Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crucible! (Part 1)

I've just returned home from Crucible, an amazing magical convention in Princeton, NJ run by Arthur Moyer.  This is my VERY subjective, slightly fictionalized narrative of what happened.  Why slightly fictionalized?  Well, I want to try to capture my inner experience of how things seemed and felt to me, rather than to report on exactly what happened. While I didn't outright lie anywhere, I've left out some bits and emphasized others to try to capture the "essence" of my experience.  I'll try to be really careful to explain what's real and what's subjective, especially when it involves other people.

I think, to really grok this, you're going to need a little background:  Two years ago, I participated in Andrieh's first Crucible Mass of Chaos Baphomet.  That, however, wasn't the first time I summoned Baphomet.  The first time was in a steam tunnel under Caltech in 1996.  But, that's a whole different story.  In Andrieh's ritual, you trade your limitations for magical power.  During the ritual, I was asked to give up something.  I knew I had to give it away.  I'd been told so (more gently) by other of my spirits several times over the preceding few months.  But I just couldn't.  (Although I eventually did.  It was best for both of us.)

Two weeks later, my parents died.  I am IN NO WAY saying the ritual caused their death (and they're not the thing I was told I had to give up.)  I'm just explaining that my "Dark Night of the Soul" was in many ways bookended by this Baphomet ritual.

Another thing you should know; Crucible is always (coincidentally) near the Jewish High Holy Days.  This year it fell on Yom Kippur.  In addition to all the spiritual/energetic sorts of things about that, it means I was fasting the whole time.  That's going to be relevant as it gets later and later in the day and my state slowly alters.

So, I got in around 4pm on Friday, and went for a walk on the grounds.  The hotel we were at this year is beautiful, with wooded grounds and a pond.  I walked for a while by myself, and then for a while with some others.  It was lovely.  I went inside, ate dinner, and took a shower, wherein I banished and prepared for the fast.  I then went socializing with people, which was nice.

After that, Andrieh taught me some secret magical techniques which I am not allowed to tell you about.  This was in preparation for my role as an assistant magician at this year's Baphomet conjuration.  After the lesson, which was exhausting, I eventually made my way to bed.  Because I'm used to waking up very early, I can rarely manage to sleep past dawn.  Saturday was no exception.

That morning, I did some more walking in the woods.  As I walked, I came across a patch of some sort of yellow plant interspersed among the grass.  It formed a path leading into the woods.  A fairy path if ever I saw one!  So, I followed it.  After some time, the path was blocked by a fallen tree, a tangled hedge entwined with morning glory vines.  I made my way past/through/over it.  But I can't tell you what I found on the other side yet.  But soon I will be able to.

In any case, by that time, it was time to go back inside for Crucible.

I saw several interesting and informative lectures, and then I watched other people eat dinner.  By this point (5:30ish) my tummy was a little rumbly.  Jason Miller, that Sorcerer Supreme, was teasing me about fasting by enjoying his dinner.  I explained that watching him enjoy it was nearly as good as enjoying it myself.  He ate a salad, and then a cheesecake.  That looked delicious.  He asked me about fasting, and I explained that it wasn't about abstention or purity for me, it was just magical prep work for forgiving G-d.  Then I explained that I was also wrapping up a year-long vow of chastity.  Then he ate some very delicious smelling chicken.  And then he ate a chocolate cinnamon cake in a way that seemed a little more erotic than was strictly necessary.  And then he told about a Vietnamese (Thai?  I don't really remember) ritual thing where you slice open a cobra and eat its still-beating heart as a yang tonic.  Now, Jason Miller, while a little too Jupiter Optimus Maximus for my taste in mercurial men, literally wrote the book on sex magic, so, um, you know...  (This is going to be relevant later in this story.)

Right after dinner, Jason gave a great talk on Tibetan sorcery, a specialty of his, wherein he introduced us to several deities, including Karukulla, whom I understood to be a Red Goddess/Witch Queen of love, witchcraft, and, enchantment. (but that's based on, literally, like 5 minutes of Jason Miller talking)  Apparently, her name literally means "she who is the cause knowledge.” As you might expect from that name, she resonated with me a little bit. Anyhow, one point in the lecture he was explaining some sort of very technical tantric sexual energy technique, which, honestly, my brain didn't really follow at all. "energy goes out the penis, and then up her right foot, crosses through the womb into the right ovary, up the spine into her left nostril, and zing across to the right hemisphere of her brain" (or something like that).  And, this was weird... I totally felt that happen.  I mean, not in a "rock my world" kind of way, but in a definitely noticeable zingy sort of thing where something snapped to attention inside me.   (I want to remind you, dear readers, that at this point in the story, I'm a kind of high; 1 year, no sex.  20-some hours: no food or water, and almost no sleep.  And Jason eating that fucking cake.  I'm not saying that feeling had any basis in reality.)

Ok, so here's what happened next.  Jason said something funny, and from the row behind me a very big, loud, infectious laugh bubbled up.  Objectively, I understand other people might find it a very annoying sort of laugh, but I liked it.  I turned around to see who was laughing, and caught this beautiful boy's eye.  You know that thing in movies where two people lock eyes across a room?  That thing happened. I actually did a double take.  (This is probably one of those "this is what I experienced, but not what actually happened to other people" parts of the story.)

Ok, so all of these things are going on in the background of my brain, when I walk into Sam Block's amazing, fascinating lecture on Mathesis.  Basically, as I understand it, that's this crazy system of Greek/Luriatic Kabbalah system designed just for for heretical Jewish/Greek mathematicians who are also devotees of Hermes.   As near as I can tell, Hermes made Sam do all the work of developing it, and then showed it to me, because Hermes is fucking awesome, and so is Sam, and I am very lazy.  Praise Hermes!  Really, seriously, it's super awesome.  It has a cool tetract-etz chaim that's sort of like the an inside-out iggulim.  Read about it!  (Side note: everyone at Crucible seems to think I'm way more Jew-ish than I actually am.)

So, now that I've told you all that, it's time for the main event, the Baphomet ritual!  But, it's quarter past midnight and I REALLY have to go to bed, so I'm going to have to write that part up in the morning.

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