I didn’t have to do this last working in the series. The book I was following said I didn’t have to do this. Completely optional and actually advised to be skipped for beginners to this series such as myself. No need to touch Saturn. At. All.
Everything I have experienced in my life thus far said otherwise.
For the previous workings I attempted to stay as true to the book as I could get. Which wasn’t very close at all. I have been missing a large number of the “optional” items and what I did have would probably land me in a pontificator’s discouraging crosshairs again. However, until this working, I did not add anything not called for in the book.
I sat at the table with the book and the tools I needed to make the hand drawn copy of the lamen for the day. Just five days prior I had been told that there would be little progress made with the subject of the book until I had faced and dealt with a major personal fault. So why am I proving that I can’t draw for shit again?
Because I have to finish this cycle, that’s why. I have to run it through once, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I can. I have faced so much in my life already, what is one more series of gates and hurdles?
This time, though, it wasn’t the gate itself that was worrying me. I am very well acquainted with the shadows of the Moon and the self-delusions that ferments there. It’s the angel of the sphere that I’m worried about. Gabriel tends to be… heavy-handed in my experiences.
The schedule of workings I had committed myself to did not leave me much time to pout. Either I kept going or I brought everything to a halt with the intention of never resuming. My day job wasn’t being light on me either. I did not have the luxury of ruminating over the revelation from the previous working.
That did not save me from having it on my mind every idle moment. So of course, I did what any experienced self-saboteur would do, and kept my mind focused on everything else but facing the stumbling block I placed in my way.
The next working was for the sphere of Mercury. I was looking forward to a friendly banter with Hermes in an idyllic dreamscape setting. Considering what I received during the working, maybe I should have challenged the pugilist to a rematch instead. It would have hurt less.
Face one fear, find another. Like I should be surprised at encountering a newly revealed yet long standing brick wall, again. The last time I was in the sphere of Venus, I was driving a notorious lech of a god around the realms and refusing to even acknowledge the very physical reactions I was suffering just being there.
I have since made progress in finding peace with myself, my body, what other people did to my body, and the consequences of those actions. Well, that’s what I told myself as I prepared for the next working.
After all, isn’t it better to be prepared for the worst so one can be happy when it’s not such? I lit the candle and began.
«Do you want the lesson you are expecting or do you want the lesson that will come to you?»
What I was expecting was a trip to Tiphareth. I had dreamt once of that place before, but was so quickly overwhelmed by what happened there all I could remember was light so intense that not even granite could block it but in the presence of a calming and infectious joy that made everything alright. The question’s wording revealed that there would be flight of fancy this time.
For all the times I’ve been here before, I finally noticed that the sky of the Warring Fields is black. Not sure if from smoke or if the crown of the sky is a helm in its own right. I can see just fine. I always have been able to see clearly here. At least when I haven’t been goaded into a berserker rage.
Not sure if I’m on the edge of the Warring Fields. Am sure there is no activity in the immediate vicinity behind me. In front of me, the legions drill and march and wrestle and spar and feign at peace even as they clash against each other. I watch all this with nearly curious indifference.
The gold castle gleamed in the distance. The sun gave its offering of sunlight and in return the castle declared its splendor to all that would so much as glance at it. I sat on some rubble in the decrepit district and viewed the castle framed between two nearby apartment buildings that were in the process of slowly self-destructing.
I have been here before. And as before, I find I am more comfortable in the squalor of the rubble around me than in the treasury that is the interior of that castle. This district is not abandoned. There are people living here that can’t leave, people living here that won’t leave, and people that visit to prey upon the former and each other. It’s the closest to the waking world I can experience in a dream.
«I accept. … your next step … will be to obtain this ring.» He lifted his right hand and twisted the small gold signet ring on his right little finger.
“To obtain that ring is to bind you to me… or to bind me to you. Won’t have need of a card after that. First you say that ring is to be the last tool to be acquired for this art. Now you are requiring it ahead of requiring self-control. Moving up the timeline, are we?”
«I have stated the terms of my acceptance. Have we an agreement?»
Whispers only entangle those who had no business being involved in the first place. So. Let’s get this done and over with.
If I have offended you, if I have slighted you, if I have done wrong against you or against those you defend, if you want to have some * words with me, let’s go.
No pretense. No preambles. None of this “Well I don’t know how to say this but”. Let’s just go.
If you don’t want to do it publicly, my messages are open. If you want to leave your gripe anonymously for a public response, you can do so on either one of my personal websites.
But this subtweet/contextless/you’re so vain you think this post is about you/if you do this go away is going to stop. And I’m guilty of it, too, and I finally realized doing that just keeps the wound open.
So if I have wounded you then let’s debride the wound, get to the source of the conflict, and then move on to the next thing rather than just sitting there and festering.
Back when I still thought I had all the time in the world to not only write for NaNoWriMo but also edit the daily updates and make a cutesy header image for each post, I used the following image for Chapter 2 of the story: