Might Doesn’t Always Make Right

Holy hell, it’s been a weekend.  I went down to the beach in southern Virginia to visit my family, ostensibly to help my mother sift through (read: throw away) my late grandmother’s belongings and rearrange the (excessive) furniture in her (overcrowded) condo.  That I did, but I also had fun besides.  However, between clubbing, hanging out with a good friend, taking my mother out to dinner, getting new bits of jewelry for my piercings, exploring a haunted road with a friend, and fixing a demonic possession issue that happened to said friend, today would’ve been the perfect sick day to take off.  It’s that last bit I want to talk about.

Now, I happened to grow up in and have friends from a very old part of the country filled with battle sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and plenty of other old places besides.  My friend and I were hanging out late on Friday night, and and we decided to make a drive around the place to Yorktown, VA, noted for being the last battle of the Revolutionary War and having a fancy little riverside beach.  Right nearby is a road well-known for its negative energy called Crawford Road; neither of us knew anything else besides it being a bad place.  Being young and adventurous, and being both interested in the supernatural (me a magician, him a life-long reluctant psychic and spiritist), we decided to venture out and drive down Crawford Road.  At midnight.  In the dark.  On a rural, no-lane-marking, no-streetlamps forest haunted road.

To be brief, I didn’t like the feel of the place at all.  It was like a throbbing malignance, being watched at, sorrow and anger all at once on all sides.  I sensed, however, one main presence sort of hovering over us as we drove down the road; I was saying prayers of light and kept my brights on, which I knew irritated the spirit because Light versus Dark, Q.E.Duh.  I was also seeing outlines of forms in the road, human figures that seemed to be hovering above the ground a few feet but limply, as if they’re being suspended.  My friend hears and sees a lot more than me about what’s going on, and is talking to the main spirit of the place.  We end up driving underneath this small early 1900s bridge, which is nasty as hell: covered in grime, lichen, and graffiti, but spiritually I just saw an abysmal abyss, a sheer drop surrounded by streams of…something.  We kept driving, but not knowing where the road would end up, we turned around and went back.  The spirit of the place wanted us to stop, turn off the lights, and get out of the car, saying it wanted to show us something.  To this, we both replied “HELL NO” loudly and often.  We left, and didn’t think much more of it, but I did suggest my friend do some sort of cleansing after that little joy(less) ride.  I was feeling fine and had taken care of whatever grime stuck to me automatically, but my friend although psychic and spiritually sensitive, doesn’t do as much active work as I do.

Turns out that he didn’t do anything at all to cleanse himself, and ended up bringing a bit of the spirit back with him.  His mother promptly freaked out, flushed his medication down the toilet, assaulted him, and kicked him out; while dealing with that stress, he let what little guard he had left down, which gave the spirit of the place a barn-sized opening to attack.  From this, my friend had been feeling off all day, still in control but definitely struggling with something fucking with him.  From getting so close to the spirit, he found out that it was a woman who had hung herself from the bridge on her wedding day.  From Internet research later on, after the whole experience, the whole place is known for the ghosts of hanged slaves (the limp forms suspended above the road covered by trees).

We decided to meet up at a local club, to dance and burn off whatever energy we could in throngs of shirtless men in an overwhelmingly humid and overheated dance floor, leave, and deal with the problem then.  As we left the club, I bought an extra bottle of water and asked for it unopened so I could say some prayers over it to bless it and use it for cleansing and banishing afterwards.  I was ready to go full-out guns-blazing karcist on this spirit, because it had been going on long enough for me and him as it was.

Now, being a ceremonial magician, I’m not only enabled and learned enough but also increasingly given authority to perform exorcisms, cleansings, and banishings of people and places.  I have the tools, workings, rites, and words to get rid of shit and get spirits to do what I want, either for myself or for the continued order and functioning of the Cosmos in the name of the Almighty.  I’m filled with Light, loved by the First Father, and loved by my Holy Guardian Angel.  So I did what any self-respecting, empowered, protective, and angry ceremonial magician would do.

I apologized.

I asked for forgiveness from the spirit for having trespassed into her home.  I took a dumb joyride through the place, started antagonizing and pissing off further an already pained spirit, started making threats, and generally made the hell the spirit found itself in worse for the hell of it.  I thought of myself as better, stronger, and more forceful than the spirit, and had the audacity to think I could kick her ass for getting back at us when she more or less had the right to.  I regretted my decision and learned my lesson, and swore that I wouldn’t enter again into her domain without her permission, if not an outright invitation.

I apologized because ceremonial magic has gotten a bad rep for being heavy-handed, and even though I was prepared to curbstomp the spirit out of my and my friend’s lives, and even though I’m newly empowered with a fuckton of Light coming from my Work, I found that I didn’t really want to.  I couldn’t get my friend, who was extremely moody and angsty by this point, to completely give me his full permission to do so, and thinking about the spirit, I didn’t want to add more injury to insult to injury by backhanding her after she already made her own hell.  I apologized and asked forgiveness because we were the ones in the wrong, not her.  Honestly, it felt like the Geburah/Mars issue of Promethea, where she and Barbara wind up in the qlippoth of Geburah into Asmodeus’ domain, and fix their issues by doing the same thing I did.

Of course, all this was in my head in the car as we were driving to a Waffle House on the way to my friend’s home.  The spirit and I continued to talk over biscuits and gravy, and though I could still sense an overwhelmingly standoffish, huffy note in her voice, I was pleasantly surprised to see that she accepted my apology.  Sensing that I could achieve success this way, I asked the spirit if an apology from both of us would suffice to have her leave us be, and she agreed to it; I strongly suggested my friend to apologize as well.  This would’ve worked, except my now-moody friend adamantly opposed this, saying that the spirit was a bitch, didn’t deserve compassion or pity and much less an apology, and would just continue to linger around anyway and not listen to him.  I told him to go back to his waffle as I continued talking with the spirit, figuring out if some compromise could be worked out.  At least we both agreed that my friend was being emotionally vindictive, though I called out the spirit for not helping matters any with a guy who was already going through plenty of problems outside this case of demonic obsession.

The spirit and I agreed that I should go back to Crawford Road and make a formal apology and offering; it being already 3 a.m., I wasn’t thrilled at this, but I was happy to do it all the same to lay the matter to rest.  In exchange, the spirit would leave us alone.  The spirit wanted me to go back to the bridge itself and make the offering, but I drew the line at the entrance to the road, refusing to go further and tempt fate any more than I already had.  As it turned out, my friend noticed that as I was talking to the spirit like this, the spirit stopped bothering him as much, and by the time I dropped him off, he seemed quieter and less anguished, and I didn’t see the spirit hanging around him anymore.

So, I make my way back to Crawford Road.  It’s 4 in the morning on a Saturday night, so all the stores are closed at this point, but it turns out I still had that unopened bottle of water I was gonna use to bless and exorcise ourselves; I decided to offer that.  Crawford Road dead-ends on  road, so I parked my car near the three-way intersection (Hekate, anyone?)  and left my lights on to make the offering (because I don’t want to get hit or mauled by anything).  Of course, I forgot that my new car has lights that shut off automatically, just as soon as I got to the intersection.  Fantastic.  However, the light of the last quarter moon helped out just enough to see what was what, I announced myself, made an offering of the water, asked for forgiveness and forebearance, swore to never return without permission from the place, and left.  (Also, I’m hoping that the tradition of not looking back after making an offering like that doesn’t apply to rear-view mirrors when driving.)  I haven’t interacted with the spirit since, and neither has my friend, from what I hear.

I feel like I fixed the problem in the right way here.  It was a problem we brought upon ourselves, and didn’t need a heavy hand to fix.  It’s been a learning experience for me, and one I was glad to learn from.

So many dead people

I’ve been feeling extra lazy and lethargic as of late.  I think it’s my body finally saying “Fuck you, kiddo, Imma catch up on the sleep you’ve been denying me for a year”.  I think my body’s being a wuss, but I’ll play its little game.  For now.  In the meantime, less candy and takeout meals, more water and simple foods.  Gotta be strict somehow.

Well, I finally got off my ass last night and made a trip to the local graveyard.  As most of you may have noticed, Halloween was recently, as was All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.  The veil between the worlds is a little thinned right now (astrologically exact on 11/7, when the Sun is at 15° Scorpio), so I thought it appropriate to do what I’ve never done before and make an offering to the dead.  Despite my learnings and inclinations as to such, I’ve never actually done much work for or with the spirits of the dead, and left that to my naturally necromantic mother and other spirit workers.  I figured it was time to change that.

So I dressed all in black (both for the circumstance and because I didn’t want people to see someone walking into the town cemetery at 10 p.m. on a Wednesday), put a pomegranate, some beer and cookies, and a candle into my bag, and headed out for a pleasant evening walk.  I took my black-handled dagger just in case, but since it hasn’t been consecrated yet, it was more for self-confidence than anything else.  On the way, I asked my elemental familiars for some help (making sure nobody noticed me, opening my ears to hear and eyes to see the dead, that sorta thing), but also for some reassurance and comfort.  I’ve never actually been to this graveyard (or many others, for that matter), though I’ve driven by it a number of times since moving here.  Add to it, it’s nighttime, and there are no lights in the graveyard, and it’s All Souls’.  All told, I was plenty spooked when I got there, and being there didn’t do much to alleviate the fear upon me.

It felt…I dunno.  I’m still getting used to “feeling” places and sensing shit, and this place definitely felt unusual to me.  I suppose I don’t often hang out in places filled with the departed, but hey, new experiences!  In my mind’s eye I could sorta see these guys lining the areas, and a good number were curious about me.  It was mostly benign curiosity, though still kinda stark.  The graveyard had this circular mound with an obelisk in the center, which I circumambulated a few times out of respect for the dead of the place.  I then walked around the graveyard on the roads provided, taking in the sights in what little light the half-moon gave off, and just feeling around the place respectfully.

When I got back to the mound, I got out my offerings and placed them on the curb of the mound.  I lit the candle, and instantly the trees rustled from a noticeable wind (which, when the rest of the night was calm and windless, I was like “oh god oh god wtf”, but since I didn’t feel anything negative from it, I continued with my offering).  I offered one beer, the food, and the candle to the spirits, then shared the other beer with the spirits in a toast.  I made a small oration and dedication to the dead of the place, the dead I knew, the dead of my friends and family, and that sorta thing.  After I made the offerings, I noticed I could see my breath much clearer than before, which implies that the temperature dropped.  Yikes.

After I made my offerings, I got up and walked out.  I felt things around me sorta close in on me, not offensively, but…I dunno.  I “heard” a voice call out to wait, and so I turned around (making a point to not look back at the center mound, Orphically) and kinda saw the presence of a child walk up to me and, I guess, hug me.  I smiled and wished it well, and it thanked me and walked off.  I then promptly GTFO of the place before my welcome was up, since I still felt closed-in by things around me in an otherwise open space.  The walk home was uneventful and I sprinkled some water on myself later to wash off anything that might’ve clung to me, but otherwise the rest of the night went pleasingly and restfully.

Not gonna lie, I dunno if what I did was reckless or enthusiastically honoring the dead, but it was intense either way.  It was my first time, too, working with spirits of the dead as opposed to the elements or of a particular place.  They didn’t quite appear to be the listless shades of Hades, but they weren’t the most active conversationalists, either.  I’ve heard real ghost stories of some of my friends who’ve gone to real messed-up places before where the spirits there were all like “NOPE” and did what they could to get them off their turf, but this wasn’t like that either.  I suppose I might want to tread carefully whenever I work with the dead since I’ll likely not know what I’ll be brushing up against, but investigating how to work with them in the future is definitely going to be a line of research for me.