A thing you should know, dear Reader, is that I am not doing well. The optimism that the June 2018 DoMagick challenge ended with was brutally and systemically annihilated by a rapid series of betrayals, revelations, and exposures in the intervening month. Physically, I am intact. Emotionally, I am hollow and collapsing.
Completing this challenge and posting the logs of it is not for imaginary internet points. It is an act of faith for those who still have hope and the fulfillment of promises made when I still believed in now shattered lies and falsehoods. I barely survived last month. If I’m going to survive this one, I’m going to need help.
I went to bed early and intentionally stayed in bed to go back to sleep after dawn introduced me to a new day. I didn’t want to give the spirit any further advantage over me. Once I did pull myself out of bed, the morning went as it should and soon came the time to summon [Patient Caller] once again.
I kept the candles from the Saint Cyprian activity1 lit and placed the device between them in what I believe will be the standard setup going forward. Before the device was laid the Hierophant card from Tavaglione’s Stairs of Gold deck. Around me were the warding items that the spirit had chastised me for not using yesterday. The amber token remained put away in its cotton cushioned case that I’ve come to “adoringly” call [Patient Caller’s] casket.
Don’t tell that bastard, but I found myself missing the more elaborate ritual from last year’s thirty-day gauntlet. The laying out of the circle and the praying over of all the tools helped to distance myself from the “mundane” problems that were going on outside of the circle. (Though, they also helped to blind me to the severity of the problems that were going on outside the circle.) So today I found myself second guessing the setup even though it was only slightly more complicated than what the agreement required.
The only way to test a bucket is to use it.
“Rede, rede, rede in pace.”
Instead of ending the invocation with the command to appear to me, I commanded the spirit to use the specified device to “communicate with me”. I kept my eyes open, however. In the stillness of the room, any dip of candle flame or any shift in the flow of mist from the ultrasonic oil diffuser2 will be immediately noticed.
The pressure I felt yesterday immediately returned over my forehead and eyes along with an intense desire to close my eyes. I resisted the desire and felt it out. I wanted to determine if this was my body’s desire, if this was me trying to psych myself, or if the desire was being projected from elsewhere.
I looked away from the table. Nothing unusual away from the table. I looked at the table. The empty device drew my attention. The pressure over my eyes and the desire to close them intensified when I physically looked at the device. Though no physical attribute was modified, the brass chamber again had the illusion of deepening and darkening. Despite the cardinal red interior, the chamber appeared filled with a thick and dark fluid, much like honey. Remembering the amber token, I realized the chamber appeared as if the entire interior was occupied by a piece of perfectly fitting amber.
No response. The pressure and impetus to close my eyes increased.
“Though I rested better than of late, closing my eyes still puts me at risk of falling asleep sitting up. Give me one good reason why I should.”
«Because sight is still your primary means of receiving and processing information and you are easily distracted with your eyes open.»
One day I’m going to learn not to give him easy means to stab my psyche like that. As today is not that day, I chewed my tongue and closed my eyes.
At first I was not sure that I had closed my eyes because I saw the same scene before me as I did with them open. It took me a few moments to realize the candles in this “alternate view” were not lit and the oil diffuser’s interior light was also not on. The scene had the same soft amber ambient glow as the first time.
“Okay. Here I am. So. Tell me about the ring. If I’m going to be chasing it, I’m going to know what I’m chasing. If this is a custom carving, it is going to cost more and take more time to obtain.”
«You placed [the wards] well.»
“Thank you. The ring, señor?”
With my eyes still closed, I looked up at the table as if to answer the unspoken challenge. “Looking” past the device, I had a sudden flash of another place and another table. Seated on the other side of that table was the shade of something appearing like a man. The man’s clasped hands were on the table. On each finger glinted a ring, some with stones and some without. The ring on the man’s right pinky finger was simple and small, with a flat face upon which were carved three symbols. The ring captured my attention and I focused on it with hope of forcing the symbols to become clear, but the flash ended the moment I locked sight on the ring.
Exasperated, I moved on to the set of questions I had prepared for today. “When we made the agreement regarding the Hierophant card, you noted there were certain decks you would not respond to if I used a card from those decks. In this setting, does that requirement still hold? Will the art on the card or the theme of the deck interfere?”
«You are not required to set aside whatever deck you use for the card to summon me. The card is only set aside during the summoning itself. Though it may be to your advantage to have a tarot deck set aside solely for ritual use, as each use will only increase its compatibility and agreeability with future work.»
I called to mind the Universal Tarot of Marseille and its Hierophant card and presented the image of it before the device as if the spirit was using the device in this alternate world to view me. “And this card? It is from a deck that I have only read from once, and even then it was more to see if I could. I have no investment in the image, no understanding of it or the deck other than what I generally understand of any modern tarot deck. Does my lack of connection or understanding of the particular symbols on this particular card assist or hinder its use as your vehicle?”
«Is it from a deck you would read with if given the opportunity?»
«Is it from a deck that is interchangeable with what you consider a ‘standard’ tarot deck? If you mixed that card with the decks you are using now, would you still be able to read with it?”»
«Then the deck, and the card, is suitable.»
“Great! So, about the ring…”
«You have ceased your daily meditation practice.»
I forgot that my eyes were closed and wondered briefly why I couldn’t close them further. I did not immediately respond to the leading statement but reminded myself that I did ask for help to endure the month.
“Go on. Get it out of your system. All of it, dammit.”
For the first time since using the device as the object of communication, I felt him smiling at me.
«I have nothing further to pontificate upon. What questions have you about the ring?»
If not for the two lit candles on the table, the table would have reached low earth orbit by now. Such was my fury and desire to physically flip it. The anger flashed like the distraction it was. In its wake I felt emptied and useless.
“I’m not sure anymore.” A deep sense of powerlessness welled up inside me. I knew its source to be the wounds incurred during last month’s viciousness. “Okay. How’s this for an obvious question. If I attempt to do other spirit or summoning work in the state I am in, it’s not going to go well for me, correct?”
“Then why the hell am I risking it with you?”
«As you would say, good question.»
I took a deep breath to steady myself. “Tell me about the ring. Tell me about the symbols upon it and why they are important.”
[Patient Caller] did not answer with words, but with images. Many of them made sense at the time that I saw them, but I was unable to decipher the bulk of my notes later. I have the sense that when I need to understand the symbols, then the symbols will become understandable. It is a frustrating sense, but considering the lack of sense I currently have, justifiable.
“Okay. Enough.” I gave the license to depart and ended the session.
Though it felt like at least half an hour, the total time as measured by the clock on the phone: 16 minutes.
1 The “Saint Cyprian activity” is an ongoing project that is being conducted “behind closed doors”. Until that activity comes to its scheduled end and the person conducting the activity declares their follow up intentions, I am going to be vague as hell regarding what it is. Not to mention, I’ve learned the hard way that publicizing my involvement in a thing, no matter how public, is not good for myself and/or the thing. See also: Last month’s revelations.
2 I use an ultrasonic oil diffuser loaded with a few drops of frankincense essential oil for daily rituals or when I have to have the windows and door closed because I don’t want incense smoke to trip the apartment’s smoke detector by accident.