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.”
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
Today, Dr. Michael Aquino released an interesting book–an “automobiography.” It’s entitled “Ghost Rides” and features a look back at some of the cars he came across during the adventure of his life. It features an introduction by horror author Don Webb. It can be found HERE.
The release of “Ghost Rides” has actually inspired me to write a car story of my own…here we go:
I have had cars come and go in my life, and there’s one in particular that will always “be the one” for me. My dad and I flew down to Atlanta when I was thirteen to pick up a car in northern Florida. When I first laid eyes upon this beauty of a car I knew that I would never look at another car the same way again. Behold the Camaro 1971 RS. The car needed a lot of work, not to mention a paint job (it was a vomit green color), but that didn’t matter. It was TOUGH. My dad and I drove this baby from Florida all the way back to the Northeast and along the way we had many adventures, including one evening where the power steering gave out and he had to muscle the muscle car into a gas station to figure out a solution. He went to find someone to talk to. I was left completely alone in the car, in the dark for sometime. My mind wandered into places a thirteen year old normally shouldn’t go, but I was acutely aware of problems I had with mySelf and began to speak to “Satan” openly about exactly where I wanted to be in twenty years. Some “deals” were struck, with what I would eventually reframe as my first conversation with my “NeterSelf.” This was 1997. What I said in that car and where I “drove” mySelf to in 2017 all lined up with what I said that night. And while I was far from the day where I would understand what Greater Black Magic even was, especially as a means to communicate with a part of mySelf far removed from the “world that is,” I regard this “apocryphal communication” as my first GBM working.
Within the mythology of mySelf this is the moment where my life began to get turned upside down on its head. All of this happened in the passenger seat of the sexiest car I’ve ever laid eyes on.
When we finally got home, my dad started to really work on the car a lot. He would lift weights like a beast and work on the car immediately after. I had the opportunity to help him on several occasions, even if that meant holding the light up for him to check the timing belt. My dad painted the Camaro “gun metal.” He rebuilt the engine. Completely redid the interior, black, black, black, no. 1. He put a blower in the car, and a cal induction hood on it. The car went through a total transformation, which also is quite apocryphal to me within the mythology of Me. I often wonder where I would be now if I hadn’t taken that initial “drive” on the highway of my higher Self. I digress.
My dad was planning on passing the car to me, but my parents started going through some rocky times after 9/11 and he ended up selling it to a collector in Washington state. I had a lot of good memories in the Camaro. My dad was a car nut the entire time he was around in my life and it was the one thing I always felt that I was able to bond with him on. There were certainly more muscle cars he rebuilt along the way, but our 1971 Camaro RS, was the last and most important car I’ve had the pleasure of “getting to know.”
One day, I want one my own…
Xeper through the (rearview) Mirror of the Self,
Adept Nikoletta Winters
My earliest memories hover around when I first experienced Self-awareness.
Like a cloudy dream, I remember sitting on the floor in my parents’ kitchen with a gallon of milk. I needed two hands to lift the milk out of the refrigerator. It was heavy. I put a cup down on the floor and tried lifting the gallon in order to pour it into the cup. I watched with a brief joy of the cup filling up and then the cup overflowed. Milk went everywhere. Imperfection.
I liked to dance myself silly in the living room. I would dance so hard I would give myself carpet burn on my knees and arms. I remember popping into our stereo system a clear cassette tape with James Brown’s “I Feel Good” on there. When the song was over I would get up and rewind it. I would dance and spin circles in unison to the trombones for hours.
Freedom has always tasted just like a good James Brown song. Tight, funky, far-flung, alone, and feeling good.
You can’t be big and small at the same time. You need to be the one.
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.
“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.
ALL OF THAT SAID…
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.