I woke up early. At the suggestion of a friend, I looked up as much on grimoire hierarchies as I could before the start of the designated hour. I may not need to drop the equivalent of a nuke. Perhaps I could merely send a “softly worded memo”.
So after reciting the conjuration most necessary, I added another paragraph to the litany.
“For as sure as St. Cyprian of Antioch did acknowledge and yield to the power of the holy God Most High as demonstrated through the safety and security of St. Justina against his advances, so do I remind you, [O Patient Caller], that you have acknowledged and yielded to St. Cyprian of Antioch, to follow his command and direction, which is not to vex me, nor to cause me harm, nor to lead me to harming myself, nor to confuse, confound, or conquer me, but to lead me into wisdom and knowledge of this art, as you once were led, by the revelation of your master, St. Cyprian of Antioch, who was elevated by the might of the name Agla, the grace of the name Adonai, the endurance of the name El, and the declaration of the name On, and so witnessed by the choirs of angels who witness me now.”
“[O Patient Caller,] appear to me.”
I felt a hint of warmth from the candle, and saw with my mind’s eye a hint of flame, but both immediately ceased. I was reminded of a failing cigarette lighter, that quickly produced a flame, and even more quickly ceased doing so. In the wake of the resuming chill, a strong emotion of reluctance poured over the table.
I repeated myself and gestured towards his amber piece. “[O Patient Caller,] appear to me.”
I saw his shadow approach the table and linger just beyond the cord of his circle. He paused as if considering if to sit, and then quickly moved away.
No. Not today, dammit. Not after twenty-one days of dealing with his fuckery.
“Have you not been commanded by St. Cyprian to appear when I call upon you? Did you not promise the same should I allow you access to the card? Abide, then, by the instruction laid upon you, and appear in this circle prepared for you!”
The scent of the candle intensified though no flame, false or otherwise, touched it. I saw his hands (and all his rings) grip the book that the shewstones were placed upon in a posture that was more to push away than to steady himself with. The emotion of reluctance segued into outright defiance. He did not want to sit at this table, this day, and he was not going to if he could help it. The emotion was confirmed as his presence left completely.
“The Magus Cyprian kicked against the power of the Lord, and by the sign of the Cross, was brought low into humility.” I made the sign of the cross over the shewstones. “He yielded to the grace of God, and thus forgiven and filled with the Holy Spirit, he was lifted to become Bishop Cyprian of Antioch and then later saint.” I lifted my hands as I spoke, ending with them lifted high. “Emulate then, the path of your master, and yield to the same cross which no power could defy…” I made the sign of the cross over the shewstones again. “… and by the grace of the same God that exalted St. Cyprian, your master…” I gestured to the shewstones. “… reveal yourself to me.”
The candle lit with a bright false flame that settled down into the half-inch tall abiding glow I have been accustomed to seeing. He laid his hands flat behind the shewstones as the false smoke from the candle bent to encircle the ring of his right little finger before collecting at, and falling into, the amber piece. His appearance fooled my senses into believing a solid body was seated at the other side of the table, and his clothes almost took on the hue of green again. There was no smile upon his face, no congratulations at my forcing him to appear. Only stony silence.
When his presence did not flee after a couple of seconds, I realized I was trembling and feeling weak. It took me a minute before I could work my mouth for speech.
“Have you any more to why I should allow you to inhabit the Hierophant card?”
«No. I do not.»
I was spent, but I could not understand why. I had not been here for hours. I had been seated the entire time. I was reading from prepared slips of paper. The only part of me that I had to exert was my will, and even then, I didn’t even have to look cross-eyed across the table.
I felt like I had been wrestling my shadow all night.
“Have you any words to speak to me?”
«No. I do not.»
Okay. While I did not gain any verbal information, I learned a new thing just the same. I’ll count today as a win. I gave the Apophenia Invitation and the License to Depart. When the candle extinguished, I felt a pressure leave my chest. As I stood with the black knife and turned clockwise while reciting Psalm 54, I felt more awake and aware. Removing the amulet as the last act of “cleaning up” made my ears pop and allowed the sounds of the house to soak into my awareness as if I had removed a thick hood from over my head.
To my surprise, the total ritual time was 35 minutes.