Princess of Cups

I recall being surrounded by darkness. Amidst the darkness I sensed the presence of something behind it, or perhaps within the darkness itself. I perceived my surroundings like one might see a dark liquid sublimating into a clear cold glass of water—only this was happening in reverse. I began to experience the liquid darkness pulling away from my senses like a cloudy curtain of ink, pulled back to reveal some lost and forgotten secret.

My first sensation was this unwieldy feeling of being poured into mySelf. Piece by piece my consciousness was arriving into a new place, in a new body, with a new purpose. Upload complete. I was lying on my back. I tried opening my eyes but I couldn’t. There was a frighteningly bright sky that encapsulated everything in a shower of aggressive light. I couldn’t get acclimated. It made me nauseous. I started to feel around to get some sense of where I was. There were many jagged, damp, and windswept rocks all around me. I smelled salt in the air. I heard waves crashing together. I was becoming uncomfortable. The rocks were digging into my everything. I made an effort to open my eyes again. I sat up. I scanned my surroundings—rocks, in every direction. In the distance I saw a vast blue ocean and a beach. Waves were crashing around everywhere like a mob of angry shoppers trying to dogpile their way into a door meant to accommodate two.

I turned around.

There was a man sitting casually on a large rock beside me. He was dressed unusually. Greens, reds, blues, whites, yellows. He had a large hat flapping in the wind beside him. He was eating a shiny red apple. He broke out into a huge smile as soon as I locked eyes with him.

“You!” He said sitting up from the rock. “Like to sleep!”

He appeared to be in his eighties. He was vibrant and alive though. Well-groomed and gentlemanly. He had a salt and pepper goatee that Robin Hood would be proud of, and a thick Spanish accent. This old man—he was a rogue.

He looked upwards towards the cloudy, bright sunless sky. He flicked his right hand outward like a rapidly blooming lotus.

“Time—is not a luxury. We go!” He put on the giant chapeau that was sitting next to him and came down off of the rock to help me up. I was still weak. He pointed his finger to a large house in the distance. “Is okay?” He asked furrowing his brow. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it. I nodded. “Yeah. I can make it.”

He smiled, clearly impressed with my resolve. We began to walk towards the house. I kept exchanging looks with the man trying to make sense of everything. His face seemed familiar. I couldn’t quite figure it out though. He shot another smile at me, “Hello, Nicole.”

Knee-co-Elle. That’s how he said my name. How did he even know my name? As we walked, I scanned him up and down again. Still nothing. I was getting tired. Negotiating the seaside terrain in a body I didn’t know how to use was difficult. The old man realized how tired I was getting and decided to stop for the evening. He casually gathered up some dry branches that littered the ground and arranged some rocks into a small fire pit.

As he lit the beach aflame, he turned his head slightly, “Just seeing fire—it makes you warm!”

It was getting dark. I curled up next to the crackling sound of embers and the sweet smell of burning wood. The fire’s touch defeated the chilly seaside breeze and I began to feel my body relax. He was right. Just seeing this fire—it made me feel warmer.

When I woke up, the morning began to slowly seep through the night sky. The fire was still going, and the man who started it, was still asleep, curled up comfortably in his colorful clothing. It was pretty clear that he stayed up most of the night to keep the fire going. I decided to let him sleep. I got up and gathered a few branches and tossed them onto the fire. I was tired again. I sat and watched the sun rise through my toes. Compared to the day before, I was much more aware of mySelf.

The man rolled over on his side. I could see his face through the fire. “Now I make you wait!” he said laughing. “I also like to sleep!”

I smiled. It felt new to smile. But smiling was hard.

The man sat up.

“I will explain to you a thing. Yesterday, you come to this place a vessel. Empty. A cloistered actress rehearsing her lines. But today—you will come to the stage.” He extended his hand out to me like a dashing Romeo without a plan. I took it trying hard not to smile. Just being around this man gave me energy.

We arrived at the house early in the afternoon. The front door was painted pearly white accented with a faux gold locking mechanism and handle. There wasn’t much to the door. It looked kind of cheap in a red Russian sort of way. It was lightweight and hollow.

The man stood before the door and opened it. A woosh of cold air came bursting forth out of the house. As he slowly pushed the door open, the house’s carpet was rubbing up against the door, dragging against the bottom of it like white noise.

“Here is your stage, princess of Cups. Today, we meet you.”

I entered. The old man followed. He closed the door behind us.

Inside, it was mostly quiet except for a nostalgic hum of a refrigerator in the kitchen. The closets in this house were all sliding doors with mirrors. There was a balcony leading outside which overlooked the ocean. Just past the kitchen there were rows of small washers and dryers. On my right there was a room with a single bunk bed. The house was abnormally sterile. I started to cry. This was my childhood home.

The man stood there and watched as I relived both the horrific and the beautiful. Memory. This man, he was right, what I was experiencing wasn’t a rehearsal. This was real. I felt weak and defeated. I needed some fresh air.

He put his hand on my right shoulder. “And now, the princess is a queen.”

He walked away from me and headed toward the balcony. He opened the door leading outside and beckoned me over to join him. I wiped away my tears and slowly made my way back outside.

The view from the balcony was spectacular. We were very high up above what appeared to be a Charybdis-type vortex, and in the distance sat the horizon, a cloudy, sunless sky, and endless endless blue.

He sat on the ledge of above the watery vortex and pulled something out of his pocket. Actually—he pulled three somethings. Three doubloons. He held one up for me to see. There was unreadable scribble on one side and on the other something far more grotesque.

“These coins—they are from a place, a place far from everything.”

He then spoke the name of the place “far from everything.” The word sounded like it was derived in an otherworldly language from some far-flung nebula. I didn’t understand the word other than the fact that it’s likely that this language made heavy use of glottal stops—perhaps to accommodate the abnormal physicality of a beast who’s mother tongue it belonged to.

“The old gods. You know them?”

“I know of them.” I replied.

“They are out there.” he motioned to the sky. “You will meet them. In the stars. You must meet every one.”

My skin started to crawl. I wasn’t ready for any of this.

“There comes a day when a princess becomes a queen. A queen becomes a knight. A knight, she understands what must be let go. That there is nothing lasting in this life. Everything must be let go, or always there will be sadness weighing very heavy on the heart. A knight—she understands this. And when she finally leaves to travel amongst the dangerous stars, she may be a fool. But she is a fool daring to let go of the everything. She alone can kiss the lips of failure and live to tell of it.”

We sat in silence for a few minutes listening to the ocean below. I felt relaxed. My eyes met with his. Again with the smiles.

“I want to give you something Miss Nicole. But first, you must be willing to leave behind this cup and become the fool.”

“Cup?” I asked.

The vortex was swirling violently below us.

He placed one of the alien doubloons onto the balcony. Clink. He smiled. “This, is your ticket to the stars. But only a fool would take it. So, you should—think it over.”

Just then, the old man began to lean back on the balcony’s ledge. I was sure that he was going hurl himself into the vortex, but instead he stood up.

“I have a question,” I asked. “If you have to be a fool to take one of these, and being a fool requires letting go, how do you have three of those coins?”

“That—is something I cannot tell you. What I can tell you is that you already have everything you need.”

He started to walk back inside the house.

I still couldn’t figure out who the man was. Until I finally did. My eyes started to well up.

“I am Paul Atreides.” I said.

The man stopped walking towards the door and started to laugh as if it had been five hundred years since he first heard that name. Paul Atreides. He turned to face me one last time, and said nothing. But I swore that I heard him whisper “I am too.”

Princess of Cups

A Martian on Mars

Had a neat dream last night.

I was in this warehouse full of bodies. It was freezing. Black and white tile floors.

I had a choice to choose a synthetic body to inhabit. Let’s call this synthetic body an “ideal vessel” for my consciousness. This huge silver machine clicked on and gazed directly into my everything. I remember a cold shift occur, and one moment I was standing in my old body, the next I was looking at it through a new pair of eyes. My old body fell to the floor in a lifeless pile and was swept away by this huge silver scraper into these blood gutters morphing it into a gory mess of hair, skin, and bones. It made me feel emotional watching this. Which is interesting because if I now occupied my ideal body who cares about the old one?

My first reading of this dream feels like trying to reconcile attachment to my old body in the same way I might be attached to an old house. It’s lived in, comfy, and I have memories of which I associate that thing with. Everything leaves, dies, goes away. Old bodies. New bodies. All temporary. The conintuum of the higher Self isn’t so easily explained. And despite being so far removed from my old body, I remembered what it was like before. Even though I held issue with my previous body I didn’t dislike it. I liked my old body despite its faults. Which means I’m capable of finding something positive out of what I perceived to be a shitty situation. Getting used to a shift, a change, something new, takes a lot of work and effort.

I enjoy the challenge of being in less than ideal situations. Conflict comes in all levels of the human experience, but are there any that seem less ideal or more difficult than others to successfully live through? I think no. Because no matter what type of existence I lead in a human sense, I will always perceive my own struggles as both the most difficult, important, and unique.

Language. I don’t speak a language even remotely similar to you. Translation: We are similar in that we both share differences.

There’s something to be said about feeling “foreign.” I will always be a foreigner. It’s part of the experience of human existence to feel like a stranger in a strange land. I’m a Martian wherever I go. Even on Mars.

Xeper through the mirror of the Self,

Adept Nikoletta Winters

A Martian on Mars

Poisonous Please

Sweet snowy rain

I hear you rumble–

Breathe upon me

Until the moon has failed

And shattered every heaven

Out of itself, out of herSelf

Until the moon has failed

And the fires of Her bleeding stop.

Covered fully, still covered

An eyeless wingless winged angel weeps

No process, devouring every clock.

I tear away at my scalp

Ripping out each hair together

Wrapped around my wrist

A halo and a rope

What does it take to let go?

Do I tear the hanged man away

From the caring or the apathy?

Or do I offer him

The poison of the pleased?

They used to say all the things to me

That hinged on early Victory.


Forget the old emanations.

Swirling above in hotel suites

Far above the stars.

Poisonous Please

The Wyrding Way

“He who knows (the Dao) does not (care to) speak (about it); he who is (ever ready to) speak about it does not know it. He (who knows it) will keep his mouth shut.” -Lao Tzu

There’s something to be said about what brings people to the point of joining the Temple of Set. Self-improvement, curiosity, material wealth, all could be possible answers. And honestly, I truly feel that the tools we have here are great at helping anyone willing to put in the work a new world filled with all three of those things. Is that all there really is though?

*Queues up some Peggy Lee*

The nature of objectivity, at least in my estimation, is that it’s incredibly fleeting. It’s extrinsic. It’s temporary. And that fact that all of this (*slaps hands on the floor, desk, my body*) is so temporary feels like motivation enough to live the best way that I can muster while I am pinned to this physical, temporary, and fragile reality. Death drives humanity. It’s a great unknown in the scope of everything we seem to think. To me, My big Truth lies NOT in objectivity. The ironic thing about death and the Lao Tzu quote starts with the opening line “he who knows does not speak.” It reminds me of one of William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell”:

“The dead body revenges not injuries.”

The dead understand the nature of death and yet they cannot speak about it because they have fallen away from all of this—they could also care less about the body they lived in their whole objective lives because there’s an illusory quality to objectivity that I feel is discounted by some of what the basic “fast and dirty” superficial and surface level LHP philosophy has to say regarding the “Truth.”

I know what you’re thinking….

“Nikoletta, would you call getting punched in the face an illusion?”

Speaking from experience, I’ve been punched in the face quite a bit, so I’ll offer my perspective to further clarify where I’m coming from:

No, getting punched in the face is not an illusion. Traumatic physical events can do real damage to the subjective, “real” Self. Especially so when I forget that I shouldn’t get too attached to my body since I’m not going to be in it for long. Getting punched in the face is also bad because it’s has the potential to physically damage the tool in which I use to expand my subjective Self—my objective body.

The terms subjective and objective are tossed around a lot, but they really boil down to what “is” and “isn’t.” And ultimately, in my cosmology, I’m trying to reconcile the usefulness of using either term. The lines of what is and what isn’t often seem to be flipped and interwoven much more than I initially thought. A lot of times, subjectivity seems much more real because damage done to it can’t be healed without a perspective shift. And that requires, at times, making conscious choices that our physical bodies will rebel against. That doesn’t mean denying the body pleasure. But rebellion isn’t as simple as wearing a short skirt even though your dad hates the idea. Rebellion, in my world, lies in the understanding that I can pull mySelf away from automatic behaviors that are comfortable (both physical and mental) through the adept manipulation of my subjective perceptions. Do you think Set slays Apep the same exact way every night? The slice to the jugular isn’t so exciting after you do it over and over again.

When I’m in doubt, I usually find it helpful to just take a good, hard, long look at my Pentagram of Set and muse over the implications that symbol has to my life—both superficially and on an entirely different level that doesn’t cross paths with that superficial objective illusion. Objectivity, has the potential to fool my true Self through the biologically driven ego (that is NOT the Self) into wanting to stay attached to the things that have defined me through the experience of being human. My NeterSelf isn’t concerned with all of this (*waves hands around*) but it/she/him can get caught up in the irrelevant if I give into the things I really don’t want, even though my body might. To quote Blake again—“He who restrains desire does so because his weak enough to be restrained.” I desire to be more than what I am. And if that means making an effort to exercise, and eat as clean as I can afford to, or confront my bad habits, I’m going to do that. Indulgence can go to the over the top extreme of the Duc in “120 Days of Sodom” aka the way of the Libertine, or you can indulge your higher Self in creating habits and lifestyle choices that will make you happier in the long run. Of course, these are all my interpretations.

We all need to create our own cosmology. The tools are all here to make that happen.

The “existence” of Set question is hard. It’s a disservice to mySelf to try and pin down what Set, is, wants, did, etc. All of that is hogwash created by my mind to try and justify the unknown in terms of what it means to be human. I don’t like thinking about Set as the one that gave me his “gift” because, to me, that notion alone is very un-Set like. Set isn’t an immovable mover. Set is the active springing of energy.


If I were to attempt to personify Set in a limited human sense I would say it like this:

Set is a neter of war, nightmares, conflict, storms, and all around assholery. He doesn’t have time to take pity on a bunch of hairless apes by giving them a gift. The only way that would occur is if those apes were like a giant red button and he just wanted to see what would happen should he press it. Set is chaotic neutral. He might save your life. He might also steal your car. He doesn’t want adherents—unlike other neter. The sha, or Set animal is allegedly imaginary. Imagination is weird. Set is weird. (Set is also Wryd). Humans also have the potential to be weird in the same way. Maybe that’s another reason why I’m here in the Temple of Set—to learn the Weirding (Wyrding) ways like any Self-respecting Bene Gesserit would….

Because, I mean, if we wanna get real serious here all the big life questions usually all circle back to Dune anyway…Star Wars ripped it off, so I guess it’s good enough for me to rip off as well. Of course I’m being facetious, but you should read Dune if you haven’t. Initiatory tools that are also entertainment are hard to resist recommending.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” -Paul Atreides, Dune

Xeper through the mirror of the Self.

The Wyrding Way

Remember When

Reanimate cognition

And bring yourSelf into new fire

Return to suffer

Without limbs! Without fever!

Climb out onto the dusty rings of Saturn

And reanimate cognition


Without limbs! Without fever!

There I heard the secret words:

“NOSTOS!” She whispered.

“ALGOS!” He cried.

Were the good times then?

If only I had known while I wasn’t living it.

Remember When

Advance Agent of Pestilence

I once discerned that Xeper

Was far from what it is

I started digging trenches

When my dirt came pouring in

Lady Liar, she lives in mirrors

When in fact

No pain can die

It was raining hard one evening in Bisbee

When ‘ole Beezlebub came on by…

All of my life,

My head’s a buzzin’

Screamin’ madness in my ear

What is Truth that’s not intrinsic—

But a brothel built on bricks of fear?

Everything is not enough.

Too much is none at all.

There my eyes began to leak

My frustrations drenched not dry.

My head’s a buzzin’ endlessly

Reminding me

That strength, once vibrant

Can one day fail

What’s a snake without a slither,

As he feeds upon his tail?

I tried on many wigs that day

In hopes of what I’d see

A look of dearth is all I found

Despite the black one suiting me

Who was this lawless princess here

Departing from my eyes?

Rejection smiled injury

There I caught her by surprise.

I tore mySelf away from that mask

I tried on exactly zero more

My green eyes moved to fuller reds

And ‘ole Bub stopped buzzing recklessly

This morning brought me realizations

Looming past me dark and tall

Everything is not enough,

Enough too much and not at all.

Advance Agent of Pestilence