So, I had a few thoughts to myself lately on what I’ve been doing, where I stand, and the like, especially with regards to the whole lot of nothing I can account for these past…what, seven? ten? months. I figure that I can use this, too, as a learning experience and gain from it, and if I can learn from it, I can write about it. Besides, it’s not like I’ve been wearing you, dear reader, out with an endless stream of posts these past few moons. I apologize that this is something of a navel-gazing whinefest, but it’s something that, perhaps, some of my readers could use. While the burnt hand teaches best for some (e.g. myself), I’d rather those who can learn from the examples of others do so from me.
I don’t know where to really begin or even how to really discuss it, but I suppose I could always start with a list and give a rough chronological order of things. Mind you, I plan on being vague about a few events, but it should give you an outline of the magnitude of things.
- Back in October 2014, despite a few of the good things that happen, there were other things happening beneath the surface. Things for me and mine got really rough and there was a massive falling-out. There was isolation, there was drama, and there were tears. I personally got really knocked off-balance, and even to this day am still trying to get my bearings back.
- In early November, some of the problems of the preceding month had been cleared up; perhaps fittingly, everything in October happened during a Mercury retrograde, and as soon as Mercury went direct again, things started picking up and being picked up and put back together. Some of the breaks were mended, but only some; mutual animosity, as well as righteous indignation and asshattery, had permanently assured me that some breaks were permanent. Good for that.
- In late November, I performed what was intended to be an empowerment ritual using a well-known, lengthy psalm which had some massive and unanticipated side-effects. This opened my life up to amazing and awesome new people, but at the same time, dredged up a sealed Pandora’s box of emotional what-the-fuckery I thought I had sealed and buried for good a long time ago. Still, if even King Solomon couldn’t permanently seal the demons of the Lemegeton Goetia in a brass vessel under the sea, I suppose I shouldn’t have expected any differently. Some of those personal demons are still hanging around and lingering at the corners of my eyes, and the only way I can face them now is head-on; how is still yet to be determined.
- In December, my partner and I took two steps towards being together in the eyes of God, gods, and men: not only did we exchange our rings in our engagement, but I started playing Final Fantasy XIV, a massively multiplayer online RPG which is frickin’ awesome.
- In February 2015, I undertook my first major initiation in the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, which significantly changed my outlook on more than a few topics personal and magical, not to mention completely thrashed my energetic and spiritual state of being for at least one solid weekend and, to a lesser extent, several weeks afterward.
- In early July, between visits from a good magical colleague of mine, an upcoming party, and a rather busy week at work, out of whimsy, I remembered one of the holiest acts I as a human and magos can do: the Hymns of Silence. Even briefly, standing outside on my patio smoking a cigarette in the work week on a humid summer night, that little shadow of an echo of a resonance caught me off-guard and…broke something in me, something that really needed to be broken, something that needed to be snapped. It wasn’t violent, it wasn’t sharp, it wasn’t painful; it was like taking out an extraneous support beam that didn’t need to be there. I’m not even sure “broke” is the right word. Starting about this point, I abruptly put a hold on playing FFXIV, feeling burnt out due to repetition in the game as well as personal drama with the group I play with.
- In the transition between late July and early August, I accepted a new job position within my current office, one which has great potential for my career, personal development, and (most awesome and utilitarian) income. This is causing some changes in my routine and how I approach people, as having to start a new job (even in a familiar environment) is going to cause me to be hyperaware of certain elements in myself and around me. Plus, now that I won’t be able to work from home for several months at minimum, I’ll need to develop a better routine to keep me in shape and in line.
So that’s about where I stand. Not exactly the most epic of journeys, but every road has its flat and boring stretches, I suppose.
What I want to focus on here is the effect that playing FFXIV was having on me, especially now that I’ve been divorced of it for a few weeks now. I admit, I enjoy the company and interaction of the people I play with, and the world of Eorzea that Square-Enix built up for us to play in is beautifully crafted and exceedingly well-done, and I miss hanging out with my free company and our antics. That said, what’s been interesting, and something that I’ve noticed more and more as of late, is that I can pretty solidly say that I was relying on FFXIV for more things than just entertainment for…pretty much eight months of my life. To be fair, I think I needed it; shit was getting too heavy even for me to healthily deal with, and I needed an escape.
So escape I did, and took a break from the rest of the shit that was going on around me. In those eight months, I’ve done fuck-all. Sure, I’ve kept up with commissions for crafts and divination readings, taught my students as I’ve agreed to do, and led or undergone a few rituals here and there, but I can’t say with any level of honesty that I’ve been active in my magical life. I haven’t bothered with pretty much any of the tasks I set for myself to accomplish at the start of 2015, I haven’t kept up with my prayers or offerings, and when I have gone into my temple room, it’s usually to get something for myself instead of actually doing Work. I’ve ended up putting on a few more pounds than I had, and the Quimbanda tronco I built on my own based on ley-person guidance has been shut and more-or-less ignored only right after I built it. I’ve barely even kept up with blogs on my RSS feed and haven’t really been active with other magicians besides the occasional theory or theology discussion with friends, and as you may have noticed, I’ve barely had anything to say on my own blog.
I’ve completely wasted my time pursuing simple antics of fun and relaxation, which even sometimes produced problems on its own accord, in a made-up world not of my own creation, obeying its own sets of rules that I have willingly submitted myself to. Dear reader, take note: if you have even a barest glimmer of Hermetic or Gnostic cosmology and anthropogony, or if you’ve read some of my metaphors for human existence in the Hermetic worldview before, you can see the conundrum. This world is beautiful, but also incredibly seductive; our true origin is not here, but Elsewhere, in the All. And yet, not only have I forgotten that much on an intellectual level, I’ve even gone so far as to forget myself in this world and get lost in a tinier, even more beautiful and seductive world, forgetting even my incarnate origin and work in this world. But hey, at least I can see that now, and I can treat the world of Eorzea in the archonic grip of Square-Enix as the fun side-show it really is.
What’s peculiar is that I still haven’t gotten my bearings straight yet after several weeks. Rather, instead of just replacing my work in FFXIV with my Work in the cosmos, which is what I’d like to claim and what would intellectually make sense to do, I’ve just kinda been…adrift. I’ve been experiencing what might be seen as symptoms of addiction withdrawal (as MMORPGs tend to cause in certain people), or what might be seen as depression: lack of energy to do things, general thoughtlessness, increased sleep (which would normally be a blessed thing), unwillingness to focus on the tasks before me, yada yada. It’s almost embarrassing, but now I’m starting to see my situation with clearer eyes than I’ve had in months: I lost the threads of my Work and haven’t picked them up again. I’ve picked up other threads to fill the gap in time, but now that I’ve dropped those, I haven’t yet picked up the new threads of my Work. Call it a lull, or a change in direction where the mere act itself of looking in another direction is taking a long time. The fact is that I have not yet given myself anything to substantially and substantively Do to fill this void of time and energy, and it’s taking its toll on me and driving me into another, different unhealthy place.
I lost the threads I once wove, and I’ve been struggling to find a new one to pick up and start weaving again. But, in a tapestry, there are countless threads with which to work, even if it’s just tying a few of them them up for good.
Recently, I picked up one thread I had lost a ways back. Some of you may remember that I developed an interest in astragalomancy, or Greek knucklebone divination, late last year after I finally got a book on the subject. Yes, it still is an interest of mine, but memorizing all 56 oracular verses proved more difficult than I had anticipated, and given the knockings-around I’ve had, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I wasn’t going to memorize them anytime soon. Still, I didn’t want to lug the book around with me just for reference, so I got myself a tiny little black journal, about the size of my palm, that I wanted to copy all the verses into so I could have an enchiridion, a handbook of sorts, I could consult at will. I planned on copying verses into it during the downtimes I had in the office, but either found myself too busy or just too lazy to do so. Recently, I decided (while working at home, no less!) to finally copy down those last…gosh, more than half of the verses that I hadn’t touched in months. And, even though it’s such a minor task of copying down words from one medium into another, it…it was good. Even the most basic and elementary of activities, picking up a book and just copying notes out of it, made me feel a little satisfied with things.
Even the smallest thread can act as a sturdy rope, if it’s all you’ve got. And you need something to hold onto and climb up in order to get out of a pit, however deep.
I have many shelves of books on astrology, divination, magic, religion, and cult. I have a temple room filled with idols and offering cups and magical tools of great power. I live on a land filled to bursting with life and spirits. I have friends, colleagues, and teachers both in the physical and online who surround me, showing me countless possibilities of work and the rich rewards thereof. Shit, I have my own destiny and path to walk, and sitting on a bench beside the road playing chess is not getting me anywhere, especially when I haven’t set up a tent to keep me out of the rain or a fire to cook food. Me neglecting my Work is not only disrespectful to the spirits, angels, gods, and saints that I’ve called on before, it’s disrespectful to my friends and students and others who look to me and check up on me, and it’s disrespectful to myself and my own well-being. I know I have shit to do, and I know I have projects waiting for me, and I know I have places to go and things to do.
It’s time I’ve picked up a few of those dangling threads again. Who knows? Maybe, in the mess I left for myself, I’ll find a few of those that I dropped.