Latest Entries »

Broken, and how I manage.

So a new study just came out saying how mindfulness and meditation can make depression and anxiety Worse (  My immediate response is “well yeah, because they get all woo woo happy newage about it, they’re teaching it wrong”
Upon reflection I strongly suspect the people who have negative effects, discover they’ve just blown up the coping mechanisms they had unconsciously put in place, and discover they had been doing pretty good managing a far worse mental/emotional state than they thought they had.  Most of that, I would guess, is avoidance, and not thinking about it, and mindfulness introduces the “Don’t think about white elephants” problem, and lacking the mental and emotional tools, discipline, and experience, they get a headfull of white elephants, on a rampage  through their happy place.

(I’m sure some also encounter some spiritual elements they were unprepared for, but that’s another matter)

I’ve been meaning for a while to lay out an examination of my own struggle with mental health, and how I managed to mitigate (or at least survive) about 3 decades of severe, and at times debilitating depression, most of which went untreated, in hopes that the ways I found to cope with it might be helpful to someone else, particularly as they are not depression/anxiety specific.

(here is the obligatory note that I am not a medical professional,  I’m just some way out there wackadoo, telling a story of personal experience with mental illness, and how I handle it.  Mileage, may of course, vary.  It should be noted, and I am fierce on this point, all my observations and how I arrived at them are My Own.  Any points at which what I have to say aligns with anybody else’s “official” findings on the matter, I found them coming up from the back side of the proverbial mountain, as it were, and it was a hard climb with no handrails and no ropes and beyond a loving family and friends, by myself, in the dark, in a close quarters knife fight with a shadow that looked and sounded like me… I digress.)

Let us begin.
Not only do I have a family history of depression/weird mental health,  I’m Also non-neurotypical.    “Aspie as fuck”, autism spectrum, whatever you’d like to call that.
Around age 11, when the wonderful world of “kids being kids, the little weirdos”  starts turning to the social world of “You, weirdo, are Not acceptable” with increasing vehemence with each passing year until adulthood and beyond-  it is little wonder I had a rough go of things.  There were hard things before this, which I may examine at some point, but really, 11, is when I became miserable and stayed there, consistently, for the rest of my life.    Not to say there weren’t days or moments that were good- wonderful, even, but after that, dealing with life in general was Not a pleasant experience.
Some of that is my own perception, turned against itself, and corrupted mental and emotional data.  Some of it is that it’s Hard being a sensitive weirdo, who doesn’t fit in this world, isn’t good at it by the prescribed “Rules”, and doesn’t like it.
(some of that is non-neurotypical difficulty.  Some I know to be something *Other.  Add those to the malice of the “normal world” to anything that doesn’t quite fit right and goddamn, it’s a wonder I’m still Here)

Anyway-  Me, Depression, whether hardwired or situational (both, frankly) are just part of my reality experience for the vast majority of my life, and I Knew (or came to recognize), for the most part, I had No Valid Reason to be as miserable as I was for much of that.  At several points, life was functionally FINE, and no different than anyone else was dealing with no problem, so Obviously there had to be something wrong with Me, my perception, my mental/emotional response.    Sure, I could go into all the identified whys and wherefores. They’re subjective so it’s irrelevant. What did I DO about it to cope?

Ok, the point of this piece.

Between (I’m sorry family members) learning to cope with bad LSD trips by ignoring the obviously corrupted perceptional data and relying on what I knew to be true on a “normal day”, I could remove my Observational perspective from the experience, ignore the cop’s nose wandering round his face, and deal with the world from an observational perspective that was not, in fact, tripping my everloving balls off.  It was just getting bad sense data.
Which I then later equated to the corrupted perception experience of Depression, and thereby employed the same tactics of ignoring any mental/emotional data that did not line up with my general “Normal” state (which wasn’t happy, but also wasn’t full bore breakdown that sees EVERYTHING through a corrupted lens of negative perception)  ((another point of note- every trip while in the grips of severe depression is a bad trip.  I thought that “getting you and your roommate through a crushing existential despair” was just a part of how that went for quite some time.  I’ve had more “bad trips” than anyone I’ve heard of.  Severe Depression is just one of Those that doesn’t end in 8 hours or so.  The same coping mechanisms apply, for anybody who groks what I just said))

And, later, the movie “A Beautiful Mind”- wherein a Schizophrenic MIT professor manages to Think his way around schizophrenia and back to functional, While still having the experience- touched off one of those cascading revelations where a lot of dominoes fall at once and click into place.

With any adverse mental/emotional state- normal, abnormal, doesn’t matter, I find, you first have to be able to recognize you are IN one, or one is Imminent.  This requires an observational perspective on your experience as you live it.    We all have (I shouldn’t say all.  Many of us), inside, the person this experience is happening TO.   We have “Second Thoughts” we can think about thinking. And thus we don’t have to accept our Direct perception.

For instance- Say I know I’m tripping my nuts off.   I also know, that my experience of reality is different when I’m NOT tripping my nuts off- taking that knowledge as a baseline, I can then deduce that I have not, in fact, been eaten by the couch, that’s just corrupted data.
By the same token, with Depression which paints EVERYTHING in it’s most horrendous possible colors-  my mother who loves me more than anything, still does, and the perception that she hates me and all that I am can be chalked up to Corrupted Data.  Because my perceptional filters are fucked, I Know they’re fucked.  Same way you know that you ate a ten strip, and most of this shit ain’t real, you’re just trippin.  Any deviation from “Normal Reality” can be safely ignored, pretty much.   You roll with what you Knew to be true, Before you got fucked up.    You still get to Experience it all, same as you do a dream.  It doesn’t help much with that.  It just helps keep “Not fucked up You” in charge, and not acting or believing, poor assumptions based on corrupted data.

Next- Mindfulness and meditation.  If you have a known mental/emotional glitch, and you know how that manifests, you can keep an eye out for it, and forestall it before you’re too deep down that rabbit hole to not be able to see out of it.     When you’re IN the experience, it’s Hard to pull back and assess.  You can, if you’re good at mental/emotional control, and can think back behind the maelstrom of corrupted mental/emotional data and poor assumptions about it.    It’s far better to learn to keep an eye on your mental/emotional weather-  like there’s “You on a good day”?  You know what that is.  You have to stop that before it slides.   Also, if you become aware of your mental glitch triggers, you can, by actively paying attention to the situations you are IN, And your mental/emotional weather, either steel yourself to endure the coming difficulty, OR remove yourself from the situation Before it goes sideways and you lose your shit.
This takes paying attention, inside and out, so you know what’s going on and can react accordingly Before you’re in a hole.

Meditation- and I don’t mean whatever people say, I mean entering a state that STOPS whatever’s going on.   Stills those waters, so you can Think. That’s all we’re after.  Emotional response? Stop.  Breathe. Turn your attention away.  Now think.
Mental hamster wheel?  Stop.  Breathe. Turn your attention away.  Now think.
You have to… even if your usual mind thinks it makes sense, you have to stop it.
You, Thinking Person, have to remember what “Normal” is, and actively ignore all thoughts that are not That.   Chase it and you’re going down.
You have to Stop it, right or wrong.
You have to put a beast on a leash, and hang on for dear life till it calms down, and much like a beast on a leash, you have to keep a wary eye on it, for when you know it’s about to freak out, and do what you can to prevent it.

One trick I’ve used to great effect is viewing the manifestations of my depression as something imposed Upon me from the outside.  Like a literal assault by a Demon, who speaks in my own voice, inside my head- doesn’t matter if that’s the case or not, it’s a useful Symbol to wrap my head around.  The moment I recognize this is something happening TO me, rather than ME being fucked up, well, that gives my rational mind somewhere to stand and fight from.  Objective distance on the experience with which to critically assess it.
It doesn’t Stop the experience in all its hellishness by any means, it just gives me enough distance from it that I have thought Apart from the experience, and don’t have to accept it, or anything it says, as true or real.  It’s just a bad trip.
I’ve spent more than one long night, in the throes of suicidal depression, battling myself until I was too exhausted to get up off the floor to actually Do anything about it- which was a win.  I figured, if I could actually Do it, I still had will and energy enough to fight about it.   Good thing I’m a “defiant till the end and beyond” sort, I suppose, and will continue just for Spite, because “Fuck off demon in my head trying to kill me”.
(a close examination of exactly How your depression or other mental/emotional glitch manifests is vital to this.  Humility and honesty- much like the Professor would ask, and Listen to, someone he trusted to assess whether somebody new he met was really there or not- So too can we employ this same strategy with our other perceptions or interpretation of mental/emotional data.)

So to recap- what you need:

An Awareness of your mental/emotional glitch and the warning signs of it’s impending manifestation, or, having missed that, a recognition that you’re in the middle of it.

A means to Forestall an impending or ongoing unfavorable mental/emotional reaction- whether through mental control in the face of adverse stimuli, or ignoring all incoming mental/emotional data that lines up with the glitch.  (the “switch focus intentionally” aspect of meditation, to put yourself in control of the mental/emotional state, as much as you’re able, rather than the other way around.  Thinking, rather than Reactive) And Bailing if you have to- removing yourself from stimuli that you cannot handle, ASAP, preferably Before you lose it.

And the ability to think independently of an ongoing reality experience, where your perceptions- whether direct experience, or the assumptions you make about them- are corrupted by a known mental/emotional glitch.    You Can hold your ground till it passes.  I in no way mean to suggest it’s pleasant, or you won’t continue to experience it.  Just that you can gain enough of a grip on your own “Normal state” mind to understand what’s happening to you, and control your reactions to it with considered thought.

I know how easy it is to lose ourselves in there- depression, anxiety, manic episode, wild divergence from objective reality- it Can be done, if you know your mind, pay attention, and take action when it is going somewhere erroneous.  At least long enough to get somewhere safe that you can ride it out.

Find a point of stability, and cling to it like flotsam in a storm tossed sea.  Don’t give up, don’t lash out or believe what you think.  Hold to what you knew to be true before this.  The storm will pass eventually, and you’ll land on shore again.   You will be able to trust what your brain tells you about reality again, eventually.  For a while anyway.  You Can make it.  Recognizing what is happening to you makes you an active participant in the matter rather than a passenger or victim swept away in a deluge of madness.

It’s hard.  I know.  Hope this helps, and that it made sense.  Good luck.

Post Script: I kept my process vague, because How to engage these points are subjective to the individual.  WHAT you have to figure out how to do, I find, is more important to a general audience, than specific How To, as mine, probably, won’t quite work for you.
You have to know Your mind, Your glitch, Your stressors, and figure out Your way to forestall, stop, and redirect,  Your bit of flotsam to cling to till it passes.
The important things are Knowing what it is, Paying attention so you can avoid it, and How to not lose your objective rational mind to the experience as it happens should you fail to avoid it (which happens, as such things are goddamn sneaky).
And who you can listen to, even WAAY down a hole, that you will believe no matter what, when they tell you you’re down a hole, and implement mitigation strategies.  That’s mindfulness. Again, good luck.  This shit is hard.

octarine springNo photo description available.
So, let’s do this.

The Octarine Spring.

This notion has grown from its original temporary intent, into a more enduring construct and concept.

As our world, at least here in the US and other places is coming rather unhinged, I think we need to revisit this notion of grassroots magickal activism and Rule .303- that being if you have the means, you have the responsibility to act, and do what you can, for as long as you are able.

We, who have some competence at Magick, the ability to reach out and perhaps alter and influence the flow of reality- to perhaps protect and defend, to lend luck and grace, to change hearts and minds, to Hinder those who would bring peril and strife:

I believe we have the responsibility to do so. To try to bring Change to that which needs changing, To Preserve that which needs to endure, to Protect those in harm’s way, to Empower those fighting the good fight, and to set our Will against those who seek to oppress and secure dominion over plain ol’ decent people seeking to live as best they can.

Magickal activism, Magickal Action- We can do it for ourselves. I think we must use these skills in ways that align with our ability and nature, to try to aid our communities, and the world as we are able.  We protect, and bless, and bestow luck, and twist probability, manifest things, and hinder the Bad for ourselves and our own all the time.  I think it’s time to work more broadly for our communities and the world that is under our eye.   That’s what the Cunning Folk always did, back in the day.  They helped them as needed helping.  And hindered them as needed to knock it off and quit botherin’ folk.
We have a skill and power and knowledge, however often subtle, to maybe make a difference beyond what mere hands can usually accomplish.

Some counsel for large scale workings for large scale change-  I cannot say whether or not those are effective.  Always hard to say.  What IS effective is a practitioner who knows their craft, throwing down on the world they Know and walk.  We know this.  We live it.  The sigil, acting as an embodiment of the notion,  a talisman, a banner, a conjoining IDEA- Makes everyone doing their grassroots thing, Into a large scale long term Work, memetic current style.  Best of both worlds.

Using this sigil, in conjunction with whatever and however you DO, (be that sigilcraft, ritual work, artificing, or just hucking magick at stuff) should help with mutual empowerment, and even as a Talisman, to confer what blessings may be inherent in the thing to whoever carries it.  (For sigils- do your sigil for whatever, and tag it somewhere on the page. For ritual- drop a copy on your altar or carve it on your candle, or however.  For Talisman- well just make a talisman for whatever and slap this on there, stick it in your pocket, throw it on a t-shirt may help some.  It needn’t be the centerpiece of anything, but you can make it so if you wish.) And even if you Don’t use the construct, I hope you take up the idea, and do what you may.

Stand, and let your Will be felt in the world.

May we bring a brighter day.


    The phone was ringing, and when he picked it up the voice on the other end said

“Dude, I need a solid.”

It was Michael. Arjil had rarely heard his friend sound so out of sorts, almost nothing frazzled him, and he was Quite frazzled.

“It’s Alexa- I think she’s possessed.”


“I don’t know man, I don’t know, but I think she’s fuckin possessed. It’s not her.”

There was a wild, desperate, searching quality to Michael’s voice that put Arjil on edge.   

Arjil blew out a heavy breath “Ok… Ok, um… You’re going to have to start over.”

The story came out in a half mad tangle, and Arjil harbored secret worries that Alexa wasn’t the only one beset by demons, but  Michael still sounded like himself- a rather unhinged self that was getting chewed up pretty hard, but still himself, nonetheless.   

It had started on a movie set, on the east coast, where Michael was directing a low budget occult based film.  She had been a hot and hopeful actress with a douchebag of a boyfriend.  The typical math happened, and they wound up in a tawdry affair of sex, blood, and wild magick, for Michael was indeed a magus and that girl had the shine.    Apparently their cross country journey to LA was one of those epic tales only best friends get to hear about, and even they don’t get all of it.    They found LA after a week or so, got an apartment and everything went fine for a few weeks until the day Alexa wasn’t Alexa anymore.  One hundred eighty degree personality shift, self destructive plunge, saying weird things- the whole nine yards.   

“This town, man, it’s full of Demons.” Michael said, “It’s the called the City of Angles for a Reason, I’m not even kidding.  They’re everywhere.”

Almost anyone else saying that would have gotten a liberal dose of salt, but Arjil had known Michael for years, through many strange happenings.  Michael was not the sort to go getting in a flap over nothing.  If he said it was a hellmouth, then it was.  It made perfect sense from an occult perspective, this city of fabled dreams, where worlds were made, the veil thinned by its very nature- made bright by the shining dreams of the world and rotten at it’s core by the broken heaps of them that littered the streets.

This was just the sort of place for Demons to thrive.

“So, why don’t you just… you know… Yank it out and whoop it’s ass?” Arjil asked, though he thought he knew the answer.  Love is perhaps the most empowering thing in the world, unless it goes awry, in which case your shit is toast.

“I’m too close to this,” Michael said,”She’s freaked out by everything we’ve done already.  She wasn’t a practitioner, and I kinda dragged her down the rabbit hole the hard way if you get what I’m saying.”

“Bloody werewolf sex will do that.” said Arjil a little coolly. He didn’t always approve of his best friend’s chosen path “And you carved the Ellis sigil into her, what the hell did you Expect to happen?”

“Yeah well, we are what we are.  Look dude, I just can’t, I don’t want to freak her out more, and I’m… I don’t know, can you do something?”

Arjil sighed heavily “Sure, bro.  I’ll come up with something.  Listen, are you ok?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll be ok, just, thanks brother.  Do what you can.”

“Yeah.”  Said Arjil, and hung up the phone shaking his head.  He had no idea how to get a goddamn Demon out of a girl fifteen hundred miles away whom he had met all of Once, without so much as a picture to use as a sympathetic focus.

He wandered over to the altar table in the corner, running his hand wearily through his hair.  He’d had a long day at work, what with the sale and the tedious assholes sales always brought out of the woodwork.   He tried to put aside the mundane world and kick his wizard brain into gear.   He hated that such a thing was a necessity with a loathing that bordered on violence, but Wizards and retail do not mix well.  

He had to keep himself bound, accepting for a time the led blanket mantle of Normal, just to keep from screwing up the computers or throwing everyone around him into a weird chaotic clusterfuck. Most days he managed it.  Mostly.  The computers still had inexplicable gremlins, and things would unaccountably go  from fine to day-from-hell anytime he lost his cool.  He tried though, burning his soul to do it.

He feared more than anything, that one day he would wake up, and his true self would be so beaten it wouldn’t be a challenge anymore, and he’d forget what he was.  It was so hard to hold on to sometimes, when the days piled into weeks, and into months, and he couldn’t tell the difference.   The only magick he consistently touched was sneaking out to smoke his pipe in the In-Between space in the alley behind the store, that he had ripped open in self defense just to have somewhere to hide for a second or two.

  It wasn’t enough.   

He threw a jealous mental glare at his friend halfway across the country.  Demons were at least interesting, and torn up as he was, this was His girl.  He didn’t really get why Michael didn’t just deal with the damned thing himself, save for hearing the near madness in his voice.  

It wasn’t a fair thought, Arjil knew, for he was just as free to chase his dreams as his friend was, as Michael was annoyingly  wont to remind him.  But after fifty plus hours of peddling hardware to morons, Arjil could often barely remember that he was something Other, let alone make a salvo against the established ways of the normal world.
He just wanted to eat something, curl up with his girlfriend, and go the hell to bed, for tomorrow was the same shit all over again and dawned early.

    Arjil came back from his grim musings, still staring down at his altar for some inspiration.  He had never set it back up properly since he’d moved back to the house a few years ago.  He typically didn’t go in for ritual magick, knowing it was actually completely unnecessary.  It could help, certainly, and there were many who couldn’t get by without it.  It was just a tool, as with all the other trappings of the occult, to help people believe they were actually Doing something.  He typically didn’t have that problem.  Most often he just threw some Will in the general direction of whatever he wanted to accomplish and that was that. 

Magick, do as you will. 

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.  He didn’t think that was going to cut it in this case.  
He was a big fan of talismans and enchanted runescribed trinkets, but as he was sworn to covert action in this case, nothing down that road would avail him either.  Plucking his wand from the pile of occult parephenelia on his altar, he played with it for a moment, swishing it through the air with emphatic gestures, and tried not to be disappointed that it refused to shoot sparks out the end. 

It never did anything fun. 

He never even used it, but, being a wizard, he felt that a wand was something he should have- just because.  He tossed it back onto the detritus of his eight sided table, and it landed among the stones, crystals, thorns and feathers scattered haphazardly on the black vinyl.  
The downstairs door banged shut, signaling the arrival of his girlfriend Marie.
He sighed, feeling dejected and distinctly un-wizardly.  He had no clue how to handle this one.

“Hey babe? You here?” Marie’s voice came up the stairs.

“Yeah, coming.” he hollered, trying to keep his annoyance out of his voice.  She dealt with his grumpy enough.
 “Fuck it.  Deal with it later” he sighed, and stumped downstairs to figure out some kind of dinner.
    Dinner put him in a marginally better mood.  He did make a damn fine crispy chicken salad if he did say so himself.  That and a couple glasses of wine had him feeling almost better about his day, though they didn’t help one bit with the seemingly impossible long-distance exorcism weighing on his mind.
What Michael needed, mused Arjil bitterly,  was a priest or something. Someone to hold her down shouting “Demons Out!”, flailing around a bible, compelling in the name of Christ, or whatever those people do.   

A priest he was not. 

He wondered if he could even pull such a thing off if she was right in front of him?  He didn’t know.

Marie dragged him off to the shower, keeping up an unceasing flow of the latest home improvement project that had struck her fancy.  She was So half a muggle, he thought bitterly, and drifted off into his imagination with just enough Uh-huh’s to pretend he was listening.  

If Michael was the one dealing with this, he’d just blast the shit out of the person, figuring he’d fry whatever was in them.  At least that’s what Michael had done to Him when he’d had some problems.   That was a fun thought, and so he played one of the imagination games he always played, where wizardry worked like it did in stories.   It was a lot more interesting than a girlfriend going on about HGTV, no matter how soapy and naked she was- it wasn’t enough that he worked in a damn hardware store, he had to deal with this at home too?


So he delved into his imagination, conjuring the form of Alexa as well as he could remember it.  
“So first, I’d blast the shit out of her” he thought, his imaginary self flinging out a hand and unleashing a ball of fire.  It struck her form and exploded, and sure as hell, a double image jarred loose.  A blackened, smoking, surprised looking thing with half its head blown away, stuck partway out of the imaginary Alexa.
“Oh, hell yeah that would be cool.”


Something in the back of his head noticed that this weird imaginary image’s remaining eye looked awfully surprised, but he wasn’t really paying attention, as he grabbed it with a force, ripped it from the girl and flung the smoking form to the ground.  He threw a glass wall between them, and Imaginary Alexa crumpled against it, trying to get back to the Demon.
“Ok, cool.  A bit weird, not sure where that came from, but cool.  Yeah, that’s just what I’d do.” He thought to himself in his little daydream.

Marie started talking about sex. 

This time the naked and soapy did kinda matter, and she got his attention.    They’d both had too long a day for it, but the banter was fun.  

The only problem was, the daydream didn’t go away. 

It stood back up in his mind’s eye all charred, and smoking, with half it’s face gone, and now it looked rather more annoyed than surprised.  
“Huh, ” he thought, and paused kissing Marie long enough to fry the image with lightning from his imaginary fingertips.  He lit that thing up like a christmas tree with arcs of blazing light and it fell to a twitching, smoking pile on the ground.  
Marie had his attention again, but then the hot water ran out, completely ruining that moment. 

They had clambered out of the shower with the nightly ritual of towels and toothbrushes, when the blasted thing in his mind stood back up yet again, and was Angry this time.
This was a little ridiculous, imagination was fun and all, but it was supposed to quit playing when he did.   He gave the thing both barrels this time, full on sorcerous fury, fire and lightning, and an atom bomb for good measure.  He gritted his teeth on his toothbrush as he piled it on till there was nothing left in his minds eye but a dark smudge on the ground.

“My head. You lose.” Arjil thought to himself, as he cheerfully finished brushing his teeth, thinking his weird little daydream banished at last.

He didn’t feel right as they walked up the stairs.  There was a creeping unease as he set the alarm, kissed Marie, and said goodnight, burrowing down into his pillows.  

And suddenly, something was there. 

Aura was not a word he used much, as it conjured up hippy-dippy, new agey connotations.  Subtle bodies, perhaps, spiritual field.  Whatever, didn’t matter, his spiritual real estate had been invaded and he was not alone in there. 

In the space in front of his right eye, that space that was still him, a consciousness awoke.  He only had impressions of thoughts, and a weird pressure by which to know this thing.  It felt cautious, curious, angry, and alien. 

Arjil was not ok with this.

He swatted at it with his Will, trying to knock it away like a wasp. 

That was a mistake: 

In that instant, this thing became aware of where it was, held on hard and started trying to spread like the roots of a weed, driving viciously questing tendrils into his being.  Arjil, in that same instant became aware that his daydream had been real. 

Some impossible how, it had been terribly, terribly real.  And now he had a motherfucking Demon stuck  in his face.
He slammed his will against it in a tide of rising panic as it scrabbled for purchase in his spirit.  He tried to call on the protections he’d wrought around is bed, but they were no help. 

It was inside him.

He fought to conjure his walls and shields, but between the force he was exerting to keep this thing from digging any deeper, and the panic that was threatening to overwhelm his mind he couldn’t hold their form.

The hungry alien presence  dug hard against his will, and he felt his hold loosening as it gained ground.  He surged back against it with everything he had and fought it to a standstill again. 

He was panting, his mind awhirl with frantic possibilities. 

It was too late to disbelieve this out of happening,

too late to take a mental side-step to a world where it couldn’t reach. 

There was no deity upon which he could call, no fervent prayer for help that would be answered, for he swore no fealty, and didn’t know the right words anyway. 

Accepting his previous vision as real, he had already blown this thing to smithereens and it had done Nothing.  It was taking everything he had just to keep this thing where it was.

He was in a sort of trouble he had not known. 

Never had he pitted his will directly against such a fierce thing, never had something like this invaded his being.  He did not know what would happen if he lost, he just knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, with stark driving terror, that it would be bad.

Drastic action was called for.

Arjil flung himself out of bed, staggering in the dark, somehow finding it within himself to dig a lighter from his discarded pants as he vied with the malign invader burrowing into his spiritual face.

“Babe, what’s the matter?” came Marie’s worried voice, as he banged his shin painfully on the coffee table and growled a curse.

“Problem.” he said in a tight voice, his control slipping a little and the thing writhing against his will. 

To her credit, she knew there was something heavy going down just across the room, so she stayed silent and let him handle it- for which he spared a tiny thought of thanks.

He made it to his cluttered altar, and seized the wrought iron candelabra hanging above it, lighting the five candles with intent in the pattern of the pentagram.  

His altar came to life before him, and he drew strength from the sleepy magicks stirred into waking.  He lit two more candles on the table to define two sides of his circle. 

He was a wizard.

He was angry and freaking the hell out.

It would do. 

He leaned upon his altar, closed his eyes, and returning to his minds eye where this all began, he seized the presence that had torn and melted it’s way into his spiritual flesh, and he ripped it out of his face.   

It Hurt. 

A lot. 

Not in the physical sense, though there was a ghostly echo, a wrong feeling to his flesh.  
He didn’t know if he was roaring with his voice or not as he slammed this thing into the circle cast upon the table with his mind and with his Will.  

Sweat poured down his shaking naked form, and he trembled so much that the altar shook,  the wood creaking beneath his fingers he gripped it so hard.
He compelled this presence, this entity, this he didn’t Know what,  to be Gone!

He got the distinct impression of defiance and fury as it tried to break free from the circle.
He slammed it down again, pinning it to the table with a terrible swell of violent thought.  Again, he Compelled it.  Again it wouldn’t, and the struggle did not cease.

He seized a book and held it open, lit another candle, and pulled his singing bowl close, taking up the striker in his free hand.

“Last chance motherfucker.” he growled. “Go.”  

One more surge of furious defiance was his answer.

“This is old-school.” he said coldly.”Begone!”  

He slammed the book shut, blew out the candle, and struck the bowl a mighty blow that rang loud in the night.

That was that.

It was gone.

Back to wherever such things go.

He blew out the candles in order, shaking so hard he could barely manage, and slumped onto the couch quivering and sweating.

He had trouble lighting his pipe, and his face felt wrong.  There might have been tears leaking from his eyes, but he wasn’t sure.

After some time, Marie asked what had happened.
He told her as well as he could, but the words of it seemed lame and made up, not the epic battle for his very soul that had taken place, not the horror of ripping a really Real demon out of one’s own face and going toe to toe with it, naked, in the dark, with nothing but Will, some on the fly made up dreamings, and a dusty old spell. 

And he had to go to work tomorrow. 

He laughed, hard and bitter, perhaps a little hysterical over that thought ere he fell exhausted into bed and passed solidly out.
It was two days before Arjil managed to get Michael on the phone again, by which point he felt fuzzy about the whole business.  It had happened, he was sure. 

Pretty sure. 

His face felt wrong, like the spiritual equivalent of a heinous black eye, or a mauling.  He just didn’t know what the hell had happened.  It was an annoying habit of such experiences, he knew, to begin to fade the moment they had passed.  Somehow, they were so unbelievable that many people forgot them entirely or painted them over with acceptable explanations- well, perhaps not experiences quite so extreme, but still. 

He felt certain that somewhere in the world existed a force that actively quelled belief in magick.  Like the Power behind the Nothing from the Neverending story, perhaps. He didn’t like it.  
At first there wasn’t a doubt in his mind, but now… 

He, knew Something had happened.

“Perhaps,” he surmised bitterly, “I accidentally jumped some poor astral entity and kicked its ass for no reason.  Or maybe I just pretended too hard and created some phantasm and kicked my own ass.  Wouldn’t that be just typical.”

He punched Michael’s number for the third time that day, and finally he answered.  He sounded sane this time.

“Hey man, don’t know what you did but the shit worked.  Thanks.”

“So what happened?” asked Arjil.

“Oh she’s back to normal again.  Bang just like that.  Think she’s dumping me for another douchebag guitar boy though.  I’m cool with it. I guess, after everything.  She just wasn’t ready for what we bring, man.” Michael said.

Arjil unloaded all his tale of what had happened, along with his doubts, and damage, the whole thing.

“Well man, it’s what we do.” Michael said, and Arjil could see his careless shrug over the long miles.
For a moment Arjil stood incredulous. 

He had just ripped a Demon out of a girl fifteen-hundred miles away,  fought it to a standstill, and took a heinous amount of spiritual damage to the Face before he got the thing banished-

all On Accident,

and THIS is what we DO?!?…

“Yeah, I guess it is.” said Arjil, ” Take care brother.  Gotta go. Somebody needs help with plumbing in there.”


Just. Effing. Magick.

Just. Effing. Magick.

This is a letter I wrote about my thoughts on the practice of magick- I mostly keep all this to myself for fear of becoming a pariah, but upon reflection, I don’t care. These are things I know, they are my experience, so I shall share them:

There is a current within the occult that is, for the most part, alternately ignored, abused, and reviled. And frankly, I’m not even sure I know how to talk about it without sounding like a lunatic.
So, you know all the worst of the internet trolls: The high archmage muckity mucks, the dragonkin elven fox furries, the astral goddess wielders of excalibur, the people who think they’re a faerie queen, the demon overlords, the people who took D&D and faerie tales Way too seriously?

Yeah, whole lot of facepalm going on there-

However, if you can get past the bullshit, all these people share the same Impetus, they’re all looking for the same thing- these loudest voices, typically being unstable and completely void of social skills and Utterly lost in their own personal mythology, have cast an indelible stain on anything that even resembles what they were looking for.

I know this, because I share that same Impetus.
I get it.
I have just put forth the effort to not be a dumbass about it most of the time.

I think a lot of people, if not most of us began with that Impetus, but upon finding the occult community the well adjusted among us decide “well, obviously, since everybody else thinks that’s just childish nonsense, it must be”, and let the idea go.

Or they still harbor that Impetus, but have sense enough to keep their mouth shut about it.
Or they choose one of the systems, like the Fluffy Pagan Brigade, who pretend they know all about it and make it all safe and happy.
Or they turn from it with a sense of betrayal and decide there’s no such thing as Magick in that sense, and it’s all psychological tricks and despise everyone who dares to believe in anything that can’t be measured with a ruler.

So what’s the point of this?

I have learned to use the language of the modern occult systems with it’s paradigms, energies, elements, programs, nexions, wave functions, etc. etc. but that’s not really what I do.

I just use Magick-
Like what people believe in when they’re kids.
The whole story doesn’t really matter, but somewhere along the way I decided

A) everything I’ve discovered about the occult is boring, fluffy, unimaginative, doesn’t line up with what I feel in my heart to be true, and really doesn’t seem very magickal at all.

B) Somebody had to be the first one to raise up off their hairy knuckles and decide they could use magick.

and C) children all over the world play really weird imagination games, and naturally use bizarre “little kid magick” all the time- until it gets beaten out of them sometime around junior high.

I’m sure this is technically faulty logic, but bear with me-

Every other young animal in the world (well, mammals and some birds at least) instinctively plays at the skills they will need later in life. I’ll spare you the list, but think about it for a second, and they Do.

So why the prevalence of Human children wandering around in imaginary realities, doing weird ass little kid magick (cootie shots, chants, bizzarre rituals to keep the closet monster at bay, jinx breaking, holding your breath so the thunder doesn’t get you, etc.
Not to mention a stick can be at will, a sword, a gun, a wand, an icky poostick of doom, whatever)- all these things that, in the normal adult world really seem to serve no practical function of survival at all?

Right or wrong, logical fallacy or not, I wondered what would happen if you took the same spiritual force, energy, gnosis, whatthefuckever, that people use in their magickal work, and applied it with the same level of dedication to these seemingly pointless beliefs and skills practiced by children with a critical eye to the most widely held occult theories, and upscaled to functional adult experience.

Apart from “it worked”, I don’t know what else to say about it.

I think I found the Impetus that keeps the trolls lurking, and keeps that suspicion in the backs of people’s minds that says the world of the occult, the magick should be more like we thought it would be when we were kids.

There was more Fail and more Silly than I care to contemplate, and we spent an unseemly amount of time running around in the woods Pretending (we knew we were pretending, but we had to go back before we could go forward).
What I *seem* to have discovered, is kind of… Like, a multilayered reality in which we all exist that all has some measure of “Real” to it for a subjective value of “Real”,
a means to influence and change that reality seemingly on the Quantum level,
and a semi-sentient Force, perhaps, that is not a god (though it might be a function of GOD, or the IS if you take my meaning) That Feels like what the idea of magick felt like so long ago.

It’s got the same feel as every faerie tale, fantasy book, movie, or song that inspires people towards magick, the ones that you experience that make you say “Yes!” and make you Wish that the world wasn’t so fucking mundane.


Not energy work, not systemic entropy, not elements, not intercessional deity, or psychology, not tricks, not overblown philosophy, and not religion.

Just. Fucking. Magick.

It has been my experience that all the real, recordable results regardless of paradigm, and the people who are validly successful, tap into this “current in reality” through whatever means they happen to use.

How does it work?- it’s Magick.

How do you do it- use your imagination, it’s Magick.

You can’t do that- why not? its fucking Magick…

I postulate, ladies and gentlemen, that this is indeed the root of the occult. It is what all the systems, and dogmas, and even the “gone off the deep end” idiots have been attempting to explain, and in the attempt, just like the words of every prophet ever- they took something really simple, and made it so complex you can hardly find the point anymore.

Every system, every paradigm, every philosophy of the occult I have ever studied or tried- every single one has, in the end, proven pointlessly unwieldy.
Yes they all work. All of them. Any of them. Make some shit up, and it works-

Because it’s Magick.

Is it easy to figure out how to use it?


Is it really easy to get sidetracked, or fall off into the bullshit pile?


Tools and tricks and mental aids can be helpful, certainly, but in the end, in my opinion, it is just plain Magick at the heart of the matter.





After my initial posting of the above essay, someone asked me to clarify what, exactly, I meant by “little kid magick” so here it is:

Ok, so a whole lot of the things children Pretend, play at, are strange imagination games.
As you know (or will quickly discover as you study) “visualization” is the most common, across the board, tool of using magick.
Kids are born doing this, and they do it better than all the adults who have all sorts of hard techniques to learn to do it effectively. Kids can change the whole of their personal reality in the blink of an eye- it doesn’t Do anything most of the time, because they’re kids.

Remember when you were playing, you could Be Superman, and it didn’t matter whatsoever that you were running around a playground- You were Superman?
Or the couch could Be a spaceship?
Or a pile of old bushes would Be a dragon?
And it was Easy.

So here’s the short version of how to apply this to magick-

Remember how you could Be Superman?
Now, Be a Wizard. Pretend.
On the surface, this seems silly, but bear with me- you have to let go of the silly. Kids don’t feel silly when they’re Superman, they’re too busy Being Superman, flying around and shooting lazerbeams out of their eyes.

You know how you can recall the feeling of a physical sensation or an Emotion? Like the feel of wind, or drinking something cold, or stubbing your toe, or excitement- and you can, if you concentrate, Feel it?

So what you do, Pretending to be a Wizard, just imagine what *Your* magick Feels like, what it would look like blasting out as a spell- Kids don’t worry about How it will work, they just do it, usually with some impressive whooshing sound effect.

Or maybe your magick is quiet and creeps like tendrils of smoke, or flows like water.

Summon the vision, and more importantly, summon the Feeling, and Pretend like a kid that you’re casting your spell, and like a kid, Believe it.

It took me a while, some years, to become truly effective at this. Just as it takes a while to become effective at any paradigm of magick. Apart from a certain (rather large) level of creative versatility, immediacy, and freedom, it’s no stronger, better, nor more effective than any other paradigm.
However, this style does allow for a Lot more practice.

In many systems you have to wait around for the right phase of the moon, or star alignment, or you have to build a ritual, or be in a special place, or evoke some god or spirit, or create a servitor, or a sigil, or whatever. Many people, especially among the pagan and ceremonial groups cast maybe one spell a week if they’re particularly active- certainly some do more, but, I’m talking about average practitioner.

I throw like 20 a day.

Who’s going to be better at magick?

So long as you have the juice left to throw a spell you can do it (you will discover this method will wear you the hell out when it works.) I have also found that in using your Own magick, rather than relying on some spirit or non sentient “energy” do it for you, you don’t have to worry as much about the unintended consequences that everybody always gives dire warnings about.
It’s a part of you. It won’t manifest in ways that You are not ok with-
not to say that you can’t miss, or that cause and effect won’t whack you in the face like stepping on a rake hidden in the grass, but it won’t off your grandmother because you cast a nonspecific money spell- which is one of the favorite examples.

One other little tidbit- You know how most systems place emphasis on visualizing the end result in exhaustive detail? Seeing your will after it has come to fruition?

Screw that. It’s backwards.

Focus instead on summoning up your Magick and it going out there to do your will.
Certainly- Know what you want, use ritual tools like a sigil or a written out spell if you need something complex and specific.
But the important bit- the Really important bit to doing magick is the Doing of the Magick.

Utilize your imagination on the Front end of spellcasting, not the Back end. Trust the Magick to find the path of least resistance through reality from where you’re standing, rather than hurling it into some as yet non-existent possible future and hoping it finds you again. That, in my opinion and experience, is putting the cart before the horse. Not that it doesn’t work, especially from a particular point of view, but when I began using this mind set, my effectiveness increased dramatically.

All paradigms have something to offer: ideas, tricks of the trade, good knowledge. Listen to everybody- it all builds your vision of the whole.
But this technique of coming at it from the little kid mind set makes it all a lot easier-
they don’t have to fight themselves to make magick.

Neither do we.

There are people of course, who’s mental landscape is quite different, and as such this method doesn’t work for everyone. Many need a distinct process, a more rigid practice, a distinct trail to follow, or who’s main mental process is something other than visual based imagination.
What I think people of such mind should take from this idea is license to find their own form of creative magickal expression, to feel free to explore the way their mind Does work- to use their natural inclinations in their magickal practice to their advantage.
Because it’s Magick, it doesn’t matter What you do, so long as you Do Something to make it work.
I’ve struggled for years to try to figure out how to convey to people how to find Their Way, as I found My Way. That’s the truly important bit, I think- To ponder how You would make the magick work.
If it was your ideal world- What would You do?
When you think about magick, how do you Wish the process worked?

Do That.

Keep at it till it works.

And it will.


So we’re walking around the lake when this Canada goose comes trumpeting in.  It’s alone, which is weird, and we talk to it a bit (in goose-  I know enough goose to be able to more or less say “hi”, “I belong here”, and “yeah, we’re cool”  mostly by hand gestures).  I don’t know whether it’s one of the ones that was born here, or maybe it came from somewhere that it got used to people, or maybe, being a social creature it’s freaked out to be alone and was really glad to meet somebody who could speak rudimentary goose- whatever the case, it just came on over (like within an arms reach) and followed us home. 

We went inside and it kept wandering around honking- I assume looking for other geese, until, finding none, it decided to come hang out just outside our back porch.  I thought it was going to come in for a minute there, but I asked it not to.  We gave it a little stale bread, just to be polite hosts.

So it’s out there, completely unconcerned as we’re in and out of the house, no problem.

Then Pooshka (the big fluffy pirate kitty) comes downstairs and steps outside.  He took one look at that goose and started with that chittering-bug song that cats do.  It was like those cartoons where the wolf or whatever sees the goose and for an instant it’s all trussed up and roast- yeah, that happened.   Pooshka, with feral kittenish delight, saw dinner standing there.  The Goose saw Pooshka seeing dinner, and took off wildly honking back to the saftey of the lake.  It’s still out there, swimming around honking.  I think Pooshka is hiding in the bushes waiting for it to come back.

The Ellisian Hypersigil

Ok, so I’m going to assume you guys know what a Sigil is (I explained it pretty well in my Banana Thing post, I think)

So, with a Hypersigil, instead of taking a small thought and condensing it down into a symbol, you take a Big thought and condense it down- and it can be anything: music, literature, interpretive dance, or even a poorly crafted weird audiovisual clip on youtube, which is what I did.

It came about in an online occult forum a few years ago.  There was this asshole, who was forever abusing people for their ideas in the study of magick, bullying people and demanding reproducible proof- and I’m sure somewhere in there he was trying to play devils advocate and keep people honest (which is a Crucial thing when dealing with a subject so easily lost to idle fancy and bullshit as magick)- but he crossed the line over into being a pretentious dick. 

Finally after some months and a number of nasty altercations, he threw down the gauntlet of “if you people have all these powers, why don’t you just go get the million dollars offered by James Randi?” (the professional skeptic who is offering a million dollars for anyone who can prove any form of the supernatural under carefully controlled scientific test conditions- I’ll post later as to why that’s as rigged as a shell-game), I finally got Officially Pissed Off.

I took him up on this offer, came up with a proposal, and submitted it to Mr. Randi’s website.  Unfortunately, due to his criteria and the nature of my proposal, I didn’t get a response.  My proposal was this: He could choose the most skeptical member of his organization, and I could make that person Believe in the supernatural, with one symbol, viewed once a day, for one month.  I assume this was too subjective or open to interpretation to be verified by his scientific process.

However, after a couple weeks and a snarky comment by this fellow, I threw the challenge to Him- I would change his skeptical worldview (for all he claimed to believe in magick) with one sigil.  All he had to do was look at the thing.  He accepted, and I began.

I was going to fuck up his world.  This asshole was going to wind up gibbering in the corner. 

I was going to Get Him.

I dragged out some paper and got to work. 

It became immediately evident that for this to work, it was going to have to be more complex than I had the talent to impart to a mere scrawled figure.  The answer was a Hypersigil. 

I don’t even remember what all I put into and condensed into the spell before I wrote it out in my own rune alphabet.  I know what it says, and it means that, but Pages of thought went into a few comparatively simple lines.  I do know this though- the horror and madness I had intended to inflict on this guy- I couldn’t do it.   At my core, I’m a nice guy.  A Goodguy, in fact.  I didn’t really want to Get him, I wanted him to Get It.  I wanted Everyone to Get It, and instead of vengeance I lost myself in a magickal work that evolved into something… else.  Something to lead people to the world alive with wonder, just half a thought a way, where the dreams live, where wishes are there for the asking, and the possible stretches to the limits of imagination, where Real becomes a spectrum, and we can take a hand in the writing of our own stories.  You know- the world of Magick. 

So I scribbled and wrote, and funneled all the magick and soul I could muster into it.  And I filmed all the various bits. Then I laid it all out in a circle on the floor, intending to get some decent motion shots.   As I strode around the circle, something took hold- an ecstatic frenzy of sorts.  Round and round, and leaping over, and round some more, and finally, camera abandoned, in the center of this paper circle I’d cast upon the floor, I stood bellowing to the gods I know not what.

Spent, I collapsed to the floor.

I came to my senses sometime later.

I cut all the footage together in a weird sort of animation that was strangely compelling, but it wasn’t complete.  That’s when I created the audio- the text of the spell, layered over and over itself- I must admit, it broke my brain a little the first time I heard it all together.  And mixing the audio and the visual, though less of an editorial nightmare than valid film, was a frustrating endeavor.

Finally finished, I posted it in the forum.  The guy wasn’t impressed. (surprise, surprise).  However, I was interested to note that he quit being a bullying asshole.  In fact, he turned to his own projects, published two books he had been sitting on for some years and opened a website teaching his own brand of occult philosophy, and to my knowledge, was happy leading the life he wanted.

The making of this Hypersigil, also marked the beginning of the path that led me out of retail hell, and into my current life traveling the world with the love of my life, bringing music, magick, and wonder wherever we go, and I get to be Me for a living.

Another friend of mine (who until that point had been beaten to the point of accepting the five year abusive relationship she was in) moved into their spare bedroom, got three jobs, and worked till she had enough money for her and her son to leave the sorry bastard.

One guy blames me for his house spontaneously catching on fire, but it turned out to be the impetus for extremely positive life change.

There are more.

What this hypersigil Seems to do, is to facilitate and empower you to find your proper path in life.  However, if your path is supposed to be traveling north/northwest, but you’re headed southerly, Well, things might get a little hairy in the process of your realignment, if you take my meaning.  But if you’re at a crossroads, with no clear direction in mind and feel you need a little help- Hey it works Great!

So here it is, The Ellisian Hypersigil:

works best with headphones, without distractions.  Just watching it does the trick, apparently, but additional empowerment and or openness certainly couldn’t hurt.

The Witchengine Protocol



So, here we have The Witchengine Protocol.  It is, more or less, a magickal energy filter/generator, simple and highly effective.  It is a construct, somewhere between Sigil and Servitor, and makes for an excellent addition to talismans and such.   Properly crafted, the sigil does what it does, and requires no “firing” much like the Ellis sigil.

The concept of the Witchengine Protocol came about many years ago, and was developed by my brother Silenced, and we would bind the concept (much like a computer program for reality) into a physical edifice- usually a stone sphere or obelisk, but the enchantment was unweildy.  I mean, sure, we could give people the rock and it would work, but as far as a large scale “here, have an effective magickal energy filter/generator to do with as you will”, it wasn’t very functional. 

I finally managed to distill the concept into a Sigil form, for widespread use.  What it essentially does is (see input on picture above)  it gathers incoming or ambient energy (you can program the input to take in any sort of energy you wish via your intent as you draw it- it’s a good idea to program it to not try to eat your other magickal endeavors, for instance) and draws it into the box.  The intent behind the straight and spiky nature of the input is to break up and confound the incoming energies into more or less random harmless bits.

Now, once this energy has been funneled into the center of the construct, this is where the filtering happens- and you must consider this blank space and the action of the output with intent as you draw it- its flow is reversed and forced into the smooth flowing lines of the output (see above) and into whatever use you wish to put it, whether it be powering a talisman (works beautifully bound inside a protective talisman) or other magickal working, or just leaving it running like an air filter in places that have the “Ick” or to keep the energies in your house nice and fresh. 

 I have bound this symbol, using the linking sigil concept, to the original Witchengine Protocol, and it is this that aids in the filtering, and provides a little extra spin on the backend.

I hope you find this useful.

Glamourbomb girl

Here’s an essay for my upcoming occult book “Wizardnuts…

The Glamourbomb Girl.

I was sitting outside the coffeeshop one night by myself.  I had been entertaining the vain hope that some wonderfully interesting Someone would arrive, but alas, as usual…
I was bored, so I decided to make a nifty little glamourbomb to leave there.
Glamourbomb? The concept is simple- an unexpected statement or image that you charge up like a spell so as to impart your message to whoever finds the thing.  It’s the willful empowerment that gives it the extra oomph.  The door is opened by the curiosity of the thing, it’s unexpected or insightful nature slipping past the target’s usual filters, and the charged aspect drives the thought deep into their psyche like a nailgun, so it sticks with them.
That’s the concept anyway.
I had written up a scroll on heavy brown paper that said:
Magick Is Real
with a bunch of nifty occult symbols, including the Ellis sigil.
Live your Dreamings…  It said at the bottom.
I discovered to my dismay that I didn’t have any string to tie it with.
I was going to bind a large crystal I had in my pocket to it as well, because it’s sparkly, artsy, and the ubiquitous AA battery of the occult world and would serve to turn the thing from a simple scrap of paper into a real Thing.
The planter box next to where I was sitting was sown with coarse, tough, decorative grass, so I plucked three strands and started braiding them together into a long cord, the loose ends clamped in my teeth, when the three girls showed up.
They were junior-high-ish, I suppose.  One of their parents had dropped them off, and they came flouncing by talking about some boy or another they thought they might call.  They noticed me there on my brick wall perch, and the Brave one,
the Loud one,
the Flounciest one,
beamed and waved and said “Hello!”, more for the benefit of her companions to show how brave she was, to be flirty with some cute-ish, obviously older guy rather than any impetus of being friendly.
I thanked my lucky stars I wasn’t in junior-high anymore as they went inside, and I returned to my braiding.
It was a bit tricky, as I was having to roll each strand ropelike, and hold them apart without breaking it, not get confused which strand went where,  And hold the whole mess in my teeth.   That’s when the girls came back out.  
I suppose I was the most interesting thing going on just then.
The Brave one walked up to me, told me her name, and asked me what I was doing.  I guess I found her bravado offputting, or maybe I don’t like being used by someone to show off to their little friends.  She wasn’t being rude or anything- but it was clear that I was merely a bit of set dressing in her scene.
I am not someone to be encountered lightly.
Especially when I’m Wizarding.
So I told her.
“Magick.” I said, around the grass clenched in my teeth.  I began to explain what a glamourbomb was, but she wasn’t listening a bit.
“What’s this?” she said over me, snatching up the scroll and unrolling it.
She looked down at it.
I Felt this thing go off, saw it drive deep into her mind, and she kind of jumped, rocking back on her heels with the force of it.
I just kept up my explanation.  
She rolled the scroll back up, and set it down gently beside me.
Her friends asked me a few questions, which I answered, but the Brave girl, the Brazen Flouncy Loud girl, had gone Quiet.
She turned without a word and walked out into the parking lot, not stopping when her friends called after her.
She stood in the halo of a streetlight staring up into the sky.
Her two friends were discussing her odd behavior when, I think, everything I’d been saying for the last few minutes clicked in their brains.  They favored me with uncomfortable looks, before excusing themselves and went to sit down on a bench a ways down the sidewalk.
I finished the braid, bound the scroll, tied on the crystal and wrote ‘Open Me’ on it, and breathed magick upon it.  
I’d had enough for one evening.
As I gathered my stuff and started to go, that girl, now quiet and subdued, caught my eye as she stood beside her friends.  Her gaze was serious, a little frightened, a little sad.
She gave me a small smile and a tiny wave.
I nodded at her gravely, shot her a wink and a grin full of mischief, and went on my merry way.

another one for “Wizardnuts”, don’t know what to call it.

As we bounced and crunched and slid along the freshly graveled road that led to the set we were dressing I Noticed the bush-hog mowing down the thick brush that had grown up around the buildings.  Now, when I say Noticed, I don’t mean merely seeing the thing and recognizing it as a bush-hog.  Something about it set off my subtle spidey-sense, something about it Echoed through the Force, or something to that effect anyway.  Something about rocks.
I wasn’t really paying attention though, as so often happens, more engrossed in the task at hand, and which truck had which set pieces and so forth.
I pulled the truck off the road toward the end of the buildings, ahead of the others, and the bush-hog trundled our way to mow just on the other side of the road.  I really didn’t like it being that close.  Part of that is common sense, of course, but this had a Particular warning buzz to it.
It was making me nervous.
But I still wasn’t really paying attention as I hopped out of the truck and wandered back to the others.  One of them needed help unloading a large table, and I discovered I had left my gloves in my truck.
I didn’t want to walk over there, the bush-hog was just across the road and there were piles of fresh gravel along the roadside.  The thing about Bush-hog, and Rocks kept nagging in my mind enough that I thought about it for a moment before I finally made up my mind just to go get my gloves and be quick about it.
I kept an eye on the Bush-hog as I quickly made my way, half expecting at any second to get pelted with some small stone or another, and it’s lucky that I was looking, for it was no small bit of rock that caused the horrible Bang and made the the Bush-hog leap a foot off the ground in an explosion of debris.
You know how they say time slows down?  Perhaps our perception speeds up.  Whichever the case, I saw as if in slow motion half of a solid concrete block come flying out from under the thing.
I had time to think “Oh, this is what that “Rock” business was about…” as I saw the blades spinning while the mower deck was tilted up, spitting out a shower of slagged concrete.
One of those chunks was the size of a baseball, and jagged.  It sort of glowed like a black streak in my vision as it left the underside of the mower and sped toward my face.
I was still in the midst of my reactive flinch from the noise of it, and I willed myself to turn just a little further, fighting physics to move.
It whipped my hair as it passed between my hat and my shoulder, missing by perhaps two inches.
I had turned away enough that I saw it plough a furrow through the grass about twenty feet behind me, pop up again, and go sailing across the next road.
All of that took less than a second.
It wasn’t one of those moments of narrowly avoided death that leave you strangely invigorated and doing a little dance that you’re alive.
This was one of those sobering ones, where you feel the need to sit down for a minute, call your loved ones just to tell them that you love them, and spend a couple of hours reflecting on life.
The point of this story, was that I Knew.  I saw it coming.  Exactly what? No. But it involved that Mower and Rock and Bad.  I knew it the second I saw the Bush-hog.
But I wasn’t paying close enough attention.
I didn’t listen to what I Knew.
And it damned near cost me my Life.

Whether it’s our own intuition, guardian angel, God, Gods, or the universe at large, there’s something that whispers in our minds, warning us of danger, guiding our steps in the right direction, if only we can learn to listen to it.
This story was one of the loud and dramatic examples, where it was veritably waving flags and hollering through a bullhorn.  I Know how to listen. And still I didn’t really.
I firmly believe that if I hadn’t at least been paying attention enough to be aware of the potential threat so I wasn’t taken by surprise,  I wouldn’t have managed to dodge it and I’d be dead or maimed. But if I’d Really been paying attention, I wouldn’t have been standing there to begin with, I would have dodged it before it even came to pass.
It doesn’t just crop up in times of extreme danger- it’s there all the time.
Most of the time, with this sense, it’s subtle, and if your mind is clouded or too loud with other thoughts you’ll hardly notice it was even there.  But part of you knows.
I mean, how many times have you said to yourself “I knew I should’ve…” ?  Really think about that.
Well, you Did know.
Why didn’t you listen?
This sense, this instinct, intuition, this whisper- if we can learn to listen, and to Trust that small quiet voice, to allow ourselves to Know, our lives can become ever so much easier, quite apart from avoiding an untimely demise, you’ll find you’ll have everything handled before it becomes an issue.
It doesn’t always make sense, and it’s a slippery slope to go chasing down every errant thought in your head- that way lies madness.
Begin by merely paying attention to all those “I knew I should’ve”s.
you’ll start to get a feel for what’s likely and what’s not.  And even with the unlikely ones, merely being aware that the possibility exists can be enough to save your ass in a tight spot, as I illustrated in my story.

so, this is a short story I wrote for a pagan fiction anthology called etched offerings.  Of course the amusing bit is: it wasn’t fiction.  Faithfully recounted, as close as I could get it to what happened, in the third person.  hope you like it.

The Banana Thing

“So, sigils,” Arjil said “the basic method is to take your statement of intent- ‘I Want A Banana’, for instance”
He scribbled a finger through the air as if he were writing it out.
“Then you cross out all the redundant letters”
They all watched his swishing finger crossing out the imaginary letters in the air, as if he were actually Doing something.
Most of them were straight up muggles- the younger crowd, elder-teens to twenty-not-much  that hung around the coffeeshop.  A couple of them had gotten into ghost hunting, and in their quest for spooks had freaked themselves out, now they were full of all sorts of questions for the resident weirdo experts.  Arjil was known throughout the coffeeshop crowd as the go-to weirdo for any odd or Other sorts of happenings.
“Then you take the letters left over and combine them into a symbol of sorts- this helps take your intent from your conscious mind to the subconscious, and frees you up to throw your energy at it without having to hold it in your mind”
Robert, the Wiccan flavored resident weirdo expert chimed in. “Just like I was saying about the ritual tools, being a place holder, a symbol for certain thoughts so you can focus more on your intent.”
“Precisely” Arjil nodded.  He doubted if the muggle kids followed even half of their lively debate on the differing perspectives of viewing and dealing with all things supernatural over the last hour or so, sitting out there on the sidewalk, but they listened intently.  Perhaps they’d learned something.
“So, you take this symbol you’ve made” Arjil mimed picking up the imaginary symbol “and you throw the voo at it.”
He made a grand spellcasting gesture with his other hand, and accidentally let power slip into the thought, infusing this imaginary symbol he had, apparently, created.   He felt the stirring of magick and the symbol in his mind shined as it started to go off.
“What the fuck?” He snorted shaking his head, “I don’t wanna cast Banana!”
He crumpled the imaginary sigil into a ball and pretended to toss it away. “No tellin’ what the hell that would do.”
He was just screwing around really, more for the entertainment of  Robert and Olin than anything.  It was just a silly little wizard joke, and they all chuckled at the preposterous notion of accidentally casting Banana.
For about thirty seconds.
“I smell bananas” said one of the kids on the far side of the table.
Everybody kind of laughed.
Arjil figured he was just going along with the joke.  All in good fun.
“No, really, I smell bananas”
“what the hell? I do too”
Wide eyes turned to Arjil as pervasive, unmistakable Banana-whiff came from some mysterious somewhere and descended on the coffeeshop.
Arjil blinked as the smell hit him “what the?…”
Olin died laughing “You just cast Banana.  Dude, I am so never letting you forget this”
“But I didn’t… I mean… I didn’t Mean to cast anything.”
“That’s what makes it fucking funny.” Olin laughed.
“I cannot believe you just did that” Robert choked out, wiping the mirth from his eyes.
“Yeah well, it happens.” said Arjil, with a bemused chuckle..
The muggle contingent just stared, a couple grinning broadly, the rest looking uncomfortable.   Arjil recognized those looks, the dawning comprehension that they had just witnessed bang-done magick.  Right there.
Wild mirth bubbled and rolled from him with a secret glee- they could never un-see that, or un-smell it in this case, but whatever- they would remember, Forever, that magick was real.
Truly that was his mission in this life- to make people see it, to let them believe as they once did, to put that childlike Wonder back into a world gone too cynical.  Whether it was some grand design of the Gods that put him here, or his own Mad impossible quest taken up in self defense against the mundanity he despised, he didn’t know.  He just knew it was what he had to do.  His great Work.  And if it took accidentally casting Banana in front of a bunch of muggles to do it, he was cool with that.
“And That, friends, is why you should always be careful what you wish for.” Said Arjil, seriously.
Everybody laughed again, except for Olin.
Olin got it.
The young man who had started the questions was on about Crossroads, and what constituted a crossroad, and if you had to agree to whatever deal the devil you supposedly met there offered in order to lose your soul like an old blues-man, or if it just happened.
Arjil and Robert both pointed in unison to the intersection just behind them..
“That’s a Crossroads?” Young Adam asked, looking nervous and excited at the same time.
“Any place where two paths cross each other” Said Robert.  “Could be roads, could be rabbit trails in the woods, whatever”
“Or figurative rather than literal” said Arjil,
“The Devil,” he quirked his fingers in quotation marks, ” can show up any place where your life can turn one way or another.  A whole lot of things qualify as crossroads”
“But” Young Adam said, “does it have to be a verbal agreement?”
“You just have to agree. To choose it.” said Arjil.
“Isn’t there supposed to be a contract or something?”
“You just have to agree” Robert echoed.
Arjil was impressed that Robert understood the subtle nature of the magick of crossroads, he seemed young for it, but he had been to war twice now, so he had dealt with crossroads a plenty.
Perhaps sometimes a shadowy figure, some Loa or old god, or the Devil himself did literally show up with an offer.  Most of the time it was just choices- left, right, or keep on truckin’.
Most of the time.
Sometimes there Was somebody there, and Arjil had the odd, sobering feeling that this time, that somebody was him.
“So what is it you’re wanting from a crossroads?” Arjil asked, fixing the young man with a shrewd look.
“What I really want is to find the real deal, to see the supernatural.” Young Adam said. “Do you guys know any places to go? I mean we’ve been to graveyards and down haunted roads and we’ve found some cold spots and things, but…”
“Look” Arjil interrupted “Magick is tricky.  It’s subtle. Most of these things you’re looking for aren’t exactly Here.  They’re somewhere Else- just on the other side of the fence so to speak.  That’s why you mostly can’t see them except as shadows or glimmers out of the corner of your eye.  The specific where doesn’t really matter- it’s everywhere. Its just that in most places that fence, or Veil as some call it,  is too thick to see through. Some places though, the Veil is thin. What you need to learn to find is a Between place.  That’s where the magick happens.”
“What do you mean?” ”
“In the middle of a doorway, alleys, crossroads, clearings in the woods, between two trees, anywhere between here and there, really.  I don’t know why, but they’ve got a particular Resonance to them, a kind of buzz that, once you know what you’re looking for you’ll find them all over the place if you think about them right.  Perhaps because they’re not exactly places, most people don’t think about them much, so they’re free of the static influences of consensual reality and thus the reality of such places is  rendered more mutable- but that’s an entirely different conversation.  Anyway, there’s a big one just down the street.”
Young Adam looked confused for a moment, then he hung his head thinking hard.
“Lets go, right now” He said, trying to be cool and casual, but Arjil could feel the excitement, the wanting of it brewing in him.
“Yup.” thought Arjil “Guess I am, in fact, the Devil at the crossroads tonight.”
He considered for a moment how he felt about that. This was actually a slightly perilous bit of knowledge he was about to teach this kid, and he knew from hard experience that one could get into all sorts of trouble.  Becoming aware of multilayered reality could well break somebody’s brain- and you couldn’t go back, that door closed behind you.
But the he had asked for it.  It’s what he wanted. He had already chased the mystery to this particular crossroads and he had already accepted the deal.  Arjil shrugged and nodded.  This was the sort of thing he did.
“Sure” he said, as he stood up, killed the cold dregs of his coffee, and took up his walking stick with a broad grin “Who else is coming?”
Robert, Olin, Young Adam, a widely grinning kid and his nervous looking girlfriend all followed Arjil as they set off down the street.
They stopped in the middle of a strip of old buildings where one had been torn out, the vestiges of old plaster still clinging to the weathered bricks, the foundation buckled and shot through with weeds.  “This,” said Arjil “is a Between place.”
He could feel the prickle along his skin as he stepped over the threshold where the wall once stood.   He walked with arms outstretched and half lidded eyes till he reached the exact center of the place, where the streetlight was cut off by the buildings shadow.  He loved places like this, so full of possibility, the twilight feeling where anything can happen, and he smiled as he felt the magick ghost around him like a misty cat rubbing against his form.
They all followed- Robert and Olin cautiously, as they could feel it too, Young Adam looking thoughtful, and Grinning boy and Nervous girl huddled together with the resonance kids have on a spookyfun adventure.
“I don’t feel anything” said Young Adam.
“They do. Don’t you?”Arjil said gesturing to Robert and Olin. “Kind of a… buzz, a vibration.”
Olin grinned his maniac grin and nodded- he looked like a demented pointy toothed scarecrow when he got like that.
“Oh yeah,” said Robert. “Stand where he is and close your eyes, tell me what you feel” he gestured for Arjil to step aside.  Young Adam came to stand in the spot, turning in a slow circle.
“I don’t know, like a hum sort of, like a car with lots of base coming down the road from far off or something, kinda.”
“Yes!” said Arjil “That’s the Resonance.”
“Now,” said Robert “what’s really going to screw with you later is if you really felt it, or you just felt it because he said you would.”
Arjil laughed “That’s the bitch of the whole business- most of the time you’re left wondering if that was Really there, or if you just made something out of nothing.  It’s really hard not to go off the deep end- like Ronnie.”
They all knew who Ronnie was.
“You mean mister ‘I stubbed my toe so it must be the work of the arch overfiend lords of hell out to get me’ or ‘I went to a graveyard and the wind blew so Azazimbulakgresheshal the seventh demon of the underworld was coming to eat my soul’?”  Said Olin, his basso voice rumbling with contempt.
“Precisely” said Arjil.
“Fuckin’ dumbass” said Olin.
“So this is the sort of place ghosts and things happen?” Adam asked, looking around as if he expected some kind of spook to come shambling out of the darkness.
“Yeah, only, most of the time it doesn’t happen.  Most of the time you just get a shivery feeling like you’re being watched, maybe see something out of the corner of your eye, like I said.  But it’s more Likely to happen in places like this.  The Veil’s pretty darn thin here.  Think I’ll wake it up.”
“Ah shit” said Olin as Arjil produced a pen and crossed to one of the walls.
“Are you doing what I Think you’re doing?” Said Robert, his tone somewhere between disapproval and amusement.
Arjil grinned and nodded as he drew the sigil, then turned and went to tag the other side of the alley.
“What’s he doing?” said Young Adam walking over to the wall to see what he had done.
“Well,” said Arjil, turning from his work with a flourish “you remember what I said about Sigils right?  I made one that acts as a crack in the fabric of reality.  It lets the magick seep through more readily to this side of the fence.. And anyone who… Oh, too late.”
Young Adam was peering intently at the symbol on the wall.  It was innocuous looking enough- just an L cut through with a lightning bolt S.  It had arrows on all the ends, and a small dot off to one side.
“What?” said the Grinning Boy
Arjil turned to the two standing in the shadows “Well, part of the intent was to put a splinter in peoples minds if they saw the thing, a doubt, a seed of Wonder. Aside from making their worlds a little more interesting for a bit, it helps make reality itself a little more mutable for those with the knack, by loosening the bonds of consensual reality.”
“More interesting How?” asked the Nervous Girl
Olin coughed significantly, and they all turned toward the mouth of the alley, where a black cat was crossing.  It stopped and stared at them for a long moment, before carrying on with business of its own.
“Like that.” Said Robert.
“Now,” said Arjil, unable to contain his grin,”that Could have just been coincidence.”
“Yeah, but it wasn’t” said Olin.
“No, but still. That’s how it happens.” Arjil turned to Young Adam “most of the time, that’s as much as you get.  Could be coincidence.  But Olin, Robert, and I  Know it wasn’t.  Of course we could be deluded or wanting things to be real, but- That Just Happened.  How you choose to take it is up to you, and what kind of world you want to live in.  Want to live in a world where magick happens?- there you go.  If not” he shrugged “you can just write it off and forget about it”
“Nobody’s ever forgetting that you accidentally cast Banana.”  Said Olin, laughing again.
“Point.” said Arjil, and led the way back to the coffeeshop.

Now here’s the really amusing thing about this- so I get home and text my girl who was off in Missouri- right after I get done telling her about it the guy she was staying with walks in with a bunch of bananas and has no idea why he bought them.

So, Then she says “since you’re on a roll, I’ll take a chocolate milkshake”. That was amusing so I do the thing again as a joke and think no more of it.  The next day she’s driving and stops somewhere, and since she’s got this milkshake craving she orders one with lunch. Once she’s back in the car, she looks at the recipt- they didn’t charge her for the milkshake.  I used magick to get my love a chocolate milkshake. bang, I win!