Magic Upon Beltane Eve

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Little Rio Grande at Pot Creek

“I says to myself, I reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain’t had no experience, and can’t say for certain; but it looks so to me, anyway…”  ~ Huckleberry Finn

Ursa Major is my morning companion, every morning that is free of clouds during the dark hours before dawn. Yesterday’s rain and snow and sleet has passed, and although the storm is forecast to go on well into tomorrow the clouds have parted just now. I was out there to see the clearing happen. I have nothing against clouds. I love a rainy night, right? Thanks, Eddy Rabbit! It’s the change that thrills. Earlier, my first outing of the morning, I was thinking about how it is said that when dogs are barking unaccountably at night that the goddess Hecate is passing through. At that moment dogs started barking unaccountably and I got the good chills bigtime. Tis Beltane Eve, my sisters and brothers. The Veil is thin at this time, when Summer begins. Bear in mind that I practice “Model Agnosticism”, a term coined by the late great Robert Anton Wilson, and that means that I can go all materialist on you one minute, then slip right into neopaganism the next, then the next I am attempting to glean meaning from the LRH at CERN, seeking a glimpse at dark matter, then the next alls I want is to have a pint of Guinness on tap, and a shot of Jameson’s, at the Whitehorse Tavern, in the West Village of Greenwich, with the ghost of Dylan Thomas. Poetry is not to be neglected. But, as it is Beltane, I am going with the neopagan tack. Yes I felt Hecate passing through the ‘hood, and yes I asked my cat to protect me from dark witches. She was down with that BTW. And yes, the Goddess did bless me through some delightful flirting done by a sweet, young, and beautiful, young Costa Rican woman, on my behalf. OMG. And that encounter busted up a deep dark spell in the mental illness I bear. When in the dark spaces it is easier for the dark witches to come round. It is a myth that you must allow dark magic to affect you; you must accede to the force; you must give in, open to through timidity or ignorance, or simply say get it over with I’ve got a life to live here. One must be prudent, and one must also look to love for protection. I’ve got Brighid, Hecate, and Ursa Major in my posse this morning, and a workday ahead of me. What will the Mother Goddess bring me today?

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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The Flirtatious Tech

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“I don’t believe that consciousness is generated by the brain. I believe that the brain is more of a reciever of consciousness.”  ~  Graham Hancock

Soft snow. Yesterday, rain at dawn, now this. I like it. A gray sky suits me well today. Yesterday was a nightmare in that the dark part of this mental illness they call bipolar 2 got the best of me. Luckily I had an obligation to fulfill, which came in the form of a visit to the veterinary clinic to have Rosie’s blood sugar level checked. A little low says the lovely Doctor Kim, but within acceptable parameters. Good kitty. Necessity pulled me out of the chemical funk, although the rest of the day was still at the edge of nightmarish. Folks who have never been in the dark space of mental illness cannot even begin to imagine. Bad, bad, bad. The late and fabulous writer David Foster Wallace called depression “The Bad Thing”, and he wrote a short story about it, “The Depressed Person“. It’s hard to read due to content, but Wallace is a bit hard to read anyway. He makes the reader work, and hard. But he is worth the read, even if it is just to experience a few of his long and intricate sentences. Meanwhile, back at the vet clinic. I got a pleasant surprise there, which actually had me smiling and shaking my head, on and off all day after that. OMG, she is a beauty. She’s a vet tech there, and when she came through the door to get the cat she did so with a swagger and a smile. She took my breath for a moment. Last time I did the flirting. This time it was all about her, and I drank that attention right up. And then again when she brought Rosie back out after the test. As she returned to the back room she tossed a glance over her left shoulder, twice, brilliant smile, bounce in step, wink in eyes. Yes she is young enough to be my granddaughter. That’s irrelevant, k? Don’t go there. Just don’t. My Costa Rican friend brightened up, with her beauty, a truly horrid day, in a way that can only be described as divine providence. Age has nothing to do with that. This is human intersubjective relations. Like I said – OMG. And on that note – sad here because I will not be going back to the vet for nearly two months. Oh woe is me, right? I think I’ll drive into town and relish the snow that covers the place this morning.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Soft Rain

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“Bodily haste and exertion usually leave our thoughts very much at the mercy of our feelings and imagination.”  ~  George Elliot

Soft rain at dawn. Thoughts not quite quiet. Tomorrow beacons in tow.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Return to Magic

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“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”  ~  Roald Dahl

I’ve a truly unusual state of mind these past few days. It’s kinda sorta fun but it is also hard work for me to apply myself to the task at hand. And my upper back hurts like the dickens at the end of the work day. Let’s not forget that. I’m finding the physical therapy goal, to restore good posture and reduce the back pain, to be daunting, to say the least. Trust me, Alicia, I’m on it. You are an inspiration. I guess I am on about gratitude this morning. During this time when I am riding out a more than notable transformation of my life I find that the giggling twelve year old in me is delighted; and that may be my greatest asset, at this time. That boy, that twelve year old was way into science fiction. He was trying to balance, without knowing it, the emergence, the unfolding, of clinical depression with a deeply optimistic vision of the future. Today he looks out to see that society has become somewhat bugfuck. Somewhat?! It’s more than that. I understated that. My bad. Clinical depression does that to you. The “all hope is lost” flag pops up way too easily, and too often. I hate it when that happens. Yet oddly enough I am finding that my psychic powers are coming back to me. I repressed them slowly after the NDE, bike accident, whatever. Empathy is at the core of this return, and I mean to allow these powers to emerge fully, so much so that I can cease calling them “powers”. Magick has its own powers. I’ll run with that. But let’s keep this short this morning. A dear old friend named Sol Divina is on my mind and I find that writing is detracting from a feeling that needs attention. So on that note  .  .  .

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Songs of Freedom

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“The fire. The odor of burning juniper is the sweetest fragrance on the face of the earth, in my honest judgment; I doubt if all the smoking censers of Dante’s paradise could equal it. One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.”  ~  Edward Abbey 

The sky is slate gray, dark, with the faint hue of fresh blueberries. Fresh, pre-dawn air. Roundabout 37º. Earlier the songs of coyotes, long silent, returned to the neighborhood. I’ve missed them. It was nothing bold, or brash, or loud. It was a simple, faint musical sound; indefinite and demure. Some of the local dogs were having none of it, but they did not have their way. These were songs of freedom. I’ve got the cat on my lap right now. She tried to hold my left arm down, so that the motions of typing did not disturb her rest, but typing is what I am doing and she can bloody well get back up on the bed if she doesn’t like it. She stays, and she is purring. All is right with the world. My mind is humming, chock full of thoughts about human relations, and the way that we have no other choice than to deal with it as it is dealt. People are strange. In my current circles these unavoidable relations are running in a harmonious way. Lucky me, right? As an introvert I get ruffled, inwardly, when harmony falters. I am the middle child of three brothers. The middle child is all too often the peacekeeper. I say the world would be a better place if the older and younger try that on occasion. Just sayin’. It must have been something from my dreams last night, something that walked right in to my waking consciousness. Bear in mind that waking consciousness is not my favorite, but it is the form of consciousness that is most effective when you are awake. The world needs more dreamers and less analysts. Can dreams be expressed through analysis? I wouldn’t recommend you try it at home. Dreams need to be open-ended and expansive. Otherwise alls ya get is fantasy. For good fantasy go watch “Game of Thrones” or a Donald Trump speech. I quit watching “Game of Thrones”right after the “Red Wedding” scene. Too violent and bloody. Trump I am keeping an eye on. Speaking of bloody , I also woke up remembering the cat named Tessie, who remained in the cattery at the animal shelter for over one year, until I took the initiative and sparked an incentive that got Tessie and her ten long-timer companions adopted. But that is not the thing about Tessie that is with me this morning. I am remembering the bite she gave me, which far exceeded, pain-wise, any other physical insult my corporeal self has ever experienced. That friggin cat chomped me a good one! Ouch. That bite happened coming up on two years ago now. The whole scene in which it happened was chaotic and impassioned, but it was also a clear example of Nature playing out the interrelations of a group of mammals, caught up in a situation where the one seeking freedom failed to achieve that goal. Tessie had escaped from her cage. I don’t know who got her back in there, but it wasn’t me. I was too busy bleeding and cursing. Those were also the days when the internal revolution that ended with two good people going down was just beginning to rise. They too got bit, but the situational parameters of that particular situation had nothing to do with freedom. It was something altogether different. And that bite was metaphorical in nature. The deep bone ache of sadness for those two good peeps remains with me to this day. And my fingernail, of the right index finger where Tessie impressed her statement, remains fucked up to this day. It serves me as a badge of sorts, as a reminder to avoid getting bit by mammals. I love that cat and I always will. Sounds kinda Buddhist, right? I see it more as Taoist. Can you see the difference? I can.

On that obscure and mysterious note I will commence to wrap up this blog post, which BTW I have enjoyed crafting. I don’t always craft these posts. Sometimes they just squirt out like toothpaste. But not today. Today I can finally feel the clearness that has been so painfully absent from my mental faculties for about two weeks now. It probably makes no difference but I have that one comment in mind, the only comment left on this blog in a very very very long time: that unidentified person, commenter, whatever, suggested that my bipolar disorder type two had changed to type one; a statement that seemed to be questioning whether or not the mental illness is real at all. What actually was happening was that a hypomanic episode was riding in confluence with a long low depressive cycle. If it had been manic instead of hypomanic I would have felt euphoric about it, whereas I disliked it very much. Some peeps get their buttons pushed and they spout off without doing their homework. Bless you, my friend. I know you didn’t know what you were saying, but I also know that you were free to say it.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

That Sweet Bighorn Moon

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“Don’t confuse the teacher with the lesson, the ritual with the ecstasy, the transmitter of the symbol with the symbol itself.”  ~  Neil Gaiman

Something really mystified me lately: I had no idea how iconic and influential Prince was, is, whatever; no idea why his death flashed so brightly through the media. It didn’t take me long to learn the why of my ignorance, but it was not something I figured out, it came to me through a spark of intuition. Here’s the thing, k? I also never was much into Michael Jackson until he died, except maybe for the mashup I once heard, where some DJ dude crafted together Michael’s “Billy Jean” with Steely Dan’s “Do it Again”. Likewise, I had no idea how big an impact the release of the MacIntosh computer was when it happened. The computer was released just over a week before I banged my head a good one. Although the album had been released two years earlier Michael’s stellar achievement was lost to me due to head trauma. By the time Prince’s “Purple Rain” was released, mid-june of ’84, Prince’s stellar achievement was effectively nil to me because I was just beginning to realize that, because of the head trauma, I was truly, in every sense of the word, fucked up. I missed a lot because of the traumatic brain injury. The surgical nurse at the Jackson Memorial Trauma Center, at the University of Miami, told me that there was no neurological damage because there had been no concussion. When I told this to the lovely Dr. Solomon, my psychiatrist for two years, she charmingly said, with anger in her voice, “Bullllll – oney!”. I love that woman. My mind was so rattled for that first two years that the real world might as well have been a dream, which to me it was. My bad. There are numerous scenes that stick out from those murky months but one of them was so touching that it’s surreal nature played second fiddle. One year after the accident I landed a job as a bellman is the Local 3-star hotel, Cheeca Lodge. One day I was in one of the third floor oceanfront rooms, and I found a gasping seagull out on the patio. The poor bird had clearly flown smack into the sliding glass door. The flash of empathy that did the tsunami thing through my heart and mind was as profound as it gets. It was the head trauma. I related fully, yet the odd thing was that I was both sad and full of joy, joy at the wonder of a seabird’s life, even though it was about to end. I picked up the bird and cradled it in my left arm, then carried it down to the front desk. The place was just getting busy with Happy Hour, and Early Bird dining for seniors, so the lobby had more than a few people in it. The two women behind the desk were horrified that I had brought the bird to them. I stood there, with the bird cradled like a baby in my arms, smiling yet teary-eyed, stroking over the bird’s heart, as I told them how life doesn’t end at death. The bird would be okay once she crossed over to the Other Side. The seagull died right then. There was a little birdie sigh, and I watched as the soul left the body. I was like that back then.

I’m still a little wacky from the full moon. The past week, mental health-wise, has been, shall we say, challenging. I think it was a combination of the Bighorn sheep (see EyeYotee post from April 23rd) and the dedicated care from my beautiful physical therapist that helped me get a handle. The combination of the low-grade mental health crisis with the power of the full moon felt like a stiff, jagged wind blowing through my soul. As I lay, eyes closed, with the therapist cradling my arm against her hip, I felt, along with the sensuous animal warmth, human warmth, the calm inner peace that so rarely appears when my mind is snagged and entangled in the vibes of mundane life. Nurture, dude – nurture! Later that day I stood at the edge of the chasm of the Rio Grande Gorge, watching three rams munching on sagebrush, and the scene looked so Disney-ish, until I shifted my focus into the Spiritual realm. Here was life. Precious, glowing life. My sense of wonder held sway; and the joie de vivre as well. The beautiful therapist, through her very touch, had already kindled gratitude for me. Ohhh! – Another thing I forgot to mention, concerning why I was out of touch with pop culture back in 1984, was that I used to listen to late night AM talk radio in those days. My brain was on fire. I often could not sleep. Most of the topics of conversation on those talk shows were a little offbeat, or obscure. One of the talk show hosts was Larry King. I could imagine sitting across the table from Larry, being interviewed by the man that I now know would become famous. I would tell Larry my story, including the celestial journey I took during the NDE, while my broken body lay upon the tarmac. And Larry would then ask, “Tell me, did it hurt?”. Yes sir it did.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

Compliance and Natural Recalcitrance

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“We have an obligation to use language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.”  ~  Neil Gaiman

“At all times something wondrous is happening.”  ~ Ken Ebert

Two lights in the sky at the moment. The just past full moon heading down to the horizon and the first pale light of the sun reaching up and out with a message concerning the new day. The message is something that you pretty much have to pick up as you go along. You’re not going to get it all at once. Don’t even try. I don’t care how much education you have. Just wait, just listen. You don’t want to get it wrong, now, do you? For me it’s laundry day. There’s a certain amount of waiting involved there but I am in and out of the laundromat in just over an hour. The place smells good too. And they sweep the floor throughout the day. I like it there. Second task is to deliver a birthday present to a friend. After that who knows. I’m not feeling well, yet a certain amount of resignation has kindly put me in a state that nearly serves as a proxy for mindfulness. That’ll do. I can feel the burn from Friday’s physical therapy session with a really really tall young fella named Leo. It was his last day on the job. I feel honored to have had his knowledge applied to my body’s needs.

There’s a raven squawking out there, and Oscar the turkey is giving a speech from atop the coop. He usually doesn’t gobble so much in the morning, not until he comes over to the gate near my room. He’s like the cat: he likes to tell me what to do. How compliant I am is anybody’s guess. Here tell I’m naturally recalcitrant. There’s plenty of evidence to support that opinion. Whatever. I don’t know if it’s the now long term depression or something more physical, but I just feel like sitting in the chair. I’ve been thinking about that lately. Comes a time when it is nearly impossible to separate the subjective behavioral aspects of depression from the more physical ones. The chicken/egg continuum takes over. It’s like all hey is that guy lazy or just bummed out. All of thee (sic) above dude. Observe and report. My face is hanging heavy today. It’s been a tough week, and a tough few years before that. And yet the cat sits at my side, patiently awaiting her morning meal. It is not like her to be patient and courteous. She’s another one likes ta push me around. But there is magic and love in that wily, unpredictable, and generally mysterious creature. She’s pretty much my anchor these days.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Pan’s Mythopoeic Wink

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“Let the yoke fall from our shoulders
Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all
We are all our hands and holders
Beneath this bold and brilliant sun”  ~  The Decembrists

Things have taken a surreal turn these past few days. I’ve been here before, this state of mind resonates with familiarity, and I have to take it as a natural eventuality, a purposeful manifestation, as a result. Was that last sentence awkward? Nah. It was hard to put it into words. Whatever ‘it’ is. I did pretty good. Trust me on that. I know where the trigger was; two days ago, on Thursday, in the physical therapy clinic. The therapist asked me to rotate my arms, an apparent request meant to check out the effectiveness of my rotator cuffs. So, there I stood, left arm up above, just behind the shoulder, and it would go no farther. She said to keep going. I looked at her, bemused. It didn’t hurt. Why was she asking me to move it? It wouldn’t move. That should have been obvious. There was a look of concern on her face, which for some reason turned my observation of the therapist into an admiration of a beautiful woman. She told me to do it any way I could, so I pushed a bit more and let the arm do it naturally. It came down outward from my body, down at an angle, away from my body, an adjusted kind of movement that has been so thoroughly accepted by me as to be second nature. It’s just the way it works. We moved over to a cushioned table and she had me lay down on my back. The examination ensued. Lots of fingertip probing, slow movements here, then there, back again, then over this way, and that. I had my eyes closed, wanting to put the focus of my vision inward. At one point she pulled my arm over and rested it on her right hip, where she clamped gently down on it to hold it in place, and with that secured she continued probing. There was a germ of concern about the arm, but no fear. I was distracted by the fact, and the sensations involved, that here was a very attractive woman performing an intimate encounter. The warmth where she held my arm felt healing. Sure, there was some feeling of sexuality, but the predominating feeling was that of healing. Just a simple touch can promote healing. Down near my elbow we came to discover a nerve that was not delivering pain so much as it was doing a reflexive twitch, much like your leg does when the doctor smacks your knee with a rubber mallet. “Yeah”, she said, “There’s a lot of tension in your elbow”. I told her that I had been getting some considerable pains in the elbow lately, down deep into the joint. What I didn’t tell her was that the pains were, in my memory, identical to those I got during my senior year in high school, which upon examination led the osteopathic doctor to conclude that it sure did seem like rheumatic fever, except there were no other symptoms. As it turned out I had another doctor, not quite three years later, diagnose “almost” rheumatic fever. But this time I had some powerful symptoms. I lost about twenty pounds in ten days. The ordeal was over by day ten. I’ll not go into detail except to say that I underwent a life-defining transformation. It was not especially a good one. But back to the beautiful therapist. She left me on that table with instructions for an exercise to strengthen my posture. During that exercise I became intensely emotional. Being in a room with numerous other people prevented me from letting the full emotions out. Breaking out into full tears would just not do.

Later, out in the wide open wilderness, underneath yesterday’s juniper tree, I psychically called out to the Great God Pan, asking him to show himself to me. He did this thing. It was the rising wind through the swaying dry stalks of grass. It was the faint sizzle of the juniper leaves over my head. The feel of volcanic stone, upon which I sat. I rolled a cigarette, more for the sacred symbolism of tobacco than for the calming effect the nicotine has over anxiety. The vast panorama before me opened me up as I felt the emotions involved in the feeling I had, that I have lost interest in life these days. Yet beneath this powerful feeling, which has not any ill feelings attached, I found there is a level where interest has not been lost. This is what Pan revealed to me. He had been there when the beautiful therapist was embracing my arm. He was there in response to the Goddess energy she applied toward healing. The therapist, an athlete with a dancer’s body, did stir feelings of sexuality that to my knowledge were somewhat out of context. There is a strong undercurrent of sexuality in Pan’s nature as well; the great horned god, who also carries a hidden current of gentleness. After a while I felt ready to leave the juniper tree and head back toward the car. I stepped carefully through the sagebrush obstacle course, back to the trail along the edge of the deep gorge. When I reached the trail I felt a presence and reflexively looked to my right. I found myself speaking out loud: “Hey, buddy!”. There stood a lone ram, great horns curled elegantly alongside his head. I talked to him for a short while then headed toward the trailhead.

What does it all mean? It means I have a beautiful therapist, right? It’s deeper than that. All told I have found a safe mode, if you will. My intellect tells me there is nothing left to my life, but the mythopoeic undercurrents tell my intellect that it is full of shit. That’s enough for me for now. I called out and Pan winked.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

 

 

Underneath the Juniper Tree

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“But who can remember pain, once it’s over? All that remains of it is a shadow, not in the mind even, in the flesh. Pain marks you, but too deep to see. Out of sight, out of mind.”  ~  Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

“One of the poets, whose name I cannot recall, has a passage, which I am unable at the moment to remember, in one of his works, which for the time being has slipped my mind, which hits off admirably this age-old situation.”  ~  P. G. Wodehouse

Yesterday was neither good nor bad. I could disassemble it through analysis, but let’s don’t. But it was a difficult day, so much so that around the midpoint, as I sat in mindfulness, under the protection of a juniper tree, I had a hard time letting it go, this difficulty multiplied, because by that time of day I hadn’t a clue as to what “letting it go” might look like. But it was quiet out there and that was all I really needed by that point. My memories had gone quiet as well. The traffic in town had been no match for the racket my memories were making. The place was out along the West Rim Trail, along the Rio Grande Gorge, out from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, maybe two miles, maybe more. An hour of hiking had sufficiently disarmed my sense of time. An encounter with three Bighorn rams had eased me back down into my animal self. The juniper tree was big enough for me to sit underneath its boughs, shaded from the sun, protected from whatever bad spirits I had been entertaining earlier in the day.

I had a physical therapy session at 7:30 AM yesterday, to address the periodic deep pain I get between my shoulder blades. I put my ten minutes in on the treadmill then went on to some other exercises under the guidance of the quite pretty therapist, who also owns and operates the clinic. The second set of exercises she wanted me to perform had to do with strengthening the shoulder sockets. She asked me to move each arm in turn, in a circular pattern. I started with the right arm and everything went well. The left arm not so well. That arm locked up tight at one point, damaged shoulder and all; too many bicycle crashes. That ended the intended exercise. She led me across the room to do an different exercise, which consisted of me on my belly, chin tucked back into my neck, with arms stretched back, and I proceeded to sort of bow my spine repetitively. After many repetitions I began to tire, and then came a truly startling wave of emotions. It was PTSD kicking in, full glory, putting me in touch with some muscle-stored memories of the time I crashed my bike and seriously tore up my face in the process. I told the therapist about it after I was through with the exercise, and she entered the data into her laptop. She told me, two weeks back, that some of us, who have PTSD related to the injuries we face in therapy, get these emotional flashbacks that interfere with the exercises. I finished that session with a truly lovely hot neck wrap that nearly facilitated a trance journey for me. When I realized that I was fixin’ to go all shamanic and stuff I opened my eyes and kept them open for the duration of the restful neck wrap thingy. I didn’t want to leave the room without taking my body with. When I did finally leave the building I had to stand still and survey the world to get my bearings: mountain, cloud, automobile, tree, jogger with their head in some digital place. Stuff like that. The real world. For whatever reason I knew that instead of going home I had to go out to the West Rim Trail and drink in the primal beauty out there. That’s how I ended up under the juniper tree. Those memories of that accident, made only more poignant by the fact that my NDE had occurred as a result of the crash  .  . .  well, memories aren’t reliable, are they?

I’ve got to go back for another session this morning. I don’t know. I just feel drained having been dragged through the emotions that my muscles have stored for these many years. I’ll need a nap afterwards.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

All That Matters

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“There are only two worlds – your world, which is the real world, and other worlds, the fantasy. Worlds like this are worlds of the human imagination: their reality, or lack of reality, is not important. What is important is that they are there. These worlds provide an alternative. Provide an escape. Provide a threat. Provide a dream, and power; provide refuge, and pain. They give your world meaning. They do not exist; and thus they are all that matters. ”  ~  Neil Gaiman

Taking the day off today. Too edgy to focus on writing. May your day be magical!

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.