I have a vivid imagination. Visualization of fictional works comes very easy to me and all my senses join in on the fabrication. But no matter how deep or encompassing the experience, it is still set apart, still “not real”. Because of this, I like to think that I am not easily fooled by what I see in visions and apparitions.
I can always imagine one better.
At least, until doubt settles on my shoulders.
The alarm buzzed under my pillow and I silently bitched myself out for sacrificing weekend sleep-ins for what may turn out to be a series of massive self delusions. I spent the precious minutes granted by the snooze button reflecting on what I’ve gotten myself into.
What if this is all just made up after all?
Well… what if it is?
Does that negate or reverse the positive changes in my life that have come about as a direct result of taking all this “wooishness” seriously? My beliefs have driven tactile and measurable changes in my life, most of them positive. What is one more “fairytale” in the volume of work I have lived out already?
The snooze alarm demanded I stop brooding and make a decision if to follow through or to email a half-assed apology about quitting the challenge that no one would believe, especially myself.
Preparation of the space took only ten minutes this time. I hadn’t written the procedure changes in the thin brown book yet. I want to wait and see what I settle into.
In the five minutes before the morning alarm on August 31st, I had a brief but intense “dream”. In the scene, I was trying to walk out the steps of preparation for the ritual but I kept being interrupted by everything that could happen in the house, happening all at once. Time was layered over each other, and I didn’t even get the chance to lift an item, much less put it place.
Frustrated, I lifted the pewter Solomon’s Seal amulet, kissed it, and donned the plain black cord “necklace” so that it fell against my chest. Immediately, the compressed and overlapping layers of time expanded and snapped into their proper places. I became lucid at this point, standing in my room in the dark with the clock displaying the appointed time, in complete solitude and solemnity. I noted the dream’s lesson.
I mention that because while I did don the pewter amulet as the first action of preparation and removed it last as the last act of deconstruction yesterday, I did not do that this morning. It wasn’t until the first prayer sounded unusually harsh on my ears and I laid my hand on my chest as part of the action of “Amen” that I realized my error.
The amulet remained on the desk where I had laid it.
Fortunately I wasn’t very far in the ritual to suffer a time penalty for rewinding my steps. I used the amulet to draw a chest-wide Solomon Seal before me, kissed it, and donned it.
I knew the relief was psychological, but it was tactile just the same.
The rest of the preparation and actual conjuration went smoothly and without incident. As I sat at the table, I studied both shewstones for a moment. Seeing nothing within or around them, I closed my eyes.
I did not imagine the scene before me. I did not imagine a proxy for [Patient Caller]. I did not seek to see wonders, lights, or visions. I just sat in a dimmed room at far too damn early in the morning in front of a table layered with questionable objects with a bone-white shroud over my head and pretended this was perfectly normal for an adult to do.
“A seed planted in Spring causes fruit to be harvested in Autumn. Opening a window in the morning allows a wind to enter in the evening. All actions have a reaction, but not all reactions are immediate. Thus I invite you, [Patient Caller], in the name of the most holy God that has authority over you and with the attention of the angels that watch and monitor us both, to have communication and communion with me during the day. Show me sights and wonders, move with synchronicities and happenstance, speak with whispers and voices, but not to my detriment nor to lead me into harm nor to allow evil to be done to me or to others in my name.”
My eyes were still closed but I kept my mind’s eye clear. As the last tone of my echoed voice faded, the scene of the ritual was pushed into my mind’s eye. The viewpoint was from my physical perspective.
The candle was lit.
The thin stream of smoke did not appear from the candle, but illuminated the heart of both shewstones as it coiled within them, between them, and surrounded them.
I had a sense of compliance, as if someone had just said, “As you have spoken, so shall it be”, but no words, physical or imagined, had been uttered.
The moment I comprehended the scene, the candle extinguished itself.
My eyes opened.
Without looking at the clock I knew the ritual was over for the day. I spoke the license to depart, stood grasping the black knife, and recited Psalm 54 as I turned with the blade pointing out.
I “cut” the circles and went on with the quick deconstruction of the ritual items, leaving the amulet as the last thing to take off and put away. I noted when I did, I was suddenly aware of the smells coming from the kitchen and the expletives coming from the garage and the general sense of life that I had somehow been isolated from for the previous hour.
As I did not have other obligations to meet until later, I took advantage of the isolation and promptly went back to bed. Just as I fell asleep, I saw a bright flash through my closed eyes as if a camera flash. Muttering promises of bodily harm and a scattering of molecules across a dying universe, I opened my eyes and sat up to face the direction of the flash and the person I presumed had snuck into my room to prank me.
That corner of the room was completely empty, even of dust bunnies. The room’s door remained closed and latched.
As nothing else happened, I shrugged, muttered more profanities, and went back to sleep.
Later, as I set out to pretend to be a rational and mature adult for the day, I placed the shewstones in a durable pouch to be carried in my purse. Hard to see a sight in a stone if the stones are at home, after all.