Do Magick September ’17: Day 3 – Apophenia

Before I get to this morning’s shenanigans, allow me to distract you with a purchase made over a month ago. I had commissioned some canvas bags of a particular size to be made for the storage of particular things. The bags were made, paid for, shipped, and received without incident. Examination of the bags revealed they were each made to my specifications and I have nothing but praise for the crafter.

Yesterday evening, the memory of my morning words to [Patient Caller] came forcibly to mind. I had instructed him to take advantage of my indulgence of apophenia to use synchronicities, happenstances, and outright “spirit voices” to communicate with me during the day. Immediately after the memory was recognized, I was forcibly reminded of a set of crystals obtained at the leading of a friend to help me deal with some unpleasantness at the time. Putting two and two together to make an alternative form of four, I reached into the drawer I just happened to be standing by and retrieved the hand crafted canvas bag holding the two crystals.

Embedded in the exterior of the bag was a sewing needle.

It was my turn to summon memories now, as I tried and failed to remember when and if I had seen the needle in the bag before. It was the second bag put to use after they arrived, and I carried these crystals in my purse for at least a month in this very same bag without any incident, scratches, or blood-letting.

And yet, here was the very real and very sharp needle, pinned through the outside of the bag in a very obvious place that made it very hard to avoid being pricked by had I just grabbed the bag. Like I have done on a regular basis for the previous six weeks.

My own personal sewing kit is on the other side of the room, in a closed container (that is not a cookie tin), holding needles of a much cheaper and thinner quality than the inch and a half sharp shining matter-of-factly against the bone-white canvas. (Color theme, much?) This is not my needle.

Okay. Ignoring the impossibility of spontaneously appearing needles (and being glad the needle is steel and not gold because I don’t want any fae issues thank you very fucking much), if this is a message, what does it mean?

I accept this memory push as [Patient Caller’s] “spirit voice” as Birto did much the same before he actually drew my attention to something. To paraphrase: “Remember when you told me to do the thing? I’m doing the thing.”

The two crystals in the bag are palm sized, rounded pieces of amethyst and rose quartz. Two materials I usually stay away from because of the lack of any personal connection to what books, lists, and well-known bloggers have to say about them.[1] However, these two specific specimens were obtained as a direct result of an interaction with a deeply trusted friend who advised me of a method using the pair as a whole to assist with recovery from trauma.

So, here I am, standing at my table with a bag of healing, that happens to have a sewing needle stuck in it. How could I put these symbols together? Maybe if I hold the contents of the bag, I could piece together the form of the combined symbolism and find the function staring me in the face.

I removed the needle and pinned it to an index card for easy visibility and tracking first. Then I went to retrieve the crystals. Instead of just emptying the bag into my palm, the size and smoothness of the crystals meant it was safer to pull them out one by one than risk momentum sliding them over my palm and onto a hard surface.

So I was not in the least surprised by this point, to open the bag, peer within, and find a small amount of white string wound around a flat cardboard spool tucked neatly between the two crystals.

At this point, it could have been a duck feather and I would not have blinked.

After confirming the bag, which has been in constant use since it came to my hands and used for nothing else but holding these two crystals, held no other “unexpected objects”, I placed everything on the table in front of me and examined the new collection. Hefty sewing needle, durable white thread, amethyst, and rose quartz.

There was enough thread to mend a bag, but not enough to create a new one of the same size as the bag that thread had been found in. The needle and thread, together then, make a symbol of repair. The amethyst and rose quartz are together a set of tools for recovery. One is active, the other is passive (once in place), however both require focus and action to follow through.

I was being told, in a way that was sure to grab my full attention, to “fix my shit”.

Once I comprehended the message, I understood why it had to be said.

I grew up “Christian-ish”. It was not a pleasant childhood, and I had the Bible used as justification for abuse more times than I can remember. Escaping the tyranny of the home for the tyranny of the military, I easily fell into the gears of the local Christian churches who were recruiting new converts with even more fervor than the military recruiting new bodies. Service station to service station, each change of address also changed my church affiliation as the members of the departing churches would tell me who to seek out and who to avoid if I wanted to keep my faith.

Even after departing from military service, my dedication to what I thought was the One True Faith remained, and I wound up in cults adorned with Christian heraldry and costume. Now mind you, the entire time, I was having visions and dreams. But an unmarried (then married and uncontrollable, then divorced) woman of color having dreams and visions is not compatible with the American Christian ideal of a humble mother staying quiet in the home and being obedient to the (usually white) men leading the church.

My departure from Christianity can be summed up as thus: “I had the Devil beaten out of me, and when he left, he took my faith with him.” There are no metaphors in that statement.[2]

For years after, I wanted nothing to do with anything vaguely Christian. I was more hostile to Christianity than even the most dedicated convert to atheism. But as I started to work on my recovery and my healing, I found that I had to face it, face my part in it, and face that I seem to be circling the religion in a way that was as much heretical as it was confirming.

Two years ago, I sat in an empty Roman Catholic Church (that was open to the public at the time) for a total of five minutes before my anxiousness drove me to leave (peaceably).

Three months ago, I voluntarily took part in a group exercise that had me summoning the spirit Birto using grimoire techniques and calling on various entities from the Roman Catholic pantheon (and so many others).

One month ago, I participated in another group exercise that prayed a Roman Catholic novena for Saint Mary MacKillop. That exercise emboldened me to complete her novena by attending Mass.

And now I am performing the solo summoning of a spirit using even more grimoire techniques and requiring me to continue to attend Mass on a regular basis until the thirty day challenge is completed.

Each step forward had me facing my fears and anxieties, my memories and my abusers, and damn near pissing my britches a few times.

So to see [Patient Caller’s] “message” of the needle and thread physically connected to the amethyst and rose quartz made perfect sense. I’m going in deeper than I ever had since my apostasy. I’m asking for “sights and wonders”. I am risking visions as intense as those I had during the height of my faith.

It will not be enough to just “know my baseline” so I can be aware of when I’m “not myself”. I need to continue with the process of healing myself, of recovering from my traumas, and learning to take advantage what others tried to literally beat out of me because they could not control it to their benefice.

And I need to be active about it.

I made a reminder to myself for the late morning to make reflection a more active component of my daily meditation and went to bed for the night.

I was already awake when the morning alarm sounded. Fear has a way of racing time like that. I had spent the night revisiting some of my more intense visions I experienced during my deeply devoted Christian years. From minor warnings that could be dismissed as mere friendly concern if you did not know my background, to a major two-hour vision that not only successfully foretold the splitting of a church body but contained details that no person could possibly know about several of the important individuals leading up to and following the actual split. There’s the angelic visitation where the eldress to whom the message was delivered had cried in a way that will haunt me to my death. There’s the angelic visitation where the pastor was called out for his abuse of me and he struck me in the face to silence me and “rebuke the lying spirit”.

And then there’s the “angels” that came in my latter Christian years, the years ruled over by cults, false prophets, and “concerned Christians” who told me if I truly had faith, I would kill myself than allow “false words” to be spoken through me.

I laid in bed for another thirty minutes, arguing with my fears and pointing out all the facts that demonstrated I was not in that predicament anymore. Yes, I’m apostate. But I am not alone as I was, then. I have had access to more information in the past thirty days than I ever did during those decades. I am not isolated from other people should I need their assistance, reassurance, or work.

I have faced “demons” and daemones. I have faced “angels” and angeloi. I have faced things I knew were gods, things I wished were gods, and things that were nothing godlike at all. I have seen the depths of my own soul, and embraced them for being part of myself. Why the hell am I afraid now?

I reminded myself of the third component of my inquiry to Birto about [Patient Caller]. “Why?”

I got up.

During the “communication” phase of the ritual, my head was filled with static during that time. Because of an asthma sufferer living in the house, the strongly scented candles I have will never be lit. So all the references to them being lit in prior posts were what I was “seeing” with my “mind’s eye”.

I would see the candle sputter as something tried to light it, and then quickly extinguish as the spiritual environment dampened all attempts to communicate. I only “heard” the tone and emotional weight of the “words” being spoken from the spirit across the book. Only three phrases of actual “verbal” communication were received.

He seemed displeased. He seemed disappointed. Some part of the gear was not satisfactory. “… hinders you …” “… must do …” “… your peers for examples and assistance …” I knew which part of the ritual gear he was referring to. Despite not having distinct words to guide me, I was able to “hear” enough of his communication to understand the homework I have been assigned. There is no way I am going to get replacement cord for the circles immediately. I will have to be very precise with the laying of what I do have until I can order the replacements.

That the ritual was being hampered due to a technicality and not to the maelstrom of barely controlled thoughts in my head was a reassurance.

From the first word of the Planetary Prayer for Sunday to the cutting of the circle after reciting Psalm 54 was thirty-two minutes.  That haste led to the rushed laying of the circles that compromised the ritual. I did include the “seeds” speech, once again opening the door to allow [Patient Caller] to manifest outside of ritual time until I make the attempt again tomorrow morning.

I am almost looking forward to the dry period that is sure to come and the merely hundred word updates that are mostly an apology for not having any exciting to write about.

Yea, right.

[1] However, I will agree that they do make good defensive stones if thrown hard enough. Slingshots make such attempts super-effective.

[2] I am glossing over decades of abuse, manipulation, and cruelty.