The Otherkin community is a fascinating collection of individuals, all of whom feel as if they are differently souled. Although in human form, Otherkin believe that the essence of who and what they are originated elsewhere and can most often be associated with mythical beings, such as elves or faeries, dragons or gryphons. I was first introduced to the Otherkin community on the cusp of the new millennium, and, although I was skeptical at first, I came to accept that there is something to Otherkin claims. As someone who, because of my regularly need for the life-energy of others, has adopted the word “vampire” in reference to myself, I could hardly throw stones at Otherkin elves who explained that they did not believe that they were pointy-eared rangers straight out of Tolkien or D&D, but that the mythic archetype we have come to recognize as an elf best described what they felt their soul originate as. If we accept that the soul exists and, furthermore, accept that it is immortal, then we have to acknowledge that it has probably gone through a multiplicity of genders, races, and forms just on the basis that nothing — not even species or planets — lasts forever, at least not in the physical realm.
I had my widest exposure to the Otherkin community at a small Canadian convention called Kinvention North. From 2001 onward, I often appeared as a speaker there, and my presentations were popular with many of the attendees. When I was asked to do the closing ritual at Kinvention North 2004, I put a great deal of thought into the undertaking. As most people know, I have my own Kheprian system, and while I have ties to the ‘kin, I am foremost involved with the vampire subculture. Kheprian rituals have their own unique energy, and most vampire rituals are don’t really fit when working with the Otherkin. What I needed to do was design a ritual that was completely Otherkin in energy — and this would mean running ritual in a fashion that isn’t exactly normal for me. I’ve run both Wiccan and Pagan rituals very successfully, and so I knew this wasn’t beyond me as a ritualist. In general, writing a ritual in any tradition just requires the ritualist to tap into the unique energy that is the heart of that tradition. Each system has its own symbols, its own language, and its own archetypes. So to successfully design and run the KinNorth ritual, I had to essentially travel to the source of these in the mythic imagination and allow what I found there to flow through me.
To tap into this essence, I started with the symbol of the Otherkin: the Seven-Pointed Star, also known as the Elven Star or the Faery Star. As I understand it, this symbol is recognized by the majority of the Otherkin community, and it serves as an expression of Otherkin diversity. Because Otherkin by nature draw from a wide variety of races, traditions, and points of origin, the Star is one of the few common elements shared by all the Otherkin. As the archetypal common ground, the Star provided a point of entry into the vibration or “flow” of the ‘kin.
Prior to designing the ritual, I did some meditation with the Seven-Pointed Star. These were basically pathworkings where I approached the symbol of the Star as an archetype, and allowed it to speak to me. It soon became clear that there were several voices within the Star — one for each of its points. These were essentially Avatars of elements and races unique to the ‘kin.
To design this ritual, I let the Star Avatars speak to me. All Seven appeared in succession, revealing their forms and sigils for invoking. They each told me their Names and the symbols of office they wished to be represented by. They told me what elements, colors, and concepts they are associated with (although several were associated with common elements, they were never as simple as one element and one concept — the avatars are multifaceted beings, each as diverse as the ‘kin they embody).
Some came forward and spoke right away. These had bold voices that were hard to mistake. A few were less direct with me, even hesitant in their contact. The last one to come forward was the hardest to understand, for s/he was most unlike my own nature and anything I had a context for. But it was contact with this one (called Illana) that convinced me beyond a doubt that I was dealing with essences both unique and outside of me, as s/he was totally alien to anything I previously had known.
The Avatars each have many shapes and many Names, and during our conversations, they frequently shifted from one face to another while still retaining their overall “feel.” I’ve come to associate such flux with the ‘kin, so it really didn’t come as a surprise when it was a fundamental part of the avatars. The complexity and diversity of the Avatars was also in keeping with what I understand such avatars to be — which is essentially an embodiment of a higher emanation, a fragment of divinity that is more complete and closer to the Source than you or me.
As I had originally planned to only invoke the Avatars like Watchtowers at the Quarters, I asked the directions they were associated with — and in a few cases, the answer came as a surprise. The traditional Pagan directions are abandoned in favor of what the Avatars themselves declared. The least traditional of any of them, of course, was Illana, who seems to embody the most “other” element of all of them.
The Avatars had their own idea of how the ritual should proceed, and they didn’t hesitate in telling me so. As I had already agreed to serve as a channel in this and not impose my own expectations or traditions upon it, I let them speak freely. The resulting rite gives a great deal of time to the Avatars of the Star, and I have been assured that they will fill in the blanks when the time comes. During our interactions, they had made a number of other statements which, while mysterious at first, later proved to be true — so I’ve definitely learned to trust them.
The whole experience has been fascinating for me, as I don’t usually go talking to so-called “higher powers.” For my own rituals, I draw everything from my Self, and Kheprian rituals also draw only upon the Selves of those involved. But this is not a Kheprian rite I am running, and the ‘kin do not function by Kheprian rules. My role in this is purely as an intermediary and mouthpiece. I’m fairly certain that the things I tapped into were already there, and I’ve done my best to be a clear channel for them, allowing the information to come through with as little distortion as possible.
What I see before me is a very powerful rite — one that I think will be inspiring for those who participate in it. As we are dealing with Avatars and giving each of them a chance to speak, the real outcome and message of the ritual is an unknown and can only be experienced. I’ve built the framework, but the Avatars themselves will tell us what needs to be known. They’ve been very interesting to work with, and I look forward to future interactions with their energy.
Finally, because I know there will be a widespread interest in it, I am making this ritual available to the general community. Others who wish to experiment with contacting these Avatars are encouraged to do so. I am very curious about how they might manifest to other people and how harnessing their energy might serve to help and empower the community of Otherkin.
What I would especially like to see are rituals that integrate the Avatars in smaller group work. While a ritual that involves 70+ people is impressive just by dint of the numbers, there is often little chance for group participation all around. It’s very difficult to make time for everyone present in such a large ritual to directly participate in the action. Smaller rituals with ten to fifteen people have always seemed more personal and more ideal to me because everyone can play some role in the preparation and ritual action. I would be very interested to see the difference between this invocation run in a large group and how things play out in a smaller, more directly involved group.
Open Letter to the Avatar Hosts
This is the letter that went out prior to the ritual to the first and second choices for the Avatar hosts:
“I’ll need you to meet with me about an hour before the ritual is actually scheduled to start. Come prepared to this and already wearing most of what you’re going to wear as the Avatar. We can touch up the costumes at this time, make any last minute changes, etc.
“Each Avatar has a sigil. I’ll apply this to your forehead with body paint prior to the ritual. This will be a minor invoking — kind of priming you to the energy but not fully calling the Avatar down. I’ll have veils to drape over each of you and, once you’re ready, you’ll be arranged around where the circle will be formed. Stand still, like a statue, and wait until you hear your Avatar called at this point. I want to build the mystery a bit, and I’ll have the rest of the people come in and form a circle around you, building energy in the center of the room.
“I’ll talk a little bit, doing the intro to the ritual, then I’ll call the “quarters.” When I call the Avatar you represent, pull off the veil, leave it where it falls, and step forward to the center of the circle. There will be a small table set up there with the Avatars’ symbols of office on it. Pick up the one that’s appropriate to you, and then stand in the center facing out toward the larger circle. All seven of you will stand in a tight knot at the center of the ritual space, almost shoulder-to-shoulder, looking out at everyone else.
“I’ll talk a little more, and then I’ll do the full invoking. This will involve me Calling the Avatar with a larger description and scribing the sigil in energy before you. The energy of the Avatar will wash over you completely at this point, and it will be like draping a robe of office over who you already are. You will hear/feel what the Avatar wants to say, but you will also have influence of how this is ultimately expressed. You will not lose your sense of Self totally unless you allow it; if you wish to surrender completely to the presence of the Avatar, that will be a matter of personal choice.
“The core of the ritual is that each Avatar is asked for his/her advice on a matter of importance to the ‘kin community. I’ll go right round through all of them, then dismiss them. When the Avatars are dismissed, step back out of the inner circle and move to a point close to the outer circle again, as the energy of the Avatar slips off of you. If you feel compelled to do or say anything before the Avatar fully departs, go with it — I have a feeling they have a couple of surprises for us.
“Attached is the full ritual in MSWord format.
“If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. I’ll be traveling a bit with the band the next few days but will make every effort to check my email in case there are any inquiries.”
Details of the Invocation
This is a letter which explained my vision for the Avatar Invocation. It covers what I was aiming to accomplish with the Avatars, how I approached the KinNorth ritual, and what I expected from those individuals who would be hosting the Avatars.
“I am going to be a little more elaborate and organized with ritual this year than previously. The time we are in I believe calls for this. To this end, I would like to request your help with the ritual.
“The core of this ritual will be an invoking. I shall call upon avatars tied to each aspect of the Seven-Pointed Star. Individuals from the gathering will be chosen to embody these. As the rite progresses, I will invoke the Avatar fully into these people — much like Drawing Down the Moon, only the beings we are Calling are avatars of ‘kin archetypes rather than traditional goddesses and gods.
“The people involved in the invocation have to be comfortable with the idea of channeling something greater than themselves. This will not be like possession, where a deity or spirit takes complete control of your body and you have no consciousness during the events. This will be much more gentle.
“The energy of the Avatar will wash over you, and it will be like draping a robe of office over who you already are. You will hear/feel what the Avatar wants to say, but you will also have influence of how this is ultimately expressed. This is not intended to be possession. You will not loose your sense of Self totally unless you allow it; if you wish to surrender completely to the presence of the Avatar, that will be a matter of personal choice.
“In all cases, I’ve tagged people for the roles because the individuals already embody the archetype that Avatar represents to one extent or another, and in a way I would merely be invoking a greater aspect of their Selves. The resonant energy already present in these individuals will help facilitate the invocation.
“Each Avatar has a sigil, which will be scribed upon each person’s forehead, and each Avatar also has a symbol of office, which the person embodying that Avatar will take up once the Avatar is Called.
“Key things for this ritual to succeed: I need the people who will embody the Avatars to really get into their roles. For the ritual, I would want them to dress the part, adopting attire more elaborate than usual to help really build the ritual atmosphere. This rite is a little more theatrical than what I ordinarily run, and there is a conscious heightening of the mystique of the work that should help create an atmosphere appropriate for drawing the Avatars down. I want the ritual to really speak to people, and I want to allow the Avatars the freedom to speak in whatever manner they deem most appropriate for the time, the people, and the place of the rite.
“If there is time, we might experiment with an invocation of the Avatars for the “Come as you really are” party to see how it feels/works.”
Sigils and Descriptions of the Avatars
The following is a list of the seven Avatars that manifested to me during pathworking on the Elven Star. Fenecai was the first to make contact, and true to his nature, he came on like a ton of bricks and was amazingly hard to ignore. Once I was certain I’d contacted something that was truly outside of me, I did further pathworkings to determine what directions the Avatars were connected with, their respective colors, metals, and other associations, and the qualities that defined them. All these are listed here, along with the sigils for each Avatar.
- Title: Lord of Fire
- Gender: Dark/destructive masculine
- Element: Fire
- Direction: West
- Color(s): Red, orange, black
- Symbol: Rod of Kingship or pole-arm
- Metal: Brass
- Planet: Mars
- Races: The fierce dragons of the heights, phoenixes, stonewings, and sons of the forge.
- Essence: Destruction and renewal; cataclysmic change.
- Appearance: Big, broad-shouldered Draconian warrior with outspread wings. Wears armor and carries a halberd-type weapon. Shifts occasionally to a phoenix of flame. Sometimes in his draconian form, his wings and talons trail fire. Moves ponderously but then lashes out in sudden, powerful strikes. An alternate form is the Forge Lord, a fierce dwarven warrior with flame-red hair and beard.
- Title: Lord of the Shining Host
- Gender: Feminine androgyne
- Element: Light
- Direction: Above
- Color(s): White, yellow, silver
- Symbol: Musical instrument (lyre or flute)
- Metal: Platinum or gold
- Planet: Sun
- Races: Elves and all fey
- Essence: (Positive) magick, beauty, creativity and song
- Description: Lithe and fine-boned elf with pale skin and long, reddish-blond hair. Wears a long, flowing robe that is an almost luminous white shot through with gold and silver thread. Wears a collar or torque of gold. Carries a lyre, lute, or flute. Dreamy, flowing movements — exceptionally graceful.
Hss’tah Feliss (huss-TAH feh-LEESS)
- Title: Huntress-Priestess
- Gender: Dark/destructive feminine
- Element: Darkness
- Direction: Belo_
- Color(s): Gray, black, indigo
- Symbol: Small curved blade
- Metal: Silver
- Planet: Moon
- Races: Felines, and all who are children of darkness and shadow
- Essence: (Dark) magick, night, shadows, mystery — that which is hidden or obscured from view.
- Description: A petite, wiry felinoid whose short, soft fur is the color of deep shadow rippled with true black. Wears bracers of soft leather inscribed with designs. Minimal clothing, also of leather &ndash deep brown or black. Carries at least one small, curve-bladed knife. Sometimes appears covered head to foot in a soft black cloak. Moves gracefully, but in an almost threatening way — like she is constantly stalking something and just about ready to pounce. Has a dark sexual allure and this is visible in the way she moves as well.
- Title: Lord of the Wilding
- Gender: Positive/generative masculine
- Element: Earth
- Direction: South
- Color(s): Brown, green, earth tones
- Symbol: Living Staff (wooden staff entwined with ivy)
- Metal: Iron
- Planet: Earth
- Races: Therians, animal-kin, hybrids: centaurs, satyrs, etc.; all children of the woodlands, wilds, and earth.
- Essence: Vitality, sex, nature, all primal things
- Description: Variously a centaur, a stag-man, and a man-wolf. Ithyphallic (i.e., he’s hung and he’s happy). Has a distinct Dionysian aspect, and I keep seeing him with a wreath of grapevines (complete with dangling bunches of grapes) in his hair. If he’s wearing clothing, he wears a long, flowing cloak the reddish-brown color of both dried blood and rich earth. Beneath that, he wears a tunic of deep green (usually with his privates exposed).
- Title: Storm-Singer
- Gender: Masculine androgyne
- Element: Wind (air)
- Direction: North
- Color(s): Light blue, gray, silver
- Symbol: Writing quill or sword
- Metal: Quicksilver
- Planet: Jupiter (he says Mercury is not a planet)
- Races: Celestials, angels, nephilim, children of air and winged ones.
- Essence: Thought, Will, judgment, the Word.
- Description: Tall, thin, and sharp-faced with shoulder-length pale (gray?) hair. Wears either a loose-fitting tunic of grayish-white material or the tunic with a breastplate of some non-lustrous gray metal that is neither silver nor steel. Also wears bracers, greaves, and a thin circlet of the same strange metal. A little haughty and detached. Economical but swift movements.
Neride Eyooli (neh-REED ee-YOOL-ee)
- Title: Lady of Waters
- Gender: Positive/generative feminine
- Element: Water
- Direction: East
- Color(s): Blue, green, purple
- Symbol: Scrying bowl or sphere
- Metal: Copper
- Planet: Venus
- Races: The wise dragons of the depths, nagas, undines, naiads, asrai, and all children of the tides.
- Essence: Healing, emotion, vision, flow
- Description: Long flowing hair with beads and shells tied to the strands. Kohled eyes. Wears nets or veils of many colors. Lots of jewelry. Moves fluidly, sensuously. She is also a dancer.
- Title: We of the Dreaming
- Gender: Plural
- Element: Dream/magick/glamour
- Direction: Within
- Color(s): All and none
- Symbol: Sphere of crystal or a mirror
- Metal: Glass/crystal
- Planet: The multiplicity of worlds
- Races: All, the many-souled
- Essence: Glamoury, magick, Awakening
- Description: Veiled in iridescent, translucent colorless material that looks like it’s been spun from rainbows and spider webs. Almost completely covered head to toe. All you can clearly see are her hands. Everything else keeps shifting — and even this form is a compromise, for otherwise they keep cycling through a multiplicity of forms and faces almost too rapidly to see. The most uncanny and “other” of all the Avatars.
Invocation of the Seven-Pointed Star
Here is the actual ritual as it was run at Kinvention North on March 14, 2004. The actual words of the Avatars were not recorded and were experienced directly by those present for the ritual.
An altar is set up in the middle of the ritual space. The symbols of office for each Avatar are arranged upon this: a halberd or war-axe for Fenecai; a flute for Elerian; a staff for Gwidorian; a quill and parchment for Sephiriel (or alternately a sword); a scrying sphere for Neride; a curved dagger for Hss’tah; a mirror or clear sphere for Illana.
The ritual space is cleansed, and those who will work directly with the Avatars prepare themselves to be receptive to the energy, meditating on their particular Avatar. Once the people who will embody the Avatars are ready, the sigils are scribed on their foreheads. As the sigils are scribed, the throat and solar plexus chakras are opened on each host to facilitate connection with the Avatars. The hosts range themselves around the inside of the circle and are covered with veils. Once they are ready, the rest of the participants enter and form a circle around the inner circle of the Avatars.
First, I want you all to join hands and gather energy. Each of you draw from the essence of what you are, where you come from, all of the elements and forces that feed your soul.
Now, as a group, cycle, refine, and combine these. Weave these varying energies into something that is greater than the sum of its parts. As you refine it, focus it here, in the center of our circle.
What we are building now is a Between-space, a place of crossing over. You can envision it as a temple, or simply a glowing, sacred sphere. It is in this Space that I will invoke the Seven-Pointed Star.
As we work with the Star of the Otherkin, I shall serve as mediator.
I am Seth, Setem-Ansi, Sem-Asa. These are my Names. I am a Walker-Between, and in this rite, I shall be both Priest and Shaman, serving as the intermediary between you and the Avatars that we Call.
In this space we will have communion with beings greater than ourselves. I will not call them gods, for I do not recognize gods as most people understand them. We are all emanations of Divinity, and therefore all beings are gods in their own right.
And yet there is a hierarchy of emanation, and some beings are closer to the Source than others. Avatars such as these I shall call among us today. Now:
To the West, I Call thee, Fenecai, Lord of Fire: dragon and phoenix, who burns and renews.
To the East, I Call thee, Neride Eyooli, Lady of Waters: healer and seer who flows with the tides.
To the North, I Call thee: Sephiriel Storm-Singer: quick-witted angel whose sword is the Word.
To the South, I Call thee: Gwidorian of the Wilding: Earthshaker, therian and animal lord.
Above, I Call thee: Elerian, of the Shining Host: guardian of magick, beauty, and song.
Below, I Call thee: Hss’tah Feliss: soft-footed huntress and priestess of night.
And Within, I Call thee: Illana of the Dreaming: shaper of worlds and Awakener of souls.
West and East,
North and South,
Above, Below, Within.
I Call you here before me:
Stand with us now
as our Guardians and our Guides.
The Time of Changes:
Now my friends: The world is changing and we stand at the crux of it. We have longed for an Awakening, and now it rises around us like a tide. But as the veils slip away, our true nature is revealed. There is a crossroads here, and we must soon make a choice.
We can stay in the shadows and hope to hide, or we can raise our voices and show the world our souls.
By revealing ourselves, we take a great risk, but understanding and acceptance also lie along that route.
We can choose the path of caution and remain hidden among humanity. But even in hiding, our safety is not guaranteed.
This is our quandary: caution or risk? And if we risk revelation, do we have the strength and wisdom to succeed?
Guardians of the Races; Watchtowers, Avatars all!
We call on your power and wisdom to guide us in this time of change.
As each Avatar is invoked, the leader of the ritual scribes the sigil upon the air, sending this resonant energy into the Avatar’s host.
Lord of the Sweeping Flame; Mighty-Winged One:
Ye who stand on the right hand of Destruction,
Tearing apart worlds so creation begins.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Fenecai imparts his message)
She of the Flowing Veils; Mutable One:
Lady whose deep wells and healing waters
Reveal Future, Truth, and Consequence.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Neride imparts her message)
Angel of Action; He of the Swift Wings:
Keen-witted Judge and Guardian,
Who sunders illusion, captivity, and deceit.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Sephiriel imparts hes message)
Lord of the Wild Places; Primal One:
Ye who call us back to our beginnings,
Hearkening to instinct and the lusty flow of life.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Gwidorian imparts his message)
The Beautiful; Fair Scion of Light:
Ye whose music delights and inspires,
Gifting the worlds with magick and joy.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Elerian imparts hir message)
Walker of Shadows; Lady of the Silent Strike:
Keeper of all things hidden,
Whose mysteries may empower or destroy.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Hss’tah imparts her message)
The Many-Souled; They Who Exist Within and Between:
Whose glamour is both madness and revelation,
Throwing wide the gates of consciousness and worlds.
We seek your guidance: What can you give us that will help us succeed?
(Illana imparts their message)
(A moment of silence, to pause and reflect)
The Avatars have spoken. Let us take their counsel and their gifts. Let us each carry these things within, so we may draw upon them when next in need of wisdom, strength, and guidance. Armed with these things, let us walk boldly forward toward the future we have conceived.
Avatars! Watchtowers! Guardians of the Star!
We thank you for your guidance,
And for joining us in this space.
Depart now freely and in peace.
Fenecai and Neride:
Peace, and depart.
Sephiriel and Gwidorian:
Peace, and depart.
Elerian, Hss’tah Feliss
Peace, and depart.
All you who are Illana:
Peace, and depart.
(as the Avatars leave, they break the circle from various points. Those hosting the Avatars take some time alone to release the Avatars’ energy and recover themselves)
This ritual now is ended.
Peace, and depart.
©2008 Michelle Belanger
Edited by Sheta Kaey
I intend to describe in this article a fundamental technique of Hermetic Theurgy that I have developed over the last 20 years, and with any luck the reader will find in my words something of value for themselves. It’s probably best to describe it as “active imagination” as Carl Jung coined the term. Jung noticed that he could find revealing and non-self-gratifying imagery just below the surface of the mind, by making a suggestion to himself and then sitting quietly to see what might develop in his thinking. He found that if he did not steer his thoughts in any particular direction, merely sat as a passive viewer of what his mind might show him, many wondrous things would arise, including solutions to troublesome problems, intuitions, insights into his own nature (and those of others), often with a wash of curiosities that would set him to further pondering. Stillness, of course, is they key. While I have not meditated as often as I probably should, I have heard stories from others using Transcendental Meditation and related techniques about this very thing. Of course, most meditation practices of an Eastern flavor tend to warn against following these story lines and vistas too far, as they are a hindrance to the stillness of mind the meditator desires. I propose that these stories and vistas of imagination can be a key to unlocking the inner area of the deep mind and a conduit for conversation with one’s Holy Guardian Angel (HGA).
I do not say this lightly. About 22 years ago I had a long and intense conversation with the being who is very much in charge of my destiny, and I took the time to write down what I can remember of it in my book Biting Through. What was then a very direct conversation with what seemed like another, infinitely wiser intelligence is now little more than a memory that from time to time provides me with the most startling of insights and memories, typically when I need them the most. It stands to reason that other folks can access this part of their consciousness too, and so long as one doesn’t take it as gospel truth (the revelations are often highly symbolic), one shouldn’t get into much trouble. The caveat here is to keep an open mind and try not to decide that a certain experience means this or that thing. One should merely observe, keep an open mind, and look for the full depth of any possible truths as they might arise later.
We’ve lightly brushed on the key of it here — the suspension of judgement. I once read a book called Applied Imagination, which recommended a nonjudgmental approach to creative problem solving, as it seems that instant judgement of a thought or an idea is enough to derail it from its true course. This book told of a group of problem solvers in a highly productive think tank atmosphere and noted that these people wrote down all ideas that occurred to them, regardless of how silly or inappropriate they might have initially seemed. By this method, they were rewarded with a greater number of creative solutions that might have gone unnoticed had they been squelched promptly. It was as if the free-ranging creative process needed impropriety, silliness and whimsy to operate correctly and to arrive by whatever crooked path at useful solutions. It is much the same way with active imagination — one doesn’t discard the odd bits of imagery or data that float by the mind’s eye; one merely accepts it and remembers it long enough to write it down later. There will be both signal and noise, to be certain, and often layers of meaning that are not initially apparent and that will require the passage of time to understand in greater depth. Much of it will resemble poetry, with unusually linked ideas or foreshortened concepts that seem important pieces of an incomplete picture. When it’s really happening in a big way, and one has the ability to surrender to it and simply write or speak what comes, as it comes, one is directly in the groove, as they say.
This technique has direct application for magical practice, especially with the meditations that happen in connection with the Star Rites or with the Contact of the Power Deeps in the matter of Planetary Magick. The ritual serves to formalize the business of being on the receiving end of a transmission from the deep mind, just as the invocation serves to focus its content. It’s a simple formula really — magically clear the space by casting a circle or setting the wards, tune your mind to the frequency of the matter by invocations and orisons, then still your mind to the degree that somewhere between the chatterings of the “monkey mind,” other data emerge. With time and practice and patient retrospection at a later date, story lines can emerge. While entertaining, these story lines say a whole lot about what is happening inside of one’s head, and in a way not normally encountered by ordinary rational thinking.
Speaking of ordinary thinking, it is good to know that sometimes this data comes in large packets . . . It is difficult to describe exactly, but I’ll say what I can about it. “Normal” creative problem solving (at least as it happens in my mind) typically proceeds from one concept to the next in more or less straight lines, each idea depending in some way upon the one before it. Occasionally, one has a Eureka! moment where some intuition allows one to assemble observations and facts in a very different and productive way, not unlike the story of Archimedes at his bath. For those that do not know the story, it is sufficiently illustrative to retell here.
The regent d´jour of Archimedes’ time was having a royal crown made and he did not trust the maker completely, so he beseeched Archimedes to find a way to learn whether or not the maker had made the crown from the all of the gold supplied to him for the task and had not transferred some of it into his pocket. Of course, weighing the initial gold and the resulting crown would seem a ready test, but it’s quite possible that, say, lead could be used, then gilded such that it would not be noticed without sawing into the crown and looking for it. Puzzling over how this might be accomplished, Archimedes slipped into a hot bath to soak for a while, and noticed that the water rose a bit more than it once did, doubtless due to the dreaded middle-age spread. So far, so good — he had all the data he started out with for this equation, but he suddenly saw it in a different way. He realized that the initial gold displaced a certain amount of water and would do so whether it was formed into a brick or a crown. If lead was introduced (and gold subtracted from the crown) it would displace a different amount of water, even though care may be taken to make it weigh the same. It was at this point that the cry of “Eureka!” sprang from his lips and he ran naked into the street to shout about it, the story goes.
This eureka moment may happen from time to time in creative visualization, but I’d like to introduce the reader to a slightly more bizarre concept, the story-all-at-once phenomenon. The only other time I’ve even heard of the notion was from the late Ben Rowe’s (Josh Norton) web site accounts of his scrying into the Enochian Aethers. He wrote that sometimes he would receive discrete packages of information of which reception he was aware, that would unfold over time and present entire catalogs of information to him, seemingly all at once. The analogy I like to make to describe this thought process is this: Imagine you have a large collection of small, symbolically interrelated objects in a simple, starchy sort of handkerchief, corners held together as a loose bundle. You drop it on a table and it lays open all at once, exposing the objects. Imagine too that you instantly apprehend not just the meanings of the individual objects, but also perceive how they are interrelated with each other and even what sort of relationship they have with each other in Time. Clear as mud?
In terms of the active imagination this articles tries to describe, it’s a bit like drinking out of a firehose. Imagine that, for a moment, you can be behind someone else’s eyes, experience the observations of their senses, reach into the their memories and the swirl of emotions that lurk just beneath thought, the hopes and fears . . . This information from the active imagination can sometimes take that shape, just as certain rich and deeply integral dreams can. The following is an excerpt from Passage D´aur (annotated), a book of writings that describes one such instance.
For ever so few moments, I felt as if I were in the mind of a court minstrel, called to a place to play a sort of role-playing game which was instituted by the Comte of that Court, and which was resounding in a social way throughout the land. Parties were held, ranging from summer picnics to gala balls and it amounted to us poor lads from the neighboring villages and shires, who were sufficiently schooled in the arte musicale to make this calling, going there as a seeming wooing of the ladies that were presented to us. This was no Pagan feast of flesh, I assure you!
This game had rules and had a framework in which these rules might be bent with a perfect cover to a real expression of the game, happening in it’s midst, as it were. While we were most of all boys and young men of no greater fortune than our poor academies can produce, some were young men of foreign courts (or so ’tis said) who come to gaze upon their prospective.
There is a dimension of this game that is just beginning to dawn on me. I was told but I did not understand at first. They say that a man’s soul is female and that is why Botticelli and others paint in the obscure symbols they seem to prefer. They further indicate that praise of the Soul is praise of God and so we are acting in a kind of mummery with song and dance to praise our very Souls, as played by the young ladies of the court and whatever Great Aunt’s Handmaiden might gift her way in. It not only made men of us, but made men of others, by hearing our songs, borne of the praise of the most ancient of Beauties, ever expressing itself in the flower of the present, and filling in those short spans of time between songs sung of War, daring-do and the generally mad howling of apes that otherwise constitutes the music of our streets.
Annotation: It was very real and very personal but nothing like the contents of my ordinary life. I felt as if I were in another’s mind for the space of a few moments and that I had access to everything they knew about the world around them and the moment they were soon to face. Of course, as a bit of a minstrel myself and with an interest in the courtly traditions, I’ve read about some of this, but the depth of what was there to see and feel was breathtaking. Of course, it is an extension of a discussion I’d had with [someone] about being in touch with my anima which I had countered with an illumination about the feminine nature of the soul, as viewed by Dante and his ilk.
Ultimately, these words are but an impoverished sketch of what took place in my mind for those very few moments, for I could hear, taste, see and feel my surroundings and I could think back to my not-so-happy home in a village an unknown distance away. I could almost hang names on dozens of faces of people I’ve certainly never met in this life. Have I touched upon a past life, I wonder? Or is my deep mind wrapping up an answer in fairy-tale clothing with an astonishing depth of scenery? I still don’t know, but am open to any possibility, including attempting to dig out some corroborating evidence of an equally dodgy nature via past life regression hypnosis. Of course, this proves nothing but can add dimension to the study of a given story, by which one might unravel the reason it was presented in the first place.
Another time I beheld a story the setting of which seems close the A.S. current, even if only for its perceived ancient Florentine location:
I enter a chamber at a friend’s or relative’s house and I observe a chessboard. I know that the arrangement of the chessboard is not a game in progress as such, but it represents the deliberate arrangement of pieces in such a way as to describe a situation that he has called me there of which to learn. It is likely that he has guests of some sort and his are the sort of guests that do not need to hear of our news as they are far too central to its power and promise.
Our Uncle is the Duke, and his wife the Duchess, so I expect to see them as the King and Queen of the color opposite the doorway into this room. Their adviser is the Abess of (. . .) who came to this court from the Duchess’s family, so she is the Queen’s Bishop of course. I see that both knights are on the King’s side of the board and that they oppose the other side’s King’s bishop and by that I learn that Charles and Rodney are at odds with the Bishop of (. . .), but I also see that the opposite Queen holds the King in check, and that was what I was there to see. There is a curious pattern of [rooks] that suggests they are moving to cover their Lords, but I cannot discern more without some clues. Ignoring guests, I select a pawn and move it one step to the lateral edge of the game to show that I understood most of what was being presented to me, then I repositioned the knights in such a way as it seemed a whole lot more natural than the result of the tour upon which they had been supposed to ride. It is a game to fight the spies.
I don’t really know who I was in this story, only that my uncle was a powerful and rich man and that my loose lips might sink their ship which necessitated that my cousin (whom I was visiting) and I played a code-game upon the chess set that resided in the drawing room of this mansion. The pieces represented different members of our extended family and showed their current political relationships. My movement of the pieces indicated that I understood the message. I felt as if my cousin could enter the room at any moment and we might play a few turns to provide cover for our communications.
Nikito and Eshabirodja
These scenes are but deep moments in a reverie, but the storytelling function can take on a large scale, offering key moments in the history of a whole life, it would seem. Such is the tale of Nikito and Eshabirodja. Fair warning: this story is terribly personal and rather sad. It has features I’ve never encountered before in my active imagination and they are well worth pointing out. Like much of Passage d’Aur, this story came in direct response to my seeking a greater depth of information in my real life, for I had come to hold a deep and unexpected attraction for someone I have known for many years and was aware over the entire course of time (in which we came to deal with it productively) that there was a pronounced spiritual or karmic dimension to it. Naturally, I wanted to explore that and I felt that my exercises in active imagination might open up some new vistas. I was not disappointed. Bits and pieces of this story came to me over many months.
This place was black almost all the time, else black on gray with some fitful snow. We kept a hearth going on every hour of every day and the aroma of our scat fuel permeated everything and seemed to do so for generations into our past. There was a gentle slope to the river and our living was made from that river, but I can only guess how . . . fish maybe . . . and there may have been beaver or other furs . . .
I think it was a summer camp, an ancestral place where we stayed in that season. It was the only time we had alone. At our other home we lived in the lodge with all the others. On our bitter cold journeys by the river, I came to know you as I know you now. You were called Eshabirodja, for the delight you brought to our repast.
We kept to that way as we grew very old and were venerated, then taken for granted, then ignored. We did what we said we would do and spent ourselves to our last days giving the Salmon to the Family.
This is the first time I ever really felt I got more than mental pictures from this exercise. This time I heard the wind blow, smelled the smoke from turd-fires, and heard her laughter and someone call her name as she came down the lane towards me. It sounded Russian and I thought the caller said something that sounded like “Siberia.” I listen carefully and the name was repeated with different stresses, but still sounded oddly familiar. When I wrote down the name the way it must be spelled and puzzled over why it might be so, I quickly discovered that an actual person’s name was buried amongst it, the letters appearing in exactly the same order as they do in my love’s real name, and that this was the person I was asking about. Typical stuff from the puzzle-maker of my unconscious mind, come to think of it. Thinking about it later, I sorted this out into 2 boxes, one being labeled “past life, mine or someone else’s,” and one being labeled “symbolic story from the unconscious.” I still have no good tools to figure out which words to put in which box. In no event do I believe that the puzzle of the name is anything but my deep mind telling me that this story is about her after some fashion and I’d better pay it some attention. I didn’t know how far it would go. I kept drilling away at it, trying to get some sense of my own name or the name of this place or of my tribe or time but all I got was a collection of letters that could’ve meant anything: N . . . k . . . i? Nicholas? Nikita? It took awhile, but I think I came close.
We sat at the edge of the river and dropped our stakes. I thought about how you are and how you look and that made me think about how I see. Uncle Shadow-vision told me something a long time ago about how he sees, part in color and part in black and white, and I wondered if something like that could make people see different faces on others or maybe not be able to tell anyone apart? I told him that I once mistook someone else for him and called him by that name, but he just said, “I ain’t yer ‘Uncle Scatter-vision.’ Scram!”
After awhile, I get up to pee, and I see that it is I that has put your line out for you, even if you are not here to tend it. When I got back, I rolled up a bomber and sat smoking it while the bats started to come out of the trees that hugged the wide bend in the river. The tops of them were touched with the same pink fire that licked across the ragged horizon.
Nikito is back on the river with Eshabirodja here, but it changes to a memory of my own, seen through the eyes of another. The bomber seems like an invasive thought, or just my word for Nikito was doing.
The moon wasn’t up yet, but when it did come up, I knew I would be reminded of a certain thing. I once actually talked to someone who knew what I was talking about — the sight of the moon passing from cloud to cloud and drawing a silver veil over the things you see so that they seem to change. I remember the night I had my first woman, I held her on the couch where the window was, so we could both feel the restless wind that breathed there in the hot summer, the only cool place just then. She had blond hair and blue eyes but she didn’t look bad at all for a White woman. I did not look at her for very long just then, but even as I did for just a short time, I saw that her face looked a lot like another girl I knew when I was in The School at Madras and again like someone else, a teacher I had. For a minute or two it seemed like she could be just anybody . . . anybody. What a blessing, I thought.
It’s worth pointing out, as I have done in the annotation above, that there is indeed signal and noise and one cannot often tell which is which. If I have no word for what someone is doing or what sort of people they are, my unconscious mind will substitute something more familiar. Nikito and Eshabirodja seem to be primitive Eastern Europeans, but my mind persists in presenting them as Native Americans, probably because my knowledge of the former is almost non-existent and of the latter more familiar. I considered it a possibility that we have two similar stories cut-and-pasted together by my unconscious to illustrate a theme.
This reminds me of the Saki story called The Window. Nikito is very sad because Eshabirodja is gone, but I do not know until the last line if she has gone to pee, gone to town, gone to visit her mother for a year, or gone for good. I’m not sure if Nikito knows either, and there is a hint of madness or forgetfulness about it. His mind feels like a child who is left alone for a time and wonders if his guardian will ever return. Perhaps he enjoys lamenting for its own sake. It’s hard to describe exactly what it feels like to be in his head here, but it mostly feels very hurtful and sad.
These things were written chronologically, and this is the first bit where I realized (a few months later) that the river can be viewed as a symbol of life and death like the rivers Styx and Lethe (or the Jordan, for that matter). He “crosses over the river” and views his life from that side, then returns with a different perspective. Or does he go mad and flee to a hallucination? I sense other layers. Also, I sense that this way of life for him is an adaptation to something very big that changed everything about they way his people interact with the world. The world has changed in some big way and this life is part of his tribe’s adaptation to that change (and there’s a bit of a metaphor to that, too, isn’t there?). Maybe a freak storm changed the course of migrations, maybe a conquering people changed how he earns his keep. It seems to shadow everything he does and I wonder if he is giving Salmon to his people as a fisher might or is he giving this Salmon to traders, to Caesar, to Massah. Salmon, of course, is a Mercurial symbol associated with knowledge and communication and a pretty short trip from “Solomon.”
The face of the sun is hours away, but its light graces the river at my feet and lovingly sweats the fog off the crisp, slow waters. Ducks have been flying by in pairs and groups since there has been enough light to see them — maybe an hour. They don’t know where to go, for it is not warm anywhere right now.
I think you have been gone a long time now, for there is a hole in my wind where your words used to blow, where the scent of your perfume and the glint of eyes still glow. I keep talking to you as if you are there and I also know that you are not there and maybe I wonder if it matters any more. My ass is sore from sitting on the cold ground, but I can scarcely care enough to shift and stretch.
There is here a perfect picture of everything one could want from the great gift of the Spirit: The wide river of Life running through the wasteland of our new world, the knowledge of what needs to be done, who needs to do it and the honor of being one to so dare. Too, there is the further grace that my life and your love may intersect for such a time as they can and give to me this special melancholy moment. It is a hard and cruel diamond, but it shines.
I must have dozed. I pulled myself up and hauled on our lines. I put the fish above where the fire would be if I had remembered to actually build it. I hooked our lines across the limbs of the trees and inspected every knot, wiggled the tiniest scrap of meat onto every barb, then waded out to the log that I could walk across and drop it back into the waters. I decided then to sit on the opposite side of the river.
Things looked different here, aside from just being on the other side of the waters. I could look across the way and see our camp laid out in the pattern dictated by the fewest steps: there was our wanagan, our ramada, our fire, our snowshoes, our sledges and our shivering ponies. Mmm. For them I will build a fire! There is a lot of dry wood on this side of the river.
The fire has been warm now for an hour and the ponies would draw almost as near as I. Will the sun never come over the edge of the canyon? I think about how long you have been gone and I have to weep until I’m done. I cannot remember. I cannot remember anything but placing our lines, building our fire and taking the Salmon to The People.
Later there is a faint sound, as a bird leaping from a slight branch at the top of a tree, and it is at some distance. I hear the calls that come after and listen for what the wind will offer. It passes and is quiet again but only until I hear and feel a pat-pat-pat in the soil — almost, but not yet a sound. I stand, against all odds, against the frost that has frozen my blanket into a strange shape, and I lean against the tree to see farther down the path to our place beside the waters.
Eshabirodja . . . I see you come down the path home again.
Nikito’s last day on earth. He is either mad with grief or just mad period. Eshabirodja is gone and he doesn’t know or cannot remember why or to where, and he cannot cope with his grief. He ceases to care for himself and dies (I think) from pneumonia. His last words are actually a northwestern Native dialect, but it’s the only way I could say what he meant to say.
I do not know what is real, at least in the sense that the White man thinks of a thing as real. I think everything is real and that unreal things are misunderstandings; truth is everywhere and in every thing, but fear and monkey-shine make them seem to be less real than they are or make us so confused that we cannot connect with it and hear its words to us. I am no different than any other man.
Eshabirodja had been gone for such a long time that I did not know whether or not she was real any more. What made it hurt the most is that I did not know what happened to her, and I had to live with that unknowing until it drove me mad and alone into the place of the spirits. I think she went away because she did not like our life and wanted to do something she thought was better than [connecting] Salmon with [People]. Maybe there was a city and she wanted to go there, or maybe there was nothing and she just wanted to walk away, away and keep going away until she learned what else to do. I lived with the torture of believing that she had been savaged and killed on the road by bandits or that she had become a camp follower to give herself in that small way to the greater need. I was sick and I did not get better. I felt the frost on me like a gnawing animal, crouched on my chest as I lay in reeking animal skins. I think the ponies are sick and I haven’t heard the voice of one for all the time I have lain inside out of the snow. I find I have nothing to do but pray that the spirits will come and take me away from this terrible loss . . . spirit-helper have pity on me.
Spirit-helper have pity on me.
Again we have an illustration of a shift in language and content to show an unfamiliarity with what must be the actual language and content. The final phrase is a Siletz or Kallipuia Indian phrase I heard many years ago when I made a recording of two medicine men singing peyote songs at a gathering.
The truly odd thing about this story is that it doesn’t seem to portray in any sense the actual goings-on of my waking life. No one was leaving me (quite the reverse) and I was not terribly sad about the things I was going through. I reminded myself at the time that it is often useful to put myself in the place of other people in the story and try to see it through their eyes in order to gain a different perspective. It seems that these stories are reflections of real events around me, but told from different perspectives to help me see around corners in my mind. There is yet an even deeper version of this phenomenon.
From time to time, it will seem as if the storyteller pauses in the narrative and addresses me directly, offering words of wisdom, couched in the oddest of contradictory phrases. This is usually accompanied by a complete stillness of mind which slowly blooms into a sort of joyous weeping and a cathartic swirl of suppressed emotions. I can typically feel this shift in consciousness very distinctly, it seeming as if my creative faculties are suspended and I am just listening intently to what is said to me. When this happens, I signal it by the use of italics.
Sometimes, and on this occasion certainly, the ‘narrator’ of this story stops telling the story and addresses me directly. I can feel it happen. There is a shift in content, in word and meaning. It is as if a storyteller stops telling the illustrative tale long enough to tell me, the listener, what it means to me personally. These words almost always have many, many layers of meaning and interpretation and so, when I can identify them, I put them in italics. I don’t know whose memory this is, but I don’t think it’s mine. There is no electricity here and it happens at night by the light of glass lamps and fireflies. It seems like Nebraska in the ’30’s for some reason.
Not always in a lonely place do I behold you — sometimes it is at a café on a piazza I cannot name, sometimes on your grandparents’ farm where you held my hand under the table and asked me about the stars. You’d just heard about the pictures in the stars that were put there by the men who would tell stories at the gatherings. You wanted to know what I knew and I only knew about the pictures and I pointed them out to you, if I remembered them correctly. It was enough for you then, and made for us a simple moment to treasure.
As children of Earth and the Starry Heavens, our story is in those stars, forming a long way back in the bright spiral of time and calling out to our present ears as a collection of words upon the only Tongue that speaks the Word: I am your Heart. I am your Pain. I am the reason for your next breath. Thou art my life and I love thee. Your own love is a reflection of that and no more, but that is more than enough. Do not ever forget that.
I cannot read these words without tears.
I was mad at my wife, mad at the feelings I had in me and mad that I made the object of my love mad at me. I fell off the tobacco wagon and was struggling to climb back on. I held my wife in my arms and smelled Pall Malls distinctly, as if a cigarette was burning in the room and recalled that her mother died of cancer and that was her brand. It felt like a presence, a ghost. I don’t smoke Pall Malls. My muse speaks again and in that twisted and maddening ‘angel-speak’ that simultaneously enlightens and obscures.
You don’t need my words want my words reveal my words
Speak my words but hear my words you do in the deep of yrself.
Today I held you while we both cried and I felt your mother draw near.
Was it my own breath reeking of sticky yellow death or the touch of her love flavored by what she could not leave? Quitting is easier than this but the sea must be calmer than this I tell myself today
It cannot be every day that way
Dear heart, I suffer with you and in you
&you are every woman I have ever known
as I am every man I have ever been
Angel-speak w/o preamble. Possibly one of the most important insights I’ve received from this time. It is presented in an unusually clear fashion.
Listen to me, you had an important thought there: She (whoever She is) is the love of your life but cannot be your love of Life, dig? If I exist as a different octave of your being, it is proper to say that I am the Life of your love. This is a formula, and when you work it forwards you find Her. When you work it backwards you find Me. See again:
Life of your love . . . you’re love of Life . . . Love of yr life
Thee . . . Thine. . . Thou
Solve Coagula Est!
“Toluca” is your invocation
and you must know by now that you are but one more flower blooming in a bucket of shit
“Toluca” is a poem I wrote 20 years ago and it has always felt special to me. I’ve recorded it as a music & spoken word piece and performed it from time to time, and whether hearing it on tape or performing it live, the room is always very still. Here I am told that it is nothing less than my own personal invocation of my Holy Guardian Angel and I have since used it as such to solid effect.
There is an immense wealth of information available to us, if we’d only take the time to listen and to suspend immediate judgement. The rewards are as great as one’s patience, both with the process and with oneself. It took me many years to unravel “Toluca,” and it hasn’t revealed all of its secrets yet. Twenty years ago, my only clue that this poem was in any way unusual was the fact that, at some point, I began to quote verbatim the Bhagavad Gita at decent length. I have read the Gita, but I certainly have not memorized it and didn’t ever expect it to show up in such fashion. I shall close this curious essay with “Toluca.”
Toluca is home sometimes where you stare down the road with black and ancient and wond’rous eyes you see your soul entangled in mine but this you do not yet know . . .
Can these elaborately constructed forms differ so much from one another that no route can be see of forward-going-apace? The path of metamorphos-is is the path of divine light and also horror.
Thou art desire . . . thou art desire
Thy beauty is in my I
Thou art madness . . . thou art madness
Thy beauty is in my I
Thou art God . . . Thou art Goddess
Thy beauty is truth & lie
Both truth & lie
I hate my masque
Seven years of de-votion Seven years of backward motion
Had I but known the words I would have penned the song
“Voyage on your blood for it is love & no other”
The spiritual equivalent of the hydrogen bomb? Cum now be reasonable if you be know a sage then so shall it be — be not distracted that you do not perceive the slightest wisdom in what you are doing at this moment or any other who cares to seek for that perfect freedom? One man perhaps in many thousands then tell me how many of those who seek that perfect freedom shall know the total truth of my being?
Perhaps one . . . Perhaps every one
As we are all one and that one is all of us, who can it matter who among us would run to take the light?
(For it is all ours always was always will be) You have nothing in your I your I is in me of me it is me
I am you
©2007 Frater Auxilior Arti. Edited by Sheta Kaey.
Frater Auxilior Arti (nee Fr. Adsum Iterum) is an initiate of the Astrum Sophia, co-founder of the Companions of the Glyph and author of the Book of the Glyph and PRAXIS: The 2nd Book of the Glyph. A life-long student of the paranormal, he brings a scientific/Fortean viewpoint to the subject, a thing he feels is sadly neglected. You can find his Facebook page here.