around Tucson can be gorgeous. There’s something about being able to look up and being able to see the stars. It’s like opening your eyes for the first time. I’ve always lived in areas with a lot of light pollution, clouds–or both. It’s interesting to be able to finally see the stars. I’ve been missing this my entire life.

My musical endeavours could always be better. I’ve been learning a lot of new things from a production stand point, but I’m still having a hard time. I miss having creative people to jam with. I want to get into an actual studio again with an actual band. Being able to produce my own songs at home is great, but it’s extremely self-limiting. I like getting instant “no-bullshit” feedback about the music I write. The Internet isn’t good for that. Sure, you can get instant feedback–but it’s slathered head-to-toe with bullshit.

swimmingI’ve had to let go of a lot of things this year. I still think there are a lot of things I still need to let go of. It’s not enough to simply tread water. I need to jump in and keep swimming.

Keep Swimming

Safety, the Illusion — Change in Five Steps for the Self-Styled Doer

Here I detail five steps in working towards change. Looking to shake things up? Looking to get motivated? Then maybe you should try some of these strategies. I had a lot of fun writing this one.

1. Awareness

In the case of bad habits the first and most vital step is becoming aware of the things in our lives that we want to change. Most people are fully aware of their bad habits. Choosing to actually do something about the things we want to change, however, separates movers and shakers from the undeniably lazy. It’s easy to be aware of a problem you have. Even a lazy person knows what aspects of themselves they want to change. The difference is choice. The lazy individual chooses apathy when it comes to confronting change. It is required that a person plays an active part in confronting the problem they’ve become aware. Without this awareness it is impossible to begin the act of changing it.

Personal growth and previous triumph in solving life’s problems gives the effective individual the necessary tools to become efficient in dealing with this phase of solving a bad habit or a problem. Many, but not all individuals, cease to grow with respect to this awareness phase at an adolescent level of maturity. That is, Mom asks Johnny “what is wrong?” to which Johnny replies, “Nothing.” Johnny knows what’s wrong deep down. He either chooses not to confront his problem due to fear of being judged, fear of ineptitude, fear of the future…etc., etc. or deals with it by evaluating what is wrong and making an active choice to confront his anxieties and the dark unknown.

Don’t be Johnny. Grow up.

tumblr_n3n4myo0to1tt3ubdo1_5002. Evaluation & Honesty

The idea of having a confrontation with a bad habit suggests that overcoming fear of change plays a big part in the awareness process, but moreso in the evaluation of a problem. A person who has a disposition to create and cultivate change within themselves is able to confront fear directly because they are able to evaluate exactly how their bad habits are triggered. Why do we do the things we do? The first step in the evaluation process is finding the strength to be honest with yourself. As Søren Kierkegaard once wrote, “there are two ways to be fooled…one is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” It is easy to convince ourselves that our bad habits can be positive. If left unchecked and ignored, we take a back seat to our id monsters and choose to be less conscious to the negative aspects our problems may bring us. We must be honest with ourselves. We must have the personal fortitude to step outside of ourselves to question everything that surrounds our bad habits or problems. Without honesty, defeating the things within ourselves we want to change becomes an impossibility. Procrastination, self-inflicted sabotage, frustration, anger, and extreme depression are all results of personal dishonesty.

3. Dealing with Setbacks – Cultivating Motivation

The pre-programmed American was born for quitting. Quite often the biggest obstacle in overcoming a problem or bad habit is lack of positive foresight. People are predisposed for disappointment because we are programmed to expect immediate results for everything. The fork will indicate that a process of defeating a problem is undercooked, and yet many people will choose to remove our processes from the proverbial oven before they’ve been fully developed.

It is absolutely okay to want something now. The way you use that desire will determine how to deal with setbacks. We can choose to get frustrated when the things we want are far outside of our reach, or we can opt to use our desires as fuel for motivation. While powering through a process may be the inherent knee jerk reaction to getting a process to work, the best method to working on something is in short focused bursts. The best work occurs when we can aim our undivided attention in the direction of the things we need to make happen.

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Please look forward to it.

In addition to positive foresight we also must learn acceptance when dealing with setbacks. We must first grow to accept that some processes take large amounts of time to generate any progress. This is part of the process of change that we cannot control in an objective sense. Dealing with the passage of time is all perspective, especially when that time is, at face value–devoid of pleasure. Slowing down, taking in the details, and developing an autotelic sense of self-discovery within the subjective universe of yourself is a good first start in dealing with the prospect of acceptance of time. Without time, there is no personal growth. Without personal growth there is nothing positive to cultivate in the process of overcoming our problems.

There will be times when we have to do and redo the same process over hundreds of times without apparent progress. Accepting the possibility of this need allows us to to achieve greater understanding of ourselves and to the things that cause our setbacks. Eventually, learning to not make the same mistake twice in a row results in progression.

In order to deal with setbacks, we must recharge our motivations to act in order to positively move towards our goals. At times, we must accept that we will be incapable of overcoming distraction. We also must accept our limitations—we need to rest. Without rest it is easy to become burnt out which is toxic to maintaining our motivations.

We must be vigilant. What is our intent in cultivating change? Is that intent directly connected with the outcome of our eventual endgame?

4. Creating Change—Safety, the Illusion

Nothing ever worthwhile is ever easy. Sure, playing it safe gives us a certain level of comfort. But safety can result in stasis and stagnation. Being comfortable results in no progression. When it comes to change safety is a negative. Safety is easy, therefore it isn’t worthwhile.

I’m not saying that we must plunge headfirst without abandon into the all-encompassing darkness of the future in order to create change. Learning to anticipate our next step is a vital part of the process in creating change. Granted, we won’t always be able to anticipate our next steps, but we must temper ourselves in order to deal with the unexpected bumps in the road. We must be aware of our shortcomings. We must be able to evaluate ourselves with unfiltered honesty.

Everything we want lies on the other side of fear. Creating change is an active process that requires us to challenge ourselves to face the unknown aspects of our potential and tap into them. By thinking about changing something about ourselves, that begins the process to actualize it. Choosing whether or not to act on actualizing change is directly related in overcoming our anxieties and fears.

How do we know the change we are about to attempt will work or not? The worst that can occur is failure, in which we owe to ourselves to learn from our experiences and pick ourselves back up again to fight another day.

tumblr_ngarjtnDz31stu0tlo1_500There will always be quitters. There will always be people too lazy to change themselves. There will always be people who fail and choose to die in bleak deserts of their own self-doubt. Those people do not exist in our world. As self-styled doers we must not give into our inherent animal tendencies to wither away and die. We must active be aware that it is our responsibility to ourselves to move forward.

Change requires planning. It requires persistence to continue amidst opposition. It also requires the ability to set aside idiosyncratic cannibal propensities and obsessive counter intuitive behaviors. We do this in order to direct ourselves in a positive direction towards the change we wish to cultivate within our subjective universe. Change means pursuing moderation over excess. Finesse over brute force. Patience over frustration. Change involves the will and the ability to do. To bring our subjective desires into the continuity of the objective house which exists in the world outside of ourselves.

5. Understanding Change

When the resolution of our problems results in the development of new problems, we know that we have changed something in our world. When problems are solved, new ones will always arise. Without this, we would fall back into stagnation. A life without problems is no life at all. A stagnant, comfortable life is just that—one devoid of self-reflection. It is illusory, and non-existent. Without the prospect of personal growth, there is no prospect of a meaningful life.

Understand that when it comes to enacting positive change in your life safety is illusory. Safety is limitation. It will work against you every time. Don’t be fooled by your id monster into stasis and comfort. Work against your natural inclinations. Produce new self-created standards in which to live by. Force yourself to feel excellent–because when you consciously make a decision to confront your fears and enact change you will embody excellence.

fearliar

Safety, the Illusion — Change in Five Steps for the Self-Styled Doer

Charlotte Lips and the Smell of Mutation

Life is best when it’s ever-changing. Mutation smells wonderful. It makes me misty all over with the eyes of transformation. Charlotte lips. Bring out the self I never knew. She, the living energy that gives me a sense of “selfness” lies slightly below the heart. A cloud of darkness–she dictates my everything.

He is Leviathan. He is Set. She is Lilith. Babalon.

tumblr_njgjhxM9gA1unsh07o1_r3_540This week had regularity. It had the irregularity of chartreuse. Smiles. Emotions. Admiration and courage.

I can never bear children. Nor would I want to. I value my free time far too much. The last three weeks have awakened feelings inside of me I have never knew. It’s hard to resist smiling when a little one regards you with absolute joy. I’m learning to remember what it was like to see the appeal in otherworldly beauty. Am I exotic? Your children follow me with their eyes so you don’t have to.

Before, I was angry, and the questions never ceased. Did I ever belong? Darkness. Without abandon I ran into it. Cover every mirror. A thirty year nightmare. Awaken. Dirt drowns, lost within itself to funeral libations.

I remember when I was little. Beauty, so easily defined.

Reds–the framework. Black–the heart. Charlotte–the lips. Mutation–the self.

Charlotte Lips and the Smell of Mutation