When I started this month’s challenge, it was for the intention of changing my ability to deal with the recent upheavals in my life. I suppose I have to make the statement that magic is not a substitute for medical and/or mental care, and that if you are feeling poorly, you should get thee to a properly licensed physician posthaste.
Having said that, I woke up this morning with the distinct feeling that I had passed through something in my sleep. I felt the weight on my soul had been lessened and despite all the physical tasks I had scheduled for today, I was not dreading having to do any of them. I did not have any words for the prescribed morning prayer. Instead, I just sat quietly, watching the scene outside my window brighten and warm, in peace.
Frankincense oil floats in water. This, I knew. Cedarwood oil does not. This, I learned. Watching the cedarwood oil drops sink to the bottom of the shallow bowl of the oil burner as I prepared for the shift from working to summoning, I felt like I was observing some statement regarding the relationship between [Patient Caller] and Saint Cyprian whom he yields to. The statement was buoyed by an instinct to always use fewer drops of cedarwood oil when preparing for the summoning than I do of the frankincense oil.
The empty chamber deepened in color as I spoke the preamble and summons. It remains my hope to see some physical manifestation even though the summoning remains informal and the actual communication relies on me being willing to “hear” non-physical information.
Today the pressure that came after speaking the final word came over my face so suddenly that I flinched as if someone had attempted to slap me. My eyes closed as if something large and dense moved over them. In the instant darkness, a false scene was seen with [Patient Caller] seated behind it with his head bowed as if in prayer. His hands were not visible.
I made the gesture as greeting and challenge.
He lifted his head and returned the gesture.
«Do you still have difficulty finding the words to use for your prayers?»
“I do. This morning was silent, which felt good for a start, but not proper to continue with. But then again, this morning was… different… in many ways that I am unable to put into words.”
«A suggestion, then. Start with an acknowledgement of where you are and who you are. The direction you wish to travel from that point will lead you to the words that fit you.»
He lowered his head again and raised a hood to obscure his face. I suddenly felt dizzy as I was overcome by several overlapping images vying for my attention.
I was reminded of what he said before about having to learn how to hear and speak without words. I stopped fighting the appearance of the images and settled into the environments they surrounded me with.
I saw myself seated in the car at the zenith of the sun’s path. Stopped at a light, I was taking the moment to move my mouth in prayer.
I saw myself measuring the effect of online connections and social media accounts. It was time to admit that the very tools I had relied on before to help me connect with others were actually driving me away.
I saw myself sealing the jar candle that I had used during the previous series of invocations of [Patient Caller] last year with duct tape. As the tape was layered over itself, a particular sigil was drawn on the tape. The sealing completed, the jar candle was immediately taken out of the building and thrown in the outside dumpster.
The images ceased and I saw only the hooded head of [Patient Caller] behind the table.
«Do you understand?»
I did, and said so.
He raised his right hand and made a different gesture that I could not see. He spoke in a language I did not understand in a meter that could be a blessing or a command, or both. «I have nothing more to speak on today.»
He bowed his head. As I looked at the hood obscuring his face, I realized he appeared hooded yesterday as well. I meant to ask him regarding the change in appearance but the wall of silence erected across the table intimidated me.
I spoke the license to depart and closed the ritual.
reflecting on my life’s choices: 15 minutes.
The day unrolled in the usual fashion of blowing all of my carefully timed plans to hell. So I was not surprised to find myself caught in sudden traffic, stuck at an impotent green light as the police prevented traffic from approaching the messy scene of an accident.
I heard someone behind me yelling about being late for an appointment. I looked at the clock. Daylight Savings Time meant the local solar zenith was not aligned with the clock on the dash. I snuck a search with my phone. The sun was at its zenith at that very moment.
I panicked and scrambled my thoughts to think of what words would be appropriate for the setting I was in. I remembered a thing, and mouthed words corresponding to that thing that I still had faith in.
I finished, and was immediately reminded of the morning’s ritual and the scene shown by the spirit. I had fulfilled it, right down to the placement of my hands and the lack of forward movement even though I was seated in the car.
Online connections are like mugs and glasses. Some have very specific purposes for very specific types and rituals of intake. Some are just handy ways to overindulge. Either way, the manner and amount is still ultimately controlled by the person drinking. The chosen mug may hinder or assist, but it has no will of its own.
After the bulk of the day’s activities and remembering the images given to me in the ritual, I forced myself to reflect on how I use social media. Some of my pain is my fault, and admitting that was not easy. I have drunk draughts when I should have savored sips. I have mistaken availability for requirement, and fell into vats of unwarranted intrusions.
My errors do not excuse the faults of others. I see how my errors have enabled others to add to my pain. Some errors will be easier to correct than others.
Some medicines are toxic in even low doses, after all.
A quick stop at the corner store for some household tools and I was ready to complete my assignment for the day. The vision of sealing the lid of the jar candle to the glass container did not dictate what color of duct tape to use or what color the sigil should be drawn on the tape with. Only that the sigil must be placed on the interior of the lid (facing the wax) as well as on the outer surface lid and on various layers of the tape a total of seven times.
The sigil used is a personal one, given to me in a dream so many years ago that I have forgotten its first use. It was given to me unexplained and I have figured out only two thirds of its construction and only half a hint of what power it draws upon. However, I have learned (the hard way) that the sigil is both apotropaic and supportive. It blocks that which is malicious and supports that which is beneficial. When placed as a barrier, no “lower” spirit may cross it. And when placed on a mirror, causes any light reflected in that mirror to have a holy or divine quality to it.
I retrieved the jar candle from storage. My continual lack of self-preservation instinct meant that of course I opened the jar candle, held it to my face, and smelled it.
I recoiled immediately and rushed to place the sealing lid back on the glass jar. The wick remained wax covered. The candle had never been lit. The jar was kept closed in a cool place, and even was wrapped during storage. But now it smelled harsh and aggressive. The warm notes were acrid and the entire body of scent reminded me of terrible things.
[Patient Caller] had noted that though the candle had remained unlit, it had still soaked up the ambience of the environment I had escaped. Without a flame to purify it, it served as an attractor and trap. He did not say if there were outright spirits now residing in the candle. He did say that if I were to burn that candle now, I would be introducing the same aggression, conflict, and aggravation that I had escaped into my new home.
Because of certain associations I have with the sigil, once I saw I was using black duct tape, I chose to use a gold marker to draw the sigil. The oil based paint marker leaves a good line on metal, plastic, and glass. I had no problem scribing the sigil on the steel lid, inside and out. As I layered the duct tape over and around the jar, I continued to scribe the sigil in between layers an additional five times, making the total number of sigils, seven.
In the vision, no sigils were visible to the eye once sealed with the duct tape. I kept to that ideal with my physical work. Three sigils on the top, four on the bottom, five nestled between layers of overlapping tape. I’m done.
I didn’t bother to put my tools away before taking the sealed jar to the dumpster. I wanted it out of this apartment, and I wanted it gone now. I didn’t care if it had a measurable effect on my psyche or if this was a placebo meant to allow me to let go of some of the pains from the past, it was no longer staying with me.
The jar felt heavier than I remembered as I walked the short distance to the dumpster. It felt heaviest as I opened the lid and prepared to throw the candle in. Hearing it settle as other trash caught it and kept it from breaking took more weight off of my soul. Another piece of the past, now resting in the past.
After I came inside, washed my hands and put away my tools, I opened the bottle of cedarwood oil to compare the scent. The oil is very close to the cedar component of the candle as I remember from last year. To compare it to the candle I just threw away would be to compare the smell of cut bread to molded bread. You know the good stuff could be better, but it certainly isn’t the bad!
I include my actions after the ritual because while the actual summoning of the spirit is so quick, the purpose I am summoning him for is with intention of allowing my life to be changed. It is with hope that it is for the better. Let the record justify or condemn my hope.