"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real
All of the buildings, all of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody's head

Peter Gabriel, "Mercy Street"

THE ABILITY TO REASON, to draw conclusions from observation and experience, has been crucial to the success of the human species.  Of this there can be little doubt.  But the flip side of reason, the ability to see the world "as it is," is the ability to see the world "as it might be."  This power, imagination, is one of our most extraordinary gifts.  It is not merely the source of our arts and cultures, but our technologies as well.  It lies close to the heart of what makes us--for now, at least--the dominant species on the planet.

Despite its power (or perhaps because of it), imagination tends to make people a bit nervous.  Like magic, a word to which it is related, imagination is at turns dismissed, trivialized, and condemned.  There is a sense that it must be restrained, sanctioned, quarantined.  We chuckle at it in children, but expect them to bridle it in adolescence and enter the "real world" (something I have written about here). We could argue this is due to its mercurial nature; imagination is often erratic and unpredictable, acting as an external muse rather than something we switch on and off like a coffee maker.  Imaginative work is a sort of dance, where the imagination acts as an equal partner rather than a subordinate.  As any artist will tell you, imagination needs to be wined and dined.  It can be controlled, but doing so cripples and eventually withers it.  To really let imagination do its thing, you have to be willing to let go. But most people only feel comfortable engaging with imagination in a limited, controlled way--such as by reading a novel, playing a video game, or watching a television program.  Actually unleashing it and allowing oneself to be carried away is usually left to artists...widely considered an odd bunch to begin with.

It's unfortunate that such attitudes exist, that people are afraid of letting their imaginations "run away with them."  It is also completely understandable.  At issue here is the nature of "power," and of society's attitudes towards it.

The beginning of despair lies in being unable to imagine anything better.  That leads to surrender.

There is a deep misunderstanding of what "power" is.  The word comes to us via French from the Latin potis, "to be able, capable," and is cousin to the English words potential and possibile.  There is a hint to its identity in this.  While we are generally taught that power is synonymous with "control," as in power "over" something, true power is the capacity to do and more importantly to create.  On some level we all understand this; Abrahamic faiths often refer to God, the Supreme Power, as the "Creator," and few aspects of human existence are treated with as much awe and sanctity as the power to create new human life.  Paradoxically we look askew at imaginative power, the power to create new ideas.  Indeed, it has often been said that the tragedies of history all stem from a lack of imagination.  It goes back to the obsession with control, and the desire by societies to control, regulate, and dictate the ideas that make up that particular culture.  When we talk about dictators wanting to control what people think, what we are really saying is that authoritarians want to control what people can imagine.  The beginning of despair lies in being unable to imagine anything better.  That leads to surrender.  In the interest of keeping control, those at the top of a society must limit the populace's ability to dream.

So very few of us then allow ourselves the experience of imagination as creative play.  This is tragic, because the imagination--like a muscle--only grows stronger with use.  Many of the same activities that lead to weakness of the body simultaneously lead to weakness of the imagination.  Sitting passively watching the latest big budget superhero film, the new season of Game of Thrones, or playing the most recent release of a favorite video game all seem to be exercises in imagination, but in reality these are mediums where all the imagining has already been done for you.  This benefits both authority and the entertainment industry--which like a drug dealer makes the public dependent on its product for "escape"--but does little to benefit the individual.  This is especially pernicious for children.  Where once they went outside to run and play, making up their own adventures and stories, today they remain indoors spoon-fed someone else's.

We end up in a situation, then, where people require re-education to do what should be completely natural for them.  No, not everyone should have equal imaginative capabilities, any more than we should all be able to lift the same amount or run just as fast, but we should all know at least how to sit down and make up stories, close our eyes and visualize, or engage in creative play without feeling self conscious about it.  Even reading--which like sex or dance is a creative pairing between two individuals, one providing the words and the other painting the images in his or her head--is becoming less common these days.  I have no doubt that this deterioration of imagination lies at the heart of many of the political movements we see these days, and I feel strongly enough about this to write an entire blog about it. 

...the key to a better life, for oneself, one's family, one's society, lies first in the ability to imagine one.

The connective tissue in all that I discuss here is imagination as creative play, a guilty pleasure that so many people have been taught to keep away from.  But the key to a better life, for oneself, one's family, one's society, lies first in the ability to imagine one.  This is the Promethean theft of fire from the gods.  It is the mercurial and awe inspiring heart of true magic. The first step in attaining this power is to allow oneself to go against oppressive norms and prohibitions intended to stifle it.  The road to freedom begins with allowing oneself to engage in the simple magic of childhood, to give oneself time to play.        


Thursday, May 4, 2017


AS BEFORE I fell upwards through space, stars and worlds shooting past me.  Above me I saw a great orb of rose pink, surrounded by a burning corona of pale green fire.  I was pulled into this sphere, descending into delicate clouds of dawn pink.  

As the clouds parted I landed gently at the shore of a small, still pond, in the middle of a green wood.  Lily pads and pink lotus blossoms floated on the waters.  Crickets chirped, and dragonflies Flitted about.  It was twilight; in the west, through the trees, the sky was brilliant gold; overhead, rose pink clouds drifted.  Behind them I caught glimpses of the green fire, like the northern lights.  The air was still and heavy, humid, ripe with the scent of a thousand flowers.  Everywhere I heard the buzzing of insects.

Then I noticed the statue.  It stood in the center of this pond, an Isis figure of rose-colored marble, cradling the infant Horus in her lap.  

I waited a few moments at the edge of this pond, realizing the sun’s position had not changed.  This world seemed locked in eternal sunset.  I turned slowly around, looking at the shadowy silhouettes of the tree line and the velvet blue haze of the woods behind.  I saw that the pond was at the bottom of a great, bowl shaped depression, like an ancient crater.  I decided to see what was up along the rim.

I fought my way through the thick reeds and pussy willows that grew along the pond, and then ducked my head under the branches as I entered the trees.  Here I scrabbled up a slope covered in old pine needles.  Eventually I reached the edge of the rim, and my breath caught at the sight of a magnificent view.

The bowl shaped depression, it turned out, was the cauldron of a long extinct volcano.  I was standing then atop this high peak.  Under the bluish dark of twilight, I beheld beautiful mountain valleys, green with rich farmland and vineyards.  These shone green and gold in the fading light.  Jagged mountain peaks concealed the horizon, capped with snow.  Everything was verdant and lush.  It seemed to me it must be late summer, just before harvest time.

Suddenly, to my right, I heard a stealthy sound.  Peering through the trees I spotted a fawn with a pale brown coat dappled with white spots.  It emerged from the trees and paused at the head of a thin deer path, watching for me.  I understood it wished me to follow.

As I approached it started down the deer path into the valley below.  I followed it.  The course zig-zagged down the mountainside through the twilight forest, the tall trees looking to me like cedar.  Now and again the fawn would stop and look over its shoulder at me, to make sure I was keeping up.  Beneath the trees there was a thick carpet of ferns, tall enough that if I stepped off the deer path I might disappear into them.  So I stuck to the path and followed my guide.

We emerged at the bottom of the valley, at the edge of one of the fields.  To my right was a farmstead, a collection of single-story stone buildings with thatched roofs, surrounded by a low stone wall.  The fawn walked along the edge of this wall to a square gateway, two straight pillars with a lintel laying across them.  The lintel was inscribed with what looked to be Norse or Germanic runes.

The fawn turned to pass through this gate.  As she did, she underwent a startled transformation.  A little girl merged from under a fawnskin cloak, which she neatly folded and tucked under her arm.  She was eight or nine years old, with pale blonde hair in a long single braid.  Her skin was pale, eyes green, and she wore a simple dress of spotless white.  A crown of pink flowers encircled her head.  She gestured for me to follow, and passing under the arch I entered a paved courtyard.  The cobblestones were wet; I had the impression they had just been washed.  In the center of this courtyard was a well, and to my right was a stone and thatched cottage.  To my left was a barn.  At the opposite side was a small yard.

My name is SOMUE, I told her.  Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Love is the law, love under will, she replied.  My name is MIALO. (in Enochian 194, = to PARADIZ “young girl, virgin”)

Is this BAG, the 28th Aethyr?

It is.  She gestured across the courtyard and over to the yard.  Please follow me.  I will take you to Mother.

I nodded, following her into the yard.  To the left of the were stables, and I could see the heads of beautiful white horses with golden manes.  As we approached the yard I saw a small pond with white swans sailing on its surface.  Overhead, geese flew in a V formation.  There were apple trees, and at the far edge of the yard another low stone wall with the vineyards stretching out behind it.  

The most striking thing in this yard, however, was a white marble fountain.  A young satyr (faun) was pouring wine from an urn into the pool.  The fountain was carved with a motif of grapes and vines.

Behind the fountain, with her back to me, was a woman.  Like the girl she had white blonde hair in a long braid down her back.  On her head was a circlet of gold.  She wore a gauzy, pale green cloak over a long dress of rose pink.  When she turned towards me, i was startled.  She didn’t have a face.

This is Mother, the little girl told me.  I greeted the woman, but she did not—could not—answer.  Then the little girl dropped her fawn cloak on the grass and stepped forward to embrace the Mother.  The moment they touch the girl disappeared into the woman as if absorbed.  Now, the woman looked at me with a new face…Mialo’s, but older.  

Greetings SOMUE.  I am DIAFNE.

It seemed perfectly normal to her that she had just consumed her child in this way, so I nodded my head and collected my thoughts.  I have come to learn the nature of this Aethyr.  What can you teach me of it?

Nothing, she replied.


What I know cannot be communicated, only experienced.  She explained.  

I thought about this.  How?

She gestured for me to sit beside her on the edge of the fountain.  Taking up a heavy golden cup engraved with sporting fauns, dryads, and grapes, she dipped it into the pool of wine.  First drink this.

I took the cup.  The wine was deepest violet, spelling of fragrant spices.  A warning touched my heart.  How do I know I can trust you?

She stood and showed me the LVX signs.  At their conclusion, the clouds seemed to part on the horizon and shafts of golden light fell upon her.  I saw her gown was translucent, and beneath could make out her breasts and the curves of her body.  Suddenly, as I watched, she transformed.  Her garments faded and became pale white chased with golden threads.  Her skin became white marble.  Her eyes looked like amber stones, and her hair and eyelashes were golden threads.  She seemed to absorb the sunlight as she had the child, transforming into this goddess, a living statue of terrible beauty.

I drank the wine, feeling its warmth spread through me.  It seemed to concentrate especially between my thighs, and I felt a sudden intense arousal.

Knowledge of BAG can only be obtained by experience and union.  The formula is love.  Will you enter into me, Thelemite? 

To my great surprise, I felt a powerful desire to do this, a hot, all-consuming lust.  She undressed, letting her gown fall to the grass and then lay down across it, spreading her arms for me.  I immediately undressed as well, my eyes roaming her body.  It was perfectly smooth and white, gleaming faintly.  I lay atop her, eye to eye, and entered into her with a feeling of intense pleasure.

As we made love a curious thing started happening.  I felt her beneath me, felt myself inside her…but at the same time I felt from her point of view.  I felt my body lying on top of me, felt the pressure of me moving inside my body.  The shifting continued until I was her, and could no longer feel myself.  I was the woman making love to a stranger who looked like me.  

Orgasm approached,  and now my consciousness seemed evenly divided between two bodies.  I felt the build up to orgasm inside my body, and felt the energy mirrored in hers.  I felt myself giving and receiving pleasure.  In fact, I could no longer tell who I was any longer.  Sexual intercourse was happening but subject and object were blurred.  We were pure action and reaction, identity was gone.

Then there was a blinding white light, a sensation of warmth.  I seemed to be floating in a milky white light, warm, rainbow hued like pearl.  I had no idea who i was, what I was, where i was.  There was only Being.

Gradually, I seemed to condense, to become more and more “myself.”  It seemed I had a body again, an identity, an individuality.  I was floating naked in a pool of white, silky fluid, inside an amber colored vessel, egg-shaped.  I immediately understood I was in a womb of some sort.  Her womb.

Once I understood this, we became separate again.  She was standing fully clothed again before me, beside the fountain.  i was dressed as well, and dazed.

The formula of Love is the dissolution of the Ego, she said.  Love is Death, and simultaneous Birth.  The sperm and the egg die to become something new.  Salt dissolves into water, changing both.  Identities become lost to create something new.  You cannot truly love and remain the same person you were before.

All of this…is Venusian?  It was a feeble question and I was ashamed afterwards of asking it.  So far i was still struggling to understand a pattern to the Aethyrs, and it seemed to me TEX had been like Yesod, RII like Hod, and now BAG like Netzach.  

Here is the secret of Love and Death.  Of the Desire to Die.  The Pain of Pleasure.  If you see this as Venusian, so be it.  The Mystery to be learned is that Love and Death are the same.

Physical death, the end of life…is Love?

She nodded.  Like the sperm merging with the egg what you are is changed, not lost.  What you did, how you acted, the information of your existence remains embedded in the Universe, which was changed by your presence in it.  There can be no death for those who truly live.

 I considered what she was saying.  This is beyond communication?

Communication requires division, separation.  Union erases these.  Love is that Union.  You are required to know this, ‘Secretum Operis Magni Unitas Est.’

She turned her gaze and gestured back towards the courtyard and the gate.  It is time for you to leave.  You know what you need for the road ahead of you.  She handed me a pink lotus blossom.  Take this as a reminder.

I accepted the gift and made my goodbyes.  From the woman, MIALO emerged again, as a fawn once more.  She led me out of the gate and back up the deer path.  As we ascended, and finally reached the rim, I realized it was no longer sunset but dawn.  The sun was on the eastern horizon, in the same twilight.  

I left the fawn and descended back into the bowl-like depression.  As I entered the reeds around the pond, the vision ended.

Monday, May 1, 2017


FIRST THERE WAS a yawning void, and I was falling upwards into it.  I seemed to fall forever.  Then there was light in the darkness, a growing brightness.  Stars, planets, galaxies rushed past me.  Was I falling, or were they?  Upwards, faster and faster, I sped.  Then, above me, I beheld an immense black orb, burning in an aura of orange light not unlike the corona of the sun.  I was racing towards this, passing unburnt through the orange flames and swallowed whole in the darkness of the sphere.

My feet touched ground.  Slowly, as if lights were being raised in a darkened theater, a world around me emerged.  The brightness grew intense, like noonday.  Before me towered a giant Caduceus, forged of brass.  It seemed to me more Egyptian than Greek.  It was embedded like a flagpole in the ground, in the very center of a circular plaza orf brilliant white stone.  From the base of this Caduceus, that same orange light, like fire, rose and swirled upwards around the shaft.  It did not burn the metal, but caused the pole to hum and vibrate, wobbling rhythmically. 

I looked around me.  Around the edge of the plaza were greco-roman columns, of the same white stone.  Above was a clear blue sky, dazzling.  A few puffy white clouds hung in the air.  The entire plaza was open and airy, a soft breezing blowing through.

I strolled towards the edge of the plaza.  From there, I saw I was atop a high, grassy hill, green lawn stretching down a great distance around me.  All around were green, rolling hills, treeless, but each carved with chalk figures dug into the turf, reminding me of figures like the Uffington White Horse in England.  But these were not animals, or giants.  Each hill bore a variety of symbols, sometimes geometric figures, sometimes the runes or letters of dozens of different alphabets.  I marveled at this, walking around the circumference of the plaza looking out at the endless sea of strange, carven hills. 

Then I sensed movement behind me.

I turned to behold a Sphinx.  It was strolling away from me, towards the opposite side of the plaza.  It had the immense, tawny body of a lion, and great wings feathered white and brown like a hawk.  Its tail, however, a living Caduceus…a lion’s tail ending in a smaller pair of wings and around which two serpents, red and green, coiled.  Cautiously, I approached it.

Excuse me, I am SOMUE.  Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

It turned slowly to face me.  It had a man’s face, with kohl around the eyes, and a pharaonic beard and head dress.  Under this, however, hung the pale, naked breasts of a woman from its chest.  It stared impassively at me.

Is this RII, the 29th Aethyr?

The creature face a nod.  That it is, Thelemite.  The sphinx spoke with the high, sweet voice of a little girl.

May I ask your name?

I am XILOPE, it answered.  I simultaneously heard and saw it.  You have questions, Thelemite.

I hesitated a moment, considering where to start.  What is the nature of this place?

It is the beginning of Bindings, of Yogas, of Religions.  The Sphinx replied.  This is where the Higher Planes are linked to your world.

It’s nature is communicative?  I saw the symbols in the hills.

The creature licked its front paw and nodded.  All words and symbols have their origins here.  This is where the Logos is made Flesh.  From these raw materials are hammered the realms of TEX and the Watchtowers.  But symbols are not the same as truths.  They suggest the truth, but cannot claim it.  To know the Real you must transcend the symbols, and cross the lightless dark of the Abyss.

I shuddered at this, and nodded, looking out at the horizon.  Somewhere out there lay the Abyss.  Is RII Mercurial then?

The creature flicked its tail.  In the sense that it connects the worlds of Gods to Men, yes.

RII is the foundation of thought?  Is that correct?

The Sphinx yawned and nodded again.  Obviously.  But not the foundation of experience.

How can I better understand this?  I asked.

The Sphinx indicated that I should follow, and so I did.  We left the plaza together and strolled down the grassy hillside.  At the bottom of the hill flowed a crystal clear stream.  As I looked more closely I saw it was not exactly water, but a sort of silvery, flowing light.  Around the stream grew tiny flowers of scarlet and yellow. 

There, Thelemite.  The cup.  The Sphinx pointed with its nose.

Beside the stream, on a small rocky ledge, was a silver chalice.  It was engraved with alchemical symbols, and had two handles, like wings, in the shape of laurel leaves.  You must drink, the Sphinx informed me.

Strangely, this made me nervous.  For a moment, I looked at the stream and it now seemed mercury, which I knew was highly toxic.  So I asked the Sphinx to give me a sign that it was a friend and not a foe.  

Clearly bored, it reared up on its hind legs to give the LVX signs.  When it fell back to all fours it watched me through lidded eyes.  Satisfied?

I nodded, and lifting the heavy cup dipped it into the stream.  Raising it to my lips, I drank.

As soon as I drank, a thousand million characters exploded in my mind.  Every letter of every alphabet, every glyph, every number, every possible symbol lost or yet to be discovered flashed through my brain.  It was overwhelming.  Endless streams of silvery data poured through my consciousness, and I understood wholly and completely that all manifest things are formed from pure information.  Anything that existed was a string of code.

Then, I blacked out.

I cannot say how long I was unconscious, but I opened my eyes in a bed of red velvet, the cushions trimmed with gold tassels.  There was a low table beside me, bearing a bowl of fruit.  An ornate Persian carpet, also crimson and gold, covered the floor.  Incense was burning.  All around the bed were scattered books and scrolls.  I looked around and realized I was in a great orange tent, like that of some bedouin king.

The Sphinx lay at the foot of the bed.  It raised its head when it saw me awake.  When you feel strong enough, you should perhaps return to your realm.

I sat up in bed.  That drink?  Was that the nature of Mercury I took into me?

You must gather what you will need for your journey.  What is now in you was in you before, but a seed has begun to grow.  You will now develop your mercurial powers.

I placed my feet on the floor as the Sphinx sauntered over and opened the tent flaps.  Sunlight streamed in.

I stood, and followed the creature out.  We were encamped by the side of the stream, at the base of the hill where the plaza stood.  

You may return any time that you wish, the Sphinx told me, but I can instruct you further only as your initiation deepens.

Thank you, I replied, and started back up the hill.  Now I walked a white stone path, and each stone bore a distinct character.  Then I realized that each of the red and yellow flowers growing on the hillside also bore a character, as did each and every blade of green grass.  Even the motes of pollen drifting through the air had their own unique markings.  Everything around me bore information for those who could read it.  The world was a book, waiting to be interpreted.

I re-entered the plaza, and immediately began falling upwards, back to the Earth.

Here ends the Vision of RII.