Saturday, November 27, 2004

The power of NOT

Tonight was Un-Gnostic Not-Mass. H. and B. hosted it as the Priestess and Priest, but they have to be careful to maintain a proper distance from the O.T.O.. It has something to do with recognizing the letter of the law, but the members of the lodge joining in spirit to support them. Dave was there, with his mother: She was attending her first mass, just to see what her little boy as been up to all of these years. Pam would have been there but for having to travel to Las Vegas to ordain a priestess. Once again, Mass was great. Conversation was great. Helping the gang clean and pack when it was done was great.

I've had a number of people tell me now that the first degree and higher initiations are real head turners. Yet all of them then took a step back and said, "It's not the actual initiation ritual. It's what the universe does to you before and after." This conversation took place tonight with a woman I have known for a few years now. I mentioned to her something about the universe seeing if you are really serious about it (no one corrected me). She agreed, but then added that I should make sure to get all of my "Accounts Paid Up", referring to Karma. She also said something about making sure I had the oil changed in my car, and mundane things like that, because if I didn't do it before initiation, it sure as hell wouldn't get done after. So I mumbled something about all the energy I had put into being totally pissed off at my wife, and I got a look from her like, "Yup, you better do something about that."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Starting the ball rolling

Last Saturday night was Gnostic Mass at Pam's place. Much came of the meeting, not the least of which was getting the paperwork to apply for my Minerval initiation. But let's take it one step at a time.

First is Pam's place. It's a two story townhouse with a living room that soars to the roof, almost the full two stories up. As you enter, there are stairs to the left, a large slab of wall directly ahead, going up the full two stories, nothing to the right, then a bay window behind. The large wall had a large cross mounted on it, each part of it made of three parallel lengths of square steel tube of different width. It was impressive and artistic. In the middle of the cross was a rose made of a sort of filigree or wire mesh. The rosy cross. In the alcove next to the bay window, opposite the cross, was a coffin - a real live coffin purchased for a ritual last year. After the ritual was done there was a "What do we do with this thing?" moment. So it ended up at Pam's place. Then lining the sides of the room were pews purchased from an LDS chapel that was 'going out of the business'. Set up in the middle of all this are the alters and tomb. It was a tight fit overall, but still very workable.

Before the ritual proper, there was a baptism for Dave and Pam's 11 year old daughter. She was the cutie that I was trading faces with at my first ever mass, about 2 years ago. She is still a cutie (more attitude that looks) and still thin as a pole, and still a fun one to flirt with (all in innocence, of course).

It was a bit crowded for mass, but it was a good ritual. Pam and Dave doing the honors as HP, and a gentleman named Marc doing duties as deacon. After Mass I talked to Pam about getting a Minerval initiation. She interviewed me and must have like my answers because I left with the application papers in my hands. On the other hand, the Minerval is sort of a 'get to know each other' grade, so I think they allow pretty much anyone to apply.

Also after the ritual was a fit of drinking and socializing. It really felt good. The conversation was good. Better still I felt like I could be me and not fake at being someone I am not.

It was an interesting group, and an interesting time socializing. I'll have to admit the group has its odd points and players, but that is all to be expected. I will also have to confess that I was doing my own small part to add to the strangeness, having the 'slut radar' going. (By that I mean to say that I was playing the part of slut, at least so much as I am capable, and was keeping an eye out for unattached women. This is NOT to mean that I was looking out for sluts.)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Ben Stein (argh)

There is this problem. You think you have it all figured then some kike on a website starts rocking your boat. Ben Stein, in an article on his website, shows that he just doesn't get the "Bush Lied – Saddam didn't have fuck to do with 9-11" thing. But then he recounts some of the atrocities that Saddam forced on his people. Then I have to re-evaluate. As fucked up as our presence in Iraq is, maybe things really could be worse. (But then how do you balance the few people no longer subjected to extreme torture against the thousands now being subjected to the current disruptions – or the few being killed by the Islamaniacs – or the odd US Marine who takes his angst out on a wounded man in a mosque.)

I went to Steamers, hoping to find a quiet corner to crawl into. But there was a concert starting and the place was packed. I ran into a friend at the door and she extended a last minute invitation to her birthday party. I was flattered she would ask, but declined. My choice had everything to do with needing to get some sleep and already having enough to drink. She said she would have invited me sooner, but knew about my problems with booze. I tried to explain she was making assumptions. She does that a lot. There was another conversation where I had to stop her and explain that she had filled in gaps with assumption. Do I need to sit her down and have the talk with her about close hole, open ears, stop filling in gaps? We all do it. Mea culpa, but not quite so mea as her culpa.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Mirth and Reverence

I attended my second ritual with the coven last night. This time the leader asked to meet in advance with a few of us. The theme of the meeting was the need to shape up some loose ends of the coven. For starters, we are instituting a "No alcohol or drugs" rule. We are also changing locations and meeting at the leader's house. The previous venue is too much of a party zone (not to mention the other chaos) and isn't conducive to ritual or to the new Straight and Sober rules. Beyond that, she also want us older and wiser members to set an example for the younger members. This includes dressing nicer, maintaining a better persona (I mentioned the phrase "Mirth and Reverence" and Liz liked the balance it presented), and "Acting with and projecting power". That last one (which I know I am misquoting) seemed a bit much to me. Magpies and Wombats don't project power. Oh...did I mention my Coven Name is "Magpie?"

Then, of course, none of the baby bats who we are supposed to put on this act for actually showed up for ritual. Then again, I think some of the pep talk is for us, not for them. It is easier to ask you to be the example for someone else than to tell you that you are actually the problem. For example, there was the thing with Drunk Chick wrapping herself around me, followed by the "What the Fuck?" conversation. Did this cause the move in the direction of cleaning up? Another question is how much of this has to do with me joining? I had made a point of saying that I couldn't be around pot. But I also made it clear I wasn't joining, but just trying it on for size. Maybe things were already headed this direction and I sort of nudged them along. If so, I wasn't trying or asking. Nevertheless, I am pleased.

So does this mean I am one of the elders of the Coven? I ask that a bit tongue in cheek. Maybe they figure "Old" and "Elder" go together.

The focus of ritual was to do some energy work – hold an item to the heart and see if you tend to fall toward it or away from it. It seems as if everything I held raised a mental reminder of Kathleen, resulting in my not being able to trust my reactions. Of course I tended to fall away from these items, but was it an honest reaction or not? Man – it would be nice to turn off the brain for awhile and just let things happen on their own.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Attack of the Rotater Cuffs

I'm waiting for Kathleen to get out of surgery. She's getting the rotator cuff on her left shoulder repaired.

I first ran across the quarterly rag called "Tin House" about 3 years ago. This past summer I ponied up for a subscription and this week I finally got around to seriously reading it. I had forgotten what truly good writing is like. The poetry is so-so, but the first two short stories were amazing. I almost fear to move on to the third, for the opposing fears that it will either be a disappointment, or that it will be good enough to drag me over some sort of literary precipice – a point of no return that will prevent me from ever picking up another lesser magazine or novel.

The waiting area for outpatient surgery is interesting for two reasons, related to each other and both having to do with people watching. First is that there is such a cross section of people here. Unless you are the cherry atop the economic cake, or the droppings on the floor, you are stripped of strata and difference before being ushered into the labyrinth of check in, preparation and waiting. All are the same. So I am seeing a wide cross section of the populous. More than that, where ill health is the whole reason to be here, there is less of the Fitness/Glamour magazine feel to the place and more of a misting of well drizzled and grizzled reality. (Perhaps if there is a common thread in the parade of souls, there is that of obesity, especially among those who are obviously here for treatment. Fat seems to be the polio or bubonic plague of 21st century America.)

The second venue for observation sweetens the first, being the fact that nearly every person in this area is in the company of a child or parent. In a few cases there are three generations walking down the passage together. It most interesting to observe when the younger generation is adult, and has become set and settled into the ways of their life. Then you compare that person to the parent and see the similarities, in appearance, behavior, habit and persona. You realize that how a person plays out their life, and by that I define life in terms that ignore such trivialities as possessions, career or role, is embedded in the template of their parents and grandparents. Thus when I look to Kathleen, I see her forever being like her mother, full of projects and crisis and children, always swooping in and out of their lives and home, as a planet on the elliptical orbit, sometimes near and sometimes far, but always within the firm bonds agreed upon by the opposing pulls of gravity and motion. As for me, I see my father, living his life in the office, in the Rose Room of his house, or in solitary projects. He supported his family and helped them, but always from a proper and protected position, much like the bank teller who, no matter how friendly and caring, is still behind an impenetrable barrier and is still concerned with your transactions and happiness only in so far as it will look good on his books and in his cash drawer at the end of the day. Or I see gramps, whose last act before his stroke (an act that was also the mark and or cause of his stroke) spent a small number of days suddenly shunning the house and his wife and busying himself with the garden. Even before that, I remembered him as being reserved and sticking to himself. So. My fate is foretold in the actions of my fathers.

It was almost exhausting to listen to the conversation before Kathleen was wheeled off to pre-op, as the doctor went over the list of medications she was on, the ones she was allergic to, the ones she just thought were icky, etc. Again, my eyeballs scrape in their sockets as I wonder how much of the paranoia is justified and how much is fantasy. I contrast this to when I will some day be talking to the same doctor before having my knees done: "I take no drugs and I fear no drugs." [ed. That day fast approaches. Since the original writing, my left knee has gone to hell and I have my first appointment scheduled for Nov. 23.] The last thing I took was Advil two weeks ago to kill a hangover, and I've never consumed a drug (legal or illicit) that I wasn't able to stare down and force into an abject submission to my will. (OK…there was that little incident with the percedan, but that was a matter of dosage and enthusiasm. Then there was the X. It won't happen again.)

To add to the book list: "The man who gave thunder to the earth" by Nancy Wood.