If you noticed the timestamp on the previous day’s post, you’ll see it was posted quite late. Work was a bear to wrestle, and while I was able to get the wording of the post done early in the day and saved to my drafts, I didn’t get to finish the post until I was home. So I’ll let you guess how much sleep I got as a result.
I don’t remember turning off the first alarm. I do remember picking up the phone when the second alarm went off and holding it to verify that it really was too damn early in the morning for this shit. When I looked at the phone just before the third and more irritating alarm went off, I found I had never put the phone down after the second alarm and had fallen into a deep sleep holding it.
Between the second and third alarms I dreamt a vivid dream. I want to discount it, I really do, but the dream would not leave me even after the summoning that followed and the first portion of the work day.
When the second alarm went off, I had meant to silence the alarm, note the time, and put the phone back down on the table. What happened was I silenced the alarm, noted the time, and lowered my arm to find myself standing at a campfire in the middle of a wilderness. Though my phone had announced that dawn was imminent, the heaviness of midnight surrounded me.
I heard a rattle and looked down to my right. A deeply dark skinned man crouched facing the fire. Comfortable in loose robes that sometimes appeared white, cream, or yellow depending on the fire’s dance, his head wrapping kept close to him as he nodded in satisfaction at the carved wood tray on the ground before him. The rattling sound had come from the small cream hued tokens that he had just cast on the cloth covered floor of the shallow tray.
The tokens interested me and I leaned a bit to look at the contents of the tray. When I tried to look at any one token, the others would dance and skitter around the tray to evade my sight. I could not tell if I was looking at one token in multiple places at once, at four, at five, at sixteen, or any possible number that I wanted or didn’t want to see.
The man watched me silently and with a slight smile. He waited for me to turn my attention to him completely before speaking.
“What is your [story]?” I heard the word he spoke so clearly, I could feel the letters that spelled it. I knew it was a word that I did not have rights to, and have redacted it here with its general meaning.
“My apologies, Sir. I am not in that current and I am not initiated. I have no [story] of my own.”
The man nodded without accepting my denial. “Nonsense. Everyone has a [story], but not everyone knows what theirs are. Do you know your [story]?”
I shook my head. “My story is still being written, but only [certain others] have [those stories].” The topic reminded me of personal pains. “My story is nearing its end, actually. I will not risk angering [those folk] by stepping on ground not mine to tread. I think I’ve done enough of that already.”
He huffed a little laugh and jiggled the wood tray. The tokens danced and jumped fiercely before quickly settling into a new pattern that I could not perceive at all. He stared into the tray as if looking through a window into a different world.
“What is your [story]? As you say, what is your story? What is the story of your power? Are you sleeping? Is it a colossus?”
He bounced the tray again and with a motion of his hand, drew my attention to the tokens that continued their fervent dance despite the resumed stillness of the tray. The tokens drew lines and shapes in the air that became three-dimensional images as I watched.
I saw the image of a massive stone carving of a reclining Buddha in an open field under the diffused light of a cloudy day. The point of view was near the head of the figure and I saw people walking past it. The height of their heads barely reached the thickness of the arm the figure was resting on. I could not see the figure’s feet because of the distance and the point of view.
The reclining Buddha rested on his right arm with his head propped up with his right hand. His left arm was resting along the length of his body. The statue was carved from one massive rock, which I soon realized was what was all that remained of the small hill that originally stood here.
Far in the distance was a small temple, and from my point of view, I could see that there accumulated the gold, silks, and offerings that people had brought to the area. People hurried past the massive carving without noting it as they rushed to the temple and walked slowly away from it. The master craftsmanship demonstrated in the details of the rock carving was ignored. I understood that to the people present, the massive carving was more an unusual formation of rock than anything special, even though the detail was so well done, the Buddha looked like he would open his eyes and rise at any moment.
The tokens became still in the tray and my view of the reclining Buddha faded. The man gestured and drew my attention back to his face. “If your power is sleeping, how will you wake it? You must awaken yourself first before you can awaken your power.” He waved me away as he lowered his face to focus once more on the cloud of tokens in the tray. The abiding midnight pulled itself around me, separating me from the man, his tray, and the campfire.
I was pushed to waking with only a few minutes left to spare before the third alarm. My hand was still holding the phone, and it was in the same position I had when I checked the second alarm. I noted the dream in my private notes and did my best to ignore it for the day. (Spoiler: I failed.)
Last night I realized I was risking dedicating one particular card from one particular deck for use for the daily summoning. Considering that my copy of Tavaglione’s Stairs of Gold deck is one I want to have available at any time, I pulled out the copy of the Universal Tarot of Marseille [UTM] I had purchased explicitly for use as a “working” deck. But now as I prepare for the morning obligations and summoning, I realized I would be changing two things from yesterday’s working; the amber and the tarot card.
I wasn’t comfortable doing so, so I picked up the “il Papa” card from the Stairs of Gold deck and left both the amber token and the UTM on the shelf. I left the tarot card off the table while I performed my obligation to Saint Cyprian. Then leaving his candles lit as a gesture of him “overseeing” what follows, I moved the empty device to the center of the table, before the Cyprian statue and between the taper candles.
The empty chamber appeared ominously dark without the amber present to catch the subtle light from the candles. Placing the tarot card before the device, I reflect on how I’ve managed to “complicate” the non-ritual that had been negotiated last year. To be honest, having the formal structure reintroduced is assuring. I note the time on the phone, turn it over so not to distract me, and begin.
Visually, nothing happens. The candles remain lit and their flames remain unaffected. I realize I am subtly leaning back, as if leaning away from the table. I straighten myself and feel a pressure on my face as if something was pushing me. I don’t close my eyes, but start to look about as I move my head from side to side trying to pinpoint where I am feeling the pressure coming from.
The empty device on the table seems to darken slightly, as if it was soaking in the light from the candles. The empty chamber within it seems to deepen as if the rear of the chamber was expanding, but the effect could only be seen through the glass front of the device. The pressure intensified and coalesced.
Though there was no other person in the room, and both of my hands were on my knees, I felt like a large right hand was pressing down on my forehead. Something like a thumb smoothed over my right temple. I found myself unable to resist the command communicated by the gesture and closed my eyes as I became still.
«What are the two severe mistakes you have made today? You have actually made three, but one may be forgiven considering the agreement between us and my master over me.»
I heard [Patient Caller’s] voice from inside of my ears. It was his hand that was pressing on my forehead, holding me in place. I could sense his presence pushing out from the device’s chamber. But for all my awareness, I could not move.
Lethargy from inadequate sleep combined with his perfectly placed pressure to squeeze me into a stupor that I could recognize but was helpless to overcome. No amount of will could shift his hand from my face or move my own hand in defiance. I could only mutely accept my disgraceful position.
«You have thought, but you are unable to answer. Listen, then. You are too physically tired for this work this morning. If I wished to work maliciously upon you, I could completely cast aside your will instead of just holding it in place. You have compounded your error with your lack of preparation. It is true that in this setting, you do not require the circle, the hazel wand, or the black knife. And in this setting, donning the amulet may be ineffective or offensive considering what other work had immediately preceded my summons. However, you are still vulnerable to whatever may approach you. You have [the appropriate warding items] on the table already. Use them.»
The pressure on my face shifted slightly, pushing my mind away from the physical senses. Unanchored, I saw a series of images that I could not tell if they were merely wild hallucinations, visions, or false images that he was throwing before my mind’s eye.
«What seed could I plant here? Just asking the question is enough to cause you to panic. Have I done so already? No. Would I? No. But now you have to take my word for it, and here then is your third mistake which is layered over the first two. You trust me. And while I will not betray that trust, there are other spirits with smoother words than mine and softer hands than mine and masters who have no care for you whatsoever and you must be wary of any who claim they are completely trustworthy without you having some means of ensuring their compliance. And even when you do have such means, do not trust them just the same.»
He moved his spectral hand left and right. I felt my own head move to follow the motion as if a physical hand was laid upon my head. The motion brought my attention into focus and for the first time since the stupor descended upon me, I felt a desire and hope to break it.
«I will not be as kind to you as I were before. I know you have other obligations for the day. Today, I will release you to fulfill them. Summon me again while you are covered in the same weaknesses you are now, and I will not yield you to them. Where is the will that wielded fire to challenge me? You will need that will now. We will speak later about the ring.»
The pressure lifted and the presence began to recede from the device. Immediately my thoughts cleared and my tongue unstuck itself.
“[Patient Caller!]” My physical sight was scrambled and I was unable to focus on anything in front of me, but I did not need to see to be pissed. “I have not given you license to depart and per our agreement, you are summoned here until you are not!” My words slurred as the strained muscles in my jaw worked themselves back to usefulness.
The presence ceased fading. I closed my eyes to keep my unreliable sight from distracting me. I felt an attention focus on me and I realized I may have gone several dozen steps too far.
“Yes, we will speak later about the ring, and yes, I have erred in not using the tools I have, however, you are not my master!”
«Then cease placing yourself in my power.»
I had no answer to that. I had a choice. Either I can continue the “discussion” and risk being late for work, or let him have the last word and work out my frustration on the series of tasks waiting for me at my office. Neither decision will reduce the truth in his words or sooth the burn inflicted on my ego.
I gave the license to depart and commanded him to leave in peace and not return until I have called him. After speaking the final words, “Go all now in peace”, the presence left the device immediately. My tongue felt thick in my mouth and I didn’t realize I was shaking with rage until I went to blow out the candles.
Suddenly afraid that I had missed the “You Gotta Leave For Work Now” alarm, I turned the phone over and stared at the screen with confusion. I had plenty of time before I had to leave for work. So I cleaned up and left before I found something else to eat up the extra time with.
Total time: Six
agonizing minutes. The only way this time makes sense is if I was asleep or in deep trance for the bulk of the “conversation”.