The pamphlets I burned during an execration re-appeared, intact, after I’d burned them. I have and posted photo evidence of every step of the process as I did it, and then I found the fucking pamphlets intact other than a slight burn from where I originally tried to burn them, before I tore them into shreds, soaked them in germ x, and burned them all.
And then the next day, I found 6 out of 9 just laying around in my trailer. Luckily, I had decided to liveblog every step of the process, so I now have actual, photographic evidence that magic is, in some way, real. Things that you burn one day can re-appear, all but unscathed, the next. Scientists have studied very very small things, smaller even than atoms, doing this kind of nonsense; something as big as a warning pamphlet should have to obey the laws of physics that say that time works in a linear fashion and when you burn something, it stays burned. But reality doesn’t care what I believe is possible, and an impossible thing happened yesterday, and I don’t know if I want to make more impossible things happen, or if it would be wiser to run away screaming. I’m still half-convinced that I am, somehow, faking this. Am I just a crazy person after all? I’m not having any symptoms these days, I feel better than I ever have. Just because it’s possible I somehow imagined this and somehow faked photographic evidence in a fugue state or something, doesn’t mean that explanation makes sense.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen to people like me! It can’t! Why should it? I’m just a guy with a blog. I’m not even in the running for most powerful, or most experienced or most faithful, or most pious, or most talented, or anything. Two months ago I was about to ragequit my fucking religion and ignore the astral altogether, for fuck’s sake! This can’t have happened! Not in the physical, corporeal dimension where we live. Myths stay myths and reality stays reality. Magic can be explained with science.
Except that sometimes, it turns out, it can’t be. At least not any scientific theories I know of. (If you have ideas, PLEASE let me know, if only so that the next time this shit happens I won’t have a panic attack as my brain keeps going “But….science? But? Science?! You can’t just- that isn’t how- science? Is this allowed?! Science???”)
The only person I’ve ever heard talk about shit like this happening is Thenea; she claims that Hermes takes her stuff and hides it from her all the time. In fact, the spell that Isis taught me only a few days ago has a lot in common with Thenea’s Ritual of the Five Senses (which I have noted in the past, had at least some effect on the physical sensations I could recieve by just writing it in my grimoire). Set told me to burn our enemies in effigy, watched me do it, and somehow, the pamphlets re-appeared. Stacked neatly upside down on the counter, five feet from where I burned them. I stared, blinked, picked them up. How did that happen? I could’ve sworn I burned all of them at once, all together. Was it possible that my ADHD is acting up, I had somehow grabbed more pamphlets than I thought? No; these had the writing on them. The Dust Bowl one had the burn mark from where I first tried to just light them on fire, but the paper didn’t catch.
It could be nothing, I thought. I guessed Set wanted me to burn those four again. He irritably told me I was supposed to read the warnings first; I did. It didn’t really sink in, as I was too excited to burn them, but I thought, I can always pick up more the next time I go to the library. I burned the four pamphlets again, posted that the ritual was officially over, cleaned up, sat back down in my seat near Set and Heru’s altar.
Within minutes, I found 2 more behind my backpack. I tried to remain calm, and I put the two back on his altar. They’re still there.
Set’s message is clear: the ritual is over when he says it’s over. Even the regular laws of physics, space and time don’t apply to him right now, in my trailer, in the liminal space between beginning the Unmournable Dead ritual, and completing it.
Last night I was afraid. For the past few days, I’ve been beginning to see things the way I did 7 years ago, in the months leading up to my initiation. I realized that impossible things were happening around me, things I couldn’t explain any other way than magic and gods and spirits. I realized that I had summoned the Outlaw Dead into my home, adored them, thanked them, and made them promises. And now 2 weeks later, I was starting to see things. Impossible things were happening in my home. Set would not allow me to end the rituals I was doing for him; he wanted me to spend even longer in the space and time in between the beginning of the rituals, and the closing of them, and it was obvious that even if I tried to end the ritual, it wouldn’t work. I had to go to sleep in this same space and time; the space with Isis’ spell still set up, to allow a greater physical presence for gods around me. I had to go to sleep while I was 99% sure I had, over the past several weeks, unknowingly turned my trailer into a potent liminal space that also functioned as a resting place and pit stop for the Outlaw Dead, and the ritual altar where the Egyptian god of chaos and his pupil work together, joking and singing, to destroy the Powers That Be.
What the fuck did I expect to happen? Everything to go according to plan and nothing be a pain in my ass or scare the shit out of me? Since when is that how any of this works? A few days ago, I typed out some shit comparing myself to Deadpool going to be tortured into becoming Deadpool and posted it online. “Hey, dramatic irony, here I am! Come fuck with me ASAP!” How many times does the universe have to pound the whole “words and images are literally, actually, for real, no bullshit, magical” concept into my thick skull?
It would explain why I’ve had the overwhelming urge to sing and dance, joke around out loud, read books out loud. I still have an audience; one starved for attention, affection, and entertainment. Reading books out loud, singing, talking and joking are all regular, loved staples of entertainment for the dirt-poor, the imprisoned, the hunted. I was a fool to think that all of the OUTLAW DEAD that I summoned would be content to immediately walk away from the space where someone was more than happy to do all of those things for hours at a time. If I were them, I wouldn’t take the first bus from a party like this, a sanctuary like this, to my soul’s judgement and final resting place. I would want to spend some time here, with companions, with music, with stories and with others who I know will have my back when the cards are down, even if we’re being assholes to each other in the meantime (what else are we supposed to do for fun?). In fact, I would strongly suspect that doing so would be my last, best, and only chance of…well, whatever the dead people version of “survival” is.
Because if anyone has reason to delay the judgement of their souls for as long as possible, it’s the people who spent their entire living existences being convinced by the world around them that they are inherently evil and lesser than everyone else, that they would always be on the wrong side of the law, that they would always be hunted by the ones with badges and a license to kill. Why should they trust the first Official Authority Figure who shows up and tells them, once again, to get in line and follow the leader to whatever it is he decides you deserve? I wouldn’t. I would kick them in the shin, run, hide, and try to get a good word in with the magical, musical, impulsive dumbass who summoned me and all my friends, gave us whiskey and candy, and then talked all about how they were gonna find the descendants of my old enemies and make them pay.
I realized all of this, and then once again, I realized I was in way over my head, and there was nothing I could do about it except trust Set to keep me safe. I had tried to end the ritual as soon as possible, and it resulted in something literally being reborn from flame and reappearing in my house. I don’t even want to think about the mythological significance of what happened; suffice to say I will be waiting until Set tells me exactly how to get rid of those last two pieces of shit. (I later realized that those two weren’t in the picture I took of all of them together, so maybe I had just misplaced them, although I don’t remember doing so. But what about the ones I have pictures and videos of me ripping up and burning? What about me finding those two at such a convenient time, what about the energy spike?)
I delayed going to sleep as long as I could, until a wave of exhaustion hit me. I went to bed, heart pounding with fear. It’s the first time I was genuinely afraid of monsters hiding in the dark of my bedroom since I was 14. Set was nearby, touching my back gently, a grounding, calming gesture: It’s just me, remember, he murmured. It’s me doing this. I’m not gonna hurt you, and neither are they, because you’re mine.
“You’re mine” is a loaded phrase, but I’ve had years to let it grow on me. When Set means it he doesn’t mean I am an object he can do with as he pleases; he means he has my back as long as I have his, and maybe even sometimes when I don’t have his back, and probably even when I don’t want him to have mine. I steeled myself to go to sleep, without trying -probably in vain- to sabotage whatever the fuck Set was (is?) doing. I had no reason to assume it was bad, not really. I could do this; I could trust my god and go to sleep.
As I drifted off to sleep, I heard someone breathe next to me. Immediately I was awake, tense, listening for the intruder, the intruder far too close to me, in the dark, in my trailer.
I forced myself to relax, i’s totally normal to hear weird things when you’re tired and falling asleep. If someone is there, wait and see, catch them off guard. If someone had broke in in the last twenty minutes I would’ve heard something. I forced myself to exhale and inhale, realizing the sound I made breathing sounded enough like the sound I had heard that it was more likely than not that I was safe, that there wasn’t someone else in my trailer, watching me sleep. No one had somehow snuck into my bed in the dark, without me knowing it. No one corporeal enough to hurt me, anyways. Safe. I was safe. I told myself I was safe. My body didn’t believe me; I’ve learned through bitter experience to trust my instincts, and all of my instincts told me to run while I still could.
Set was nearby, watching, quiet and grim. He knew he couldn’t just tell me to calm down; “calm down” is exactly what a hunter would say before the kill. Besides, this was probably the point, anyways: I had to calm myself. I turned over and laid on my back, telling myself, fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the mind-killer. How did the rest of the quote go? I forced myself to remember as much as I could. Fear is the mind-killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. Deep breath. Heart pounding. I will face my fear. I will allow it to pass over me and through me, and… Shit, what’s the next part? I will allow it to pass over me and through me, and only I will remain.
I said it to myself over and over as I fell asleep. Fear is the mind killer. I will face my fear. Only I will remain.
I fell asleep, and when I woke up this morning, I was not afraid.
A little less than a year ago I read a post on Gods and Radicals about the patron saint of drug dealers. I didn’t want to go up and poke the guy right away, for the same reasons I typically don’t go and try to make friends with every single corporeal drug dealer I’ve ever met, but I did copy down all the instructions on how to traditionally summon and honor him in to my grimoire. You never know how long a pagan socialist/anarchist site will be allowed to stay online, I thought, and it may be convenient to have a hard copy of the instructions. (That was before I knew that just copying a spell or ritual into my grimoire could have an effect.) I thought, maybe it’ll come in handy someday.
Today, it turns out, is someday.
It’s a good thing I’m gonna turn 21 soon. If I know drug dealers and outlaws (and I do), I’m gonna need a lot of whiskey.