A Précis of My Horrors

No persona now. No mask. Just some bare and barren truths about my life, my depression, my anxiety disorder. Anxiety is too weak a word of course. Just some truths about my horrors.

—Two days of hypomanic blogging which garnered me new followers and likes and views of my blog. Then the horrors began. The days, months, years that came before of course were not free of horrors either. But a new season of horror had come, a new arising of horror.

I am frightened that it was in fact hypomania which fueled me those two days. Hypomania and perhaps thus some variety of bipolar disorder would be a new prize in my collection of disorders. I have not contacted my psychiatrist about the possible hypomania as my therapist has repeatedly encouraged me to do. I do not want new pills to take. I do not want to have yet another disorder in my brain, yet another mental illness. So I do nothing, irrational, quite paralyzed by fear.

I sit here in paralysis unable to force myself to move for hours at a time. I neglect showering, brushing my teeth, eating, even going to the bathroom because I simply cannot move. Trash accumulates in the kitchen where mold grows on a long unwashed bowl. Clutter clots the living room and bedroom. My apartment is an embarrassment, a folly, a horror to me. I am out of food that does not require preparation and I do not visit the grocery store so I sit here, pangs of hunger arising and then vanishing again into nothingness. Some days I neglect sleep. Some days I sleep most of the day and night, waking for an hour or two. During my waking hours I generally do either literally nothing, sitting staring into nothingness while I wait for the horrors to pass, or I watch television shows on my computer. Occasionally I chat with friends, friends I have never met in real life, on Facebook.

Two days ago I thought I was going mad. My friend Stephane typed these words to me:

I wish I could just take the hurt away and make everything better

I cried — because no one had said such sweet words to me for years. Crying made things a little better. For a while. I was chatting with Stephane while fearing that I was becoming insane or already was insane. The fear was unbearable. I typed to my friend quickly, frenetically, in an effort to ease the pain, the fear, in an effort to express it somehow to someone kind enough to listen, or rather to read. Getting it off my chest however did not help. I took a two milligram Xanax and two capsules of Neurontin. In about an hour my terror had subsided into the background. Now I knew why I feared and whence the terror. I had been suffering a panic attack, a new species of panic attack with no physical symptoms and no fear of death but instead a fear or rather a certainty of madness. Now I attempt to take the Xanax-Neurontin cocktail every six hours because Xanax is effective, according to Wikipedia, for about six hours. As I take four two milligram tablets of Xanax every day taking this cocktail every six hours is practical, sensible, and feasible.

—I was going to type, to tell you so much more, but my mind wanders and clouds. I wish I could tell you the truth about mental illness, my mental illnesses, my major depressive disorder, my anxiety disorder, and now, I fear, a possible bipolar disorder although this remains undiagnosed and, I hope, spurious. But I can’t express it to you, I can’t convey it in words. And why would you, my dear readers, even want such a thing conveyed to you? You have no reason to want such a thing.

I am a powerful sorceress — when I am well. Even now I have spirits that protect me while I am unable to protect myself. My therapist knows all about my sorcery and my experiences with spirits, magick, and so on. She does not think these things madness. Rather she thinks my madness hinders my powers in these arenas. I believe she is correct.

Was it wise to attempt a précis of my horrors? I am also infinitely weak. Was it wise to air this fact to the entire Internet? Will I lose face before my small but beloved readership? I do not know the answers to these questions. Fortunately I do not care about face and I am either wise or a fool and cannot change which one I am, whichever that may be.

I value the truth. I value the minority, the unloved, the despised, the Other. I am mentally ill. Therefore I have attempted to tell you the truth about the unloved minority which is comprised of the mentally ill, we who are most certainly Other. If you have read this broken account I hope you have learned something or have otherwise profited from your reading of it. Much love to you. —Rachel Izabella

 

Back To Basics

I’m thinking I need to go back and learn some of the basics I skipped when first starting out with magic. Some of the stuff I don’t know — it’s too embarrassing to go into. So I want to choose a beginner’s book and learn and actually do all the exercises. But I don’t want to waste my time. (And lest anyone suggest it, Donald Michael Craig’s Modern Magick looks very much like a waste of time to me.)

I have Frater U∴D∴’s High Magic, originally titled Practical Magic in German, but that name was already taken by a movie here in America. Craig’s book just isn’t practical enough for what I actually need and already practice. Practical magic is what I need. And I’ve heard U∴D∴’s book is good. So that’s one choice.

Then there’s Initiation Into Hermetics by Franz Bardon. A friend, Jack Faust, tells me I need to read, learn and actually do everything in this book. But I’m wondering if it would be like skipping ahead. In other words, is it basic enough?

Are there other books that aren’t too expensive that folks would recommend? Those are all I actually own that might fit the bill.

I do have Liber Null & Psychonaut — it was actually the first magic book I ever bought — but I really did all or almost all the beginner’s exercises in the first part (believe it or not, I have to blink and just can’t stare at something for hours without blinking several hundred times), and there’s just not a lot of actual magic in there. A lot of rhetoric about Chaos Magick, but I don’t need rhetoric.

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When I began learning magic I was in crisis mode. I’d met a few spirits, and they had all been nice, or at least neutral. I had learned without knowing what I was really doing to astral project and twice a week I went exploring the Astral. I limited myself to twice a week because it was so much fun I knew I could get addicted to it if I didn’t exercise some control. Everything was sweetness and light. Almost.

The very first spirit I met … I was meditating in the woods, back against a tree, and she seemed a beautiful woman in white. I was so deep in some trancelike state that I couldn’t even tell when my eyes were open and when they were closed — the woods looked exactly the same either way. And she held a star in her fingers and put it in my mouth and I swallowed it like a pill. Then she took my hands and I stood up and we danced… Whatever was in that “star” she gave me instantly and completely cured the serious bout of depression I was suffering through at the time. Meeting her and being healed by her also left me with the Sight, and I could See for about a year before the gift faded away. That was amazing, but it was also … just too much all at once. Spirits everywhere, strange things I have no names for appearing at the most awkward moments. I started experiencing overperception as child psychologists call it and feeling some heavy duty stress just from Seeing too much too soon all the time.

And then, finally, I met a spirit that wasn’t friendly at all. In fact it attacked me in the gut with sheer terror and showed me a wide array of full-blown paranormal phenomena. Ectomist, time dilation, distortion of space, etc., etc. It scared the crap out of me. But then a few days later I decided I wasn’t going to put up with any more of that shit, not from any spirit ever again, and that I would learn magic and how to defend myself. So I plunged in, all alone, and taught myself any magic that interested me for several years. Being self-taught like that is great — it gives you the opportunity to do things you’re not even supposed to be able to do, things you may never be able to accomplish again in fact, after beginner’s mind has grown jaded, but it invariably leaves gaps in your education.

I took Jason Miller’s Strategic Sorcery course, but, amazingly great as it is, in my opinion and my opinion only it’s best to come to that course already knowing some basics, and the course seems, to me, optimally designed for people who already belong to a magical tradition and want to add some of the most mind-blowing magic anywhere to their repertoire. —No. Full stop. Let me rephrase what I just said. I should merely say instead that I was the problem. I was basically clueless at the time, and Strategic Sorcery is just going to be over the head of the clueless.

I know other fellow students who were beginners and thoroughly enjoyed the course and had no trouble with most of the lessons. None seemed as clueless as I did though. Eventually I got somewhat clueful, and Strategic Sorcery is still the basis of my praxis to this day. I’m still returning to the fifty-two lessons again and again. Jason Miller’s course is the best bargain in the magical world.

Anyway, what I did after the genius loci or spirit of place attacked me was concentrate on defensive and offensive magic first. I’ve since picked up a lot (a whole lot, if I do say so myself), but still I have these woeful gaps in my knowledge, like any autodidact. I call myself an autodidact even though I’ve taken the Strategic Sorcery course over the Internet because, well, I took it over the Internet. I have had no face to face training whatsoever.

Comments? Suggestions? Any and all will be very welcome.

Much love. —Rachel Izabella

How I Became a Polytheist

I share many things, I might as well share this. A friend on Twitter shared the story of his conversion to polytheism. I shared mine. Here’s my story, exactly as I typed it on Twitter.

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I like your story better than mine, but here goes, quicky version. I lost my job in 2007, it was not a good parting.

I saw a therapist who was a clinical hypnotherapist. He taught me what he frankly called trance. I was reading Jung…

…and took everything he taught me and took it ten steps further, not knowing what I was doing, just having fun…

…at some point I stumbled across the hedge, without knowing it. And kept on going, still ignorant…

…one day I was walking in the woods and I sat down against a tree to meditate and fell into trance…

…couldnt tell if my eyes were open or shut…and a beautiful woman in white approached, holding a star between her fingertips

and I opened my mouth and swallowed it like a pill, and then we danced in the woods—And then I was again sitting & she was gone

My depression was cured. I could not deny I’d met a spirit. And soon I discovered Hekate. The End.