Sunday, March 14, 2010

Autumn of Golden Mysteries Revealed

Daring Dreams over Coffee Spoons -
To this beginning
Early and late - we remember last night’s sigh
the breath of finality - a rebirth
We are random avengers, looking in pools of letters
to make a word - “The Word”

And yet, after fresh openings, the Door closes, solid
We remember - the Dragon Smoke, Morning stars, and
split second smiles;

The Day Breaks -

S.M. 1972

This article reveals the events and the time that was probably the most creative in my life, when I was aided by a dear friend who helped me build the foundation of the magickal system that I use today. The most amazing thing is that what happened was almost 38 years ago when we were only around 17 years old. We were young, self-absorbed, ill-informed and idealistic. We truly believed that anything was possible. We thought that we were on the edge of the greatest discoveries ever sought in the world of the occult, magick and witchcraft. How silly it all seems today, except that some of what we discovered was quite revolutionary and unique. It led to a whole new way of looking at things that was quite revelatory. We were romantic fools, but we were definitely on the path of discovery. This is the story of that time and how those ideas shaped the magician and occultist that I am today. I apologize in advance for length of this article, but I think that you will understand that such a tale requires quite a bit of telling.

I was triumphant and full of my own power and self-worth. I was definitely on quite an ego trip, but one that was founded on my youth, inexperience and ignorance. This was after I had become a witch and a worshiper of the Goddess, when the mysteries of magick and occultism began to reveal themselves to me. I had recently and apparently successfully cursed Norman Slater and his group, and stood down his teenage allies at my highschool. Nothing seemed impossible at that point in my life. It was June of 1972, the days were warming in the quiet industrial town of Racine, and I was attending my last days of school at the large traditional high school before transferring in the autumn to Walden III. I was having to put up with a fair amount of harassment from my peers for being an outspoken proponent of witchcraft and occultism, but I took it all in stride. The gateways of the mysteries were finally opening up to me, and I stood at the threshold of the greatest time of my life, and sensed it in a strange and prescient way.

One sunny warm afternoon, I found myself outside and across the street from the school, hanging out with a bunch of students, sitting on lawns, the sidewalk and the curb. We were outside on a break between classes and it was probably one of the last days of that semester. All of the testing and grading was completed, so there wasn’t much left to do except being idle and dreaming about the coming summer vacation. It was so warm that coats and jackets were discarded, some boys stripped down to their t-shirts, and everyone was absorbing the sun and its friendly rays. In this golden and brilliant day, I was sitting with some acquaintances when a boy with dark tousled hair, dark haunting eyes, and the rudiments of a moustache and goatee approached me. Apparently he know who I was, even though I had never seen him before. We began to talk, but it soon became obvious to me that this individual was an ally of Norman Slater, a person so obviously odious to me that it boggled my mind how anyone could still be associated with him. As I said, I had occasional conflicts with members of this clique ever since I left them and denounced Norman as a fraud and a psychic vampire.

So this dark haired young man engaged me in conversation with the intention of besting me in an argument, or somehow convincing me that I was wrong about Norman (and everything else). He introduced himself to me as “Scott,” and then began to criticize my involvement in witchcraft and magick. Of course I blew him off as an ignorant follower of an evil man, so we sparred back and forth for a while, much to amusement of those who were around us. Scott obviously got frustrated with this witty repartee and the fact that I seemed so deadly certain of what I was doing and engaging in. He left me with a warning, and even drew a couple of pictures for me of a vision that he had in a note book. He tore out the page and gave it to me, and I still have it to this day. The picture consisted of some arcane symbols with the poorly spelled Latin words “In hoc signo vinces” (in this sign shall you conquer), but the symbol looked more like a double serpent (or two S’s) than a cross. There was also a drawing of a tree with a circle of light around its center, and an ancient burial mound with steps spiraling around it. He also told me to watch my back and said that he had an important message for me, something like “Ignorance is the weapon of total destruction” - I said that I had to agree with that. I guess the irony was lost on him and he got up and walked away. I thought to myself, “Ye gods, another follower of Norman Slater, shall I ever be rid of them?” I looked forward, even more fondly, to being transferred to a new school, since then I might get away from those who persecuted me.

That was my first encounter with Scott Malueg. He was someone who would become an important and creative friend, although at the time, I had dismissed him as one of Norman Slater’s lackeys. I knew all too well how charismatic that man could be and how he could abrogate a person’s self interest to his own. He was dangerous and a threat to the community, and I had just met another person who was enthralled with him. How sad that few seemed to realize how much of a fraud and a menace this man was, although unknown to me at the time, the press was beginning to have a field day with Norman. Public doubt was starting to form a very negative opinion of this man and his various absurd pronouncements. However, I was more concerned with my activities that summer and my pursuit of all things having to do with witchcraft and magick.

Although Scott attempted to put me down, it was obvious that he was also quite fascinated with me, making it a very strange situation. I was not sad at leaving my old high school, since being the class “witch” had a lot of disadvantages, including being the center of a lot of gossip, ridicule, spite and even fear. Some of the messages written by my fellow students in my year book show how some had a great deal of pent up hostility towards me. I wasn’t understood by my peers, and only a handful had any respect for me or my chosen path. I had felt that Scott was another person who was not understood, that there was more to him than one might suspect. But then I promptly forgot all about that brief encounter, since it was summer time, and I was celebrating the forthcoming “young man’s leisure.” 

That summer was the first and last year that I played a contra-bass bugle for a what was known as a drum and bugle corps. This organization was called the Racine Kilties, and they dressed up in uniforms consisting of full Scottish highland regalia, including wool kilts, wool uniform coats, tams, horse hair sporrans, tartans, argyle socks and tall white spats. Outwardly we seemed like a well behaved and regimented group of young men - it was an all male group. There were probably something like a hundred of us in the corps. Yet underneath the mask of well behaved young men, we were a band of juvenile delinquents who drank, smoked pot, fornicated, cussed and swore, sang bawdy songs, and behaved in a generally lewd, rude and bad manner. Some of us were engaged in petty theft, arson, broken windows, damaged property, and fist fights with the local punks. We traveled to several major cities that year, competing with other corps and basically spreading mayhem wherever we went.

This year, the corps traveled to Boston, staying in the highschool gym in a small town called Lynn, a gritty nearby blue-collar suburb. It was within walking distance of Salem, so I and a few others walked up Highland Avenue to that town looking for any witches or remnants of them. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. Not only was Salem something of a pathetic tourist trap, the notion of witches and witchcraft was for them an historical oddity. They told everyone that there really weren’t any witches, it was just part of the hysteria of the times. I also discovered that there were no psychic traces of witches anywhere, although in a town nearby I did get a tingle when we went into an old church that was also a museum. Supposedly, one individual who had escaped prosecution in Salem came to this community, where he became a leading citizen and was buried in a place of honor in that church. I felt that maybe he was also really a witch who had actually had the sense to escape being tried and executed in Salem.  Anyway, it was an interesting diversion, and I must admit, I probably looked fairly conspicuous in my black shirt with the belled sleeves and the handmade copper witch amulet around my neck. I wore that amulet in full display whenever I could get away with it. Yet the experience taught me that witches were not common nor easily found, so I would have to search for a long time to find a group.

After I had become a witch that Spring, a copy of June John’s book “King of the Witches” was lent to me from a classmate who was in my English class. This was a biographical piece done on the life of Alex Sanders, the leader of a faction of Gardnerian witches who later became known as Alexandrians. I quickly read the book from cover to cover and discovered in the appendices a list of the supposed laws that witches must follow. These, of course, were the “Ardanes” that Gardner had supposedly wrote. These laws were subsequently adopted by Gardnerian witches, of whom, Alex Sanders was a faction leader. As I read over the laws, I quickly realized that I had already broken quite a number of them and this knowledge quite distressed me. But I soon was communicating with the Goddess herself and she told me that the laws were more like guidelines, written with a more antiquated definition of witches and witchcraft. I took her word, but the experience had made me somewhat uneasy, being a public witch and having read that witches are supposed to be completely secretive. However, it made sense when I discovered how underground a lot of witches were even in the present times - it was part of the law that initiated witches were supposed to adopt.

Also during the summer, I learned how to drive automobiles and got my drivers license. My father allowed me to use my brother’s old motorcycle, an aged Harley Davidson Sprint, a rather muscular small engine bike. I used this to travel everywhere, including driving to my favorite occult book store in Milwaukee, Sanctum Regnum. I was now something of a regular customer, although typically I had little money for much more than some incense, scented oils or self igniting charcoal. I could not afford any of the fascinating jewelry, tools, weapons, tarot cards, or the fabulous array of hard covered books. I probably spent most of my time ogling all of the stuff that I couldn’t afford but would one day buy, and chat with the assistant store manager, Jeannie. She was an exceptionally attractive woman who knew quite a lot about the occult, but she was not, unfortunately, an initiated witch. Nor could she tell me where I could contact any, since traditional Wicca had not yet come to Milwaukee (that would change in just a couple of years).

Jeannie was short, petite, had a dark olive complexion, dark expressive brown eyes and long dark brown hair that was naturally curly. She was very hip and in fact was kind of a hippy witch, so I was charmed by her and secretly fell in love. Jeannie liked me and would spend time talking to me when the store was empty of patrons. When it was busy or when Fritz was around, I would discretely spend time browsing the store instead of trying to talk to her.

Sanctum Regnum always smelled inspirational and wondrous to me, the air gently clouded with church incense. There were candles burning and small spotlights shining down narrow beams of light on the merchandise. The music that was usually playing was either Paul Horn’s “Inside” or John Renbourn’s “Sir John Alot.” The store was one large room that had many shelves and glass display cases. It even had a respectable collection of herbs for sale. The walls and ceiling of the store were painted black, and the shelves were black with red trim. The carpet was a fashionable shag with alternating black and red threads. I loved that place, since it seemed like the only place where I actually felt at home and was accepted.

I recall the first time that I ever came into the store, since what happened was quite humorous. I was walking around as if I had died and gone to heaven, looking at all the very cool stuff. The books really fascinated me, so I would spend time looking them over, even if I often couldn’t afford to buy any. I was also in awe of any of the customers who showed up, since I thought that any of them might be serious occultists who might either consider to teach me or know someone who would. So sometimes I would carefully and discretely engage a fellow customer in conversation. I had learned to be discrete because the first time that I was there I walked up to the book shelf marked “Kabbalah” to talk to two long haired mysterious looking men who had an air of magick and witchcraft about them (they were dressed as the male version of hippies). I recall blurting out to these two men, “Say, do you know anyone who is practicing magick or witchcraft around here?” They had been talking quietly together about some book one of them held open. One of them asked me, “Do you know of the Kabbalah?” I, of course, had to reply honestly, “No, I don’t, but do you..” Before I could continue, they both looked at me, looked at each other, then turned their backs to me and pretended that I didn’t exist. I heard one of them quietly say, “too bad.” My words died in the air and I felt fairly humiliated by my obvious ignorance. A little later, after the two had left the store, I complained to Jeannie about the incident, which she thought was pretty funny, but she consoled me after seeing that I was hurt by being shunned in such a manner. I was mollified by her kind and compassionate words, but from that point onward, I was much more discrete and careful about approaching other customers in the store.

During the summer months I also worked a lot of magick, often late in the night, since I didn’t have a part time job and had a lot time to kill, even though I was regularly busy practicing with the drum and bugle corps. I was also listening to a lot of the music from the Moody Blues rock group. I purchased their records, one at a time, which allowed me to get deeply into the lyrics and the music of each one. I managed to cobble together some rituals that seemed to work, although my knowledge of what to do operantly with magick was pretty slim. I do recall going to the beach after working magick and staying up all night, and watching the sun rise over the lake, an almost unlimited expanse of sky unbroken by trees or buildings. It was a very incredible and idyllic time. Each day brought me another small step further in my quest to master the occult and the paranormal, and I began to have many powerful dreams, visions, with my head full of the words of the Goddess and the voices of other spirits. I had been able to influence others to have psychic experiences and now I was starting to have them myself. So the summer finally ended in a blaze of youthful glory, and now with the end of Labor Day, I returned to school, but this time, to a totally different kind of school - a free school.

My first days at this new highschool were sort of chaotic, since the building hadn’t had any classrooms conducted in it for some time. The teachers and staff were still ordering the room furniture, figuring out where things were supposed to go and gathering the supplies to teach. Each of the several teachers got their own classrooms, which were large, wood paneled and antiquated. Desks were moved in, but so were stuffed chairs, sofas and tables. Nothing was new, all of the furniture either came from the school district warehouse or from people’s discards. Some small round tables were old wooden cable spools converted into tables. None of this mattered to us, since we all had a hand in helping to build the different class environments.

There was also room for many of the students to carve out their own private studio space. I was one of the lucky ones, since I had claimed a very small office with a door on the end of the second floor. The room was too small for a classroom and wasn’t needed for anything by the school. There were a number of small rooms, other old classrooms that were divided up, some enterprising individuals literally patching together their own walls out of old lumber, door frames, walls, etc. We used whatever was at hand. My studio had a small old couch, tables and chairs, where I could set up my painting easel and my paints. I almost immediately started painting pictures on some of the walls, particularly in the break room in the basement, which had a couple of vending machines and even an old jukebox. I felt like a great creative power had been unleashed in me and was now taking root in this wonderful old place, this golden time of my youth - the last year before I was expected to act and function as an adult.

The thing that made all of this even more pleasant and interesting was that Scott and I were reacquainted through a clique of teenaged artists, musicians and writers. I am sure that Scott and I met in the break room where I was busy painting my messianic and visionary insights on the walls. We talked a lot and the previous hostility between us was completely gone. Because student allocated space had to be shared with at least one other person (or more), Scott and I decided to share the studio I had staked out. Scott was also a painter, and boasted that not only was his father a noteworthy artist and painter, but he knew how to paint in oil paints. Scott’s artistic skills were nearly as good as my own, and he was very much interested in everything mystical, magickal and occultic. We were quite different from each other, but there were strong sympathies between us.

When Scott moved into my studio space, he also introduced to me his clique of friends, who I found almost as dear to me as they were to him. We were a very eccentric group of young men and damn proud of it as well. Scott, with help from his friends, had carted away an ornate window sill and a beautiful mahogany inside door from an old mansion being demolished a few blocks down on the lower south side of town. We tore out a section of the wall of the studio next to the actual door and installed the sill and the door, which fit perfectly. None of us knew how to install a door with hinges, so we just nailed the door to the sill. Since the sill was white with ornate pillars carved on either side, and a cornice above them where they joined.  I got up on a chair and painted the word “Asylum” in black script on the cornice. We nailed small wooden pedestals on either side of the title where we occasionally would put long stubby candles. However this was done rarely, since the building fire ordinance prohibited it. The studio, known as the Asylum, would become infamous as a place of art, poetry, incense, heavy occultism, and even a secret place to discretely smoke marijuana and attempt to seduce young women classmates. I also used it as a place where I attempted to learn to play the flute, a feat in which I quickly made much progress, reinforcing my opinion that all things were possible.  

As I got to know Scott better, I discovered that he was an incredible psychic, an immensely creative individual and a great catalyst for me. If I were to make a movie about this period of my life, then a young Johnnie Depp would play Scott, because he was darkly handsome, brilliant, quirky, creative, old-world-ish, a notable poet and painter, dope and cigarette smoker, suave and savvy, unwashed, long-haired, attacking life with a devilish flair and hopelessly romantic. I was impressed with Scott, and I believe that he was suitably impressed with me. By this time, he had long been kicked out of Norman’s group for some infraction or perceived impiety, so we were now on equal terms. Scott was very curious about my magickal practices, beliefs and my newly acquired faith of witchcraft. Whatever pretenses Scott held allowing him to belong to Norman’s group were easily discarded.

Scott and I began to spend a lot of time together. We slept over at each others house (although my large and private room made staying at my place much more convenient if we wanted to work magick), we traveled together on my motorcycle, we even went to Sanctum Regnum together, where I introduced him to the very cool store and to the nonpareil, Jeannie. I was amused when Scott declared that he thought that Jeannie had interests in him - both of us knew that she was far out of both of our leagues. However, Jeannie seemed to like both Scott and myself, although she often had problems with the level and frequency of our magickal experiments, telling us that we were going to get into trouble with the things that we were doing. We believed that we were destined to push all of the envelopes as far as occult practices and witchcraft were concerned.

All the time that Scott and I spent hanging out together, we were undistractedly seeking to engage in heterosexual relationships with the various young women in the school. There was nothing of a sexual nature or attraction between us and neither of us had any thoughts of anything sexual happening between us. We behaved as two very close platonic male allies in nearly everything. Of the two of us, Scott was decidedly more hip and cool. I still wore white t-shirts under my outer dress shirt and I looked quite conventional. My hair was not very long (yet), but I was attempting to grow sideburns and a moustache. Scott was also attempting to grow facial hair, but only succeeded better than me because his hair was black, and mine, a reddish brown. I had found a cheap derby hat in some junk store, so I was wearing that to try to look more cool. Scott attempted to help wherever he could, but one thing that I couldn’t seem to adopt was smoking cigarets. Scott smoked a strange brand himself, it was Marlboro green, a highly mentholated cigaret that he claimed helped make him high.

I can recall that at one time he carefully pushed the tobacco out of one of these cigarets and reloaded it with finely ground marijuana. We tried it out, and it was rather pleasant, except that the filter probably did too good of a job filtering out some of the marijuana smoke. You see, Scott also turned me on to drugs, particularly marijuana. He even officially organized my very first session of getting quite stoned. I had previously attempted to smoke pot, and either had failed to inhale correctly or the stuff was of poor quality, so I didn’t get high. I told Scott that I thought that marijuana was over rated. He, of course, scoffed at that claim and proceeded to prove me wrong.

I recall that I crammed myself into the back of a white Volkswagen bug along with a couple other friends, including Scott, and his friend who owned the car, named Pierce. Pierce was a trust-fund brat, so he always had a lot of money. He was tall, distinguished, had long disheveled blond hair, dressed very hip and knew quite a bit about occultism and magick.  We walked out of school (something that was oddly permissible), and then we were driving around the lower south side of town, sharing a couple of carefully rolled joints of marijuana. Needless to say, I was quite intoxicated by the drug, and it was even stranger when we came back to school, higher than a kite, somewhat disruptive (there were classes going on) and ended up congregating in the small studio - one group of happy stoned young men.

Although some of the students had access to quite a variety of different drugs, acquiring anything cost money, except when a few students would generously share what they had when socializing. So this new experience was something that didn’t happen very often, but when it did, it was enjoyed and used in a creative burst of insights, visions and dreams remembered. I must admit that this drug did a great deal to aid me in my creative efforts. Scott was an old hand at this kind of abuse and preferred it to alcohol. I had become quite discouraged from abusing alcohol due to my antics of the previous summer with the drum and bugle corps, where I had experienced a number of sessions of becoming drunk, all of them producing feelings of nausea, vertigo and general physical discomfort. I preferred the affects of marijuana, since I was able to maintain a high degree of self control without the debilitating side effects. Marijuana was also able to produce mild hallucinations and feelings of euphoria - a very valuable tool in the practice of ritual magick, particularly since I possessed only a rudimentary knowledge of yoga or pranayama.

I remember one of our first sleep overs, where Scott had spent the whole weekend at my place. We had rearranged my bedroom so that we could have as much floor space as possible for practicing ritual magick. Two single beds, divested of the head, foot boards and wood frames, became two very streamlined beds that were close to the floor. These beds were placed at the west and southern ends of the room, a desk had been removed from the south end, and a small frame couch was placed at the edge of the eastern side of the room. We used dyed old black sheets to completely cover the twin windows in the north and installed colored lights in the ceiling light fixture. I preferred blue and red lights, later the blue became a black light. The strange colored lights brought strange hues to the room, which now was dark during the day as well as the night. I couldn’t paint the walls since they were a beautiful stained knotty pine, but that didn’t matter since the room was often dark with either colored lights or candles and incense burning. We worked magick that evening, I shared with Scott my most intimate connection with the Goddess, and much to my delight, he experienced the same thing, hearing her in his head as well. The other strange thing was the synchronicity, everything that I experienced, he also experienced, as if it were an objective reality, which I suppose on one level, it was.

Anyway, during the night when we were supposed to be asleep, Scott and I experimented with astral projection. I had complained that I was having problems getting out of my body, and Scott said he was a virtuoso at astral projection, naturally. We decided to both lay on our respective beds and go into as deep a trance we were able to manage. I don’t believe that either of us had any pot to smoke, so the experience was drug free. I went into a deep trance, as usual, feeling my body stiffen and vibrate as if my whole body had gone asleep. I was wide awake, but deep in a free floating self induced hypnotic trance. I felt a pleasant rocking, a sibilant hissing in the background, but all was dark around me. This was the limit to what I normally was able to experience when attempting astral projection. Then I was aware of someone standing over me, although I couldn’t see them. I felt my hand rising up, reaching out, and felt a hand take mine, and pull me up and out of my body.

I found myself standing before my bed, holding the hand of my friend, Scott, who was also out of his body. We both saw our physical bodies laying in their beds, deep in trance. I felt joyous and exhilarated - I was actually out of my physical body and in my astral body. Scott said to me, “See, that wasn’t so hard, sometimes you just need a helping hand.” I knew then that I would be able to repeat this experience again without Scott’s help, but I said to him, “Okay, now what do we do?” To which he replied, “Hell, anything we want to! We can fly, go anywhere on the earth, or travel to places that we’ve never seen before. There are no limits, except the ones we create for ourselves.” So, to really test the boundaries of what was possible, we both took off from the floor of the room and flew through the ceiling into the outside world, where we floated above the street, looking down at the street lights.

Then we flew high into the sky at an incredible speed. The night time world with its stars, crescent moon and velvety black sky just melted away to reveal a completely different world - a small beautiful tended garden, full of golden sunlight that I had never seen before. Scott seemed to know this place, but it was completely new to me. Then to demonstrate how the astral functioned, Scott said to me, “In the astral, things always respond to our attentions in very strange ways.” So he knelt before a beautiful red rose and cupped it with his hands, saying, “What a beautiful and exquisite rose, so like a poem it is.” The rose then grew in his hands to be so huge that we almost seemed engulfed by it. We both laughed at this strange occurrence, and the rose then shrunk back again to its normal size. I was astonished! Everything seemed as protean and mutable as the dream world of Wonderland that Alice had experienced more than a century ago. We then set off from the garden, looking and scrutinizing at everything along the way until we discovered the most wonderful place, a location in the astral plane that I would visit many times afterwards.

This place of wonder was like a large wooded area in a park. There were no overgrown weeds or bramble bushes, everything seemed cultivated and tamed. The trees and even the various flowers and plants were all placed with an eye towards perfected aesthetics. It was an extension of the garden that we had previously been in. This area was circular, even though the borders of the periphery seemed to have no end. In the center of this wooded glade was an old fashioned gazebo, or what later I would have described as a round Grecian temple with beautiful white marble pillars and a round copula type roof. Vines grew in this temple spiraling up the white pillars, there was a statue of a naked woman in the center, and it was completely open to the air on all sides.

The glade had a mysterious quality to it, since the rounded area was divided into quarters, and each quarter had its own season. Thus when one would walk as we did around the periphery of the glade, some distance from the central temple, we would traverse the four seasons fully manifest. We would be trudging in new fallen snow, then cross a boundary and everything would be blooming as in spring, then another, into a blissfully redolent summer, and then again, into a golden, red and brown brilliance of high autumn. It was the grove of four seasons, owned, as we later found out, by the Goddess herself. Nor did we have the place to ourselves, since there were others who would occasionally find themselves there as well. We also found nymph like creatures there, which we could sport with and even make love to, although they acted as if they didn’t like those kinds of attentions. They were putting up with us because we were favored by the Lady whom they must obey.

When we finally returned from this seemingly endless excursion, we both woke up from our deep trance states a few hours later, limbs stiff, chilled and tingly. We rubbed our hands, feet, faces, legs and arms to get the blood circulating again. Then afterwards, we talked about what we had experienced. Being the skeptic, I questioned Scott about what had happened, and he knew everything that I had seen, heard and experienced. We had a completely shared astral projection, so I knew that it had been real. I was very happy to have had my first astral adventure, and there were many more to follow that one, since we started to make it habit for him to sleep over. In just a little over three months, we had spent over half the number of weekends together. Sometimes we would go over to his house, but that happened only rarely. Scott’s parents were very eccentric and very kind, but they obviously did not have a lot of money. Although there were signs that Scott’s family had been wealthy at one time, one of their cars was an older model Jaguar, and some of their furniture and artwork was expensive. They rented an old house with only three small bedrooms for themselves and four children. Scott was the only boy, the rest of his siblings were sisters. Scott spent most of his time, and even slept, in the attic where he had his studio and a make shift magickal area. He gave me an old wooden box from that attic, probably an old tool box, which I took home, cleaned up and painted a bright orange. I decorated it with some of the Altantean sigils and occult symbols, and used it to house my magickal treasures. I still have this box to this day, kept under one of my altars.

Perhaps the most important magickal tool that Scott introduced to me was the use of animal totem keys, which were painted icons on wood of a particular colored animal. He drew the first for me on paper, which he called “the Card of the Red Fox”, which was modeled on a kind of Tarot card. After I had transferred the design to wood and painted it, Scott had me smear the image of the Red Fox with my own blood, establishing a link between it and myself. We called this animal totem key an “ally,” which we got from the books written by Carlos Castaneda. This powerful ally became my spirit intermediary in all things. Soon we had developed a whole system of different classes of allies, and I helped Scott design his ally totem key, which was the Golden Fox. Other friends that we would meet later would be given painted totem keys and brought into this magickal system as friends and associates. I would also give them a new magickal name, based on the magickal language that we were creating. With our magickal allies, we were able to extend our power and influence things remotely, but we were missing other pieces of the puzzle and couldn’t make as much use of this magickal tool as we might have had we been initiated into a magickal tradition. As brilliant as any idea was, we lacked the knowledge, experience and discipline to make that idea into an effective and workable magickal component. It would require years of study, research and experiments for these various ideas to be made truly useful.

Scott and I also traveled around together on my motorcycle, although sometimes I would get to use my father’s car, a red AMC Gremlin. He would ride on the back seat and we would travel to various places. Often we would meet up at school and then we would either go to his place or to mine. I can remember he and I, after one really powerful night, riding my motorcycle in the early morning countryside past manicured lawns of some very expensive estate homes not too far from my home. We drove around the curving roads past the newly built large homes of the Nouveau riche and dreamed that we would some day own such mansions when our magickal powers came into full manifestation. I recall the soft golden light of dawn, the sounds of the motorcycle, the wind in our faces as we sped along the unmarked asphalt road, the seductive and aromatic smells of autumn. There were idyllic small lakes and wooded enclosures, almost a bit like the places we visited in the astral world. This was the golden time for me and for Scott, a period that would be all too short, but would stand out, at least in my memory, for a lifetime.

One of the trips that we made, although for the life of me I couldn’t understand why, was to see Norman Slater’s old garage flat in Kenosha and maybe visit him. When we got there, Norman was not at home, and some neighbor told Scott that Norman was in the hospital. So we drove into town and stopped at the hospital, and went up to Norman’s room to visit him. He graciously accepted our visit at first, but I could tell that he was not too happy to see me again, nor was he pleased that Scott and I were friends. After a few words and exchanged fake pleasantries, he dismissed us both, since he was obviously not feeling very well and had little energy. Scott felt sad at Norman’s condition, while I was quietly exultant. Since Scott had been removed from Norman’s inner circle for some reason and I had obviously left as an enemy, the fact that we together saw Norman, sick and frail in his hospital bed, would have marked Scott as someone that Norman would never have had anything to do with in the future, that is, if there was a future. I felt a bit responsible for Norman’s condition, but I wasn’t at all sorry about it. Scott’s reasons for visiting Norman was so he could tell him all of the outstanding things that we were doing, but I think that he understood now that Norman had no interest in anything that we were doing. That was the last time that Scott ever mentioned anything about Norman to me or anyone else. 

Halloween came, and after some intense magickal workings, we traveled together to the school’s masquerade Halloween party held at the old Decoven Foundation. We were still dressed in our makeshift robes and stinking of incense and scented oil. We made quite a strange impression on everyone. Then there was the time that we put on our robes and traipsed around the hallways of the school, uttering words of power and drawing Atlantean sigils on the walls. We were quite the pair of crazy teenage magicians. Few either understood what we were doing or cared enough to find out. But we didn’t care one bit, so self absorbed were we in our magickal works.

Scott had a close friend that we hung around with whose name was Grant. Where we were occultists and artists, Grant was something of a mad scientist. His older brother was also a painter and was attending the same school as we were, but we tended to favor his younger brother, who was more hip and accessible to us. Grant’s older brother not only didn’t like the occult stuff we were doing, but also didn’t like our artwork either. He was probably more serious and mature than we were, but we thought that he was too stiff and conventional. In addition to Grant, there was also another person that I had met at Walden III, and this was Bob. Bob was also very creative and quite fascinated with what Scott and I were up to. He also began to hang around with us, and he, unlike Scott or myself, owned a car.

Scott and Grant had a friend who was also an occultist named Robert Day and he was probably a year older than me. His magickal name was Cefrian Esquirial, and being an ex-Roman Catholic, he was proud of having written the Pope asking to be excommunicated. He, of course, never received a reply. Scott and Grant said that we looked like twin brothers, but I only saw a superficial resemblance. I had a great time meeting this fellow and talking about the occult with him. He was also a poet of some ability and had coined the phrase, “The Poet, assassinated on the Street of the Alchemists.” (This had been a line that Scott had used as a signature by-line for himself.) He graciously lent me a few books on the Qabbalah, most particularly, Gareth Knight’s book “Practical Kabbalistic Symbolism” in two volumes. I devoured these books, read them cover to cover probably more than one time. From them and a couple other books, I quickly managed to introduce the Qabbalah into my magickal workings, which helped to give them greater depth and authenticity.

One personal secret that Scott and I shared, which was really amazing, was a personal prophetic interpretation of the lyrics from the Jethro Tull album, “Thick as a Brick.” This album had just come out that summer. Scott said that the lyrics were a prophecy about our personal lives. That in less than ten years, the world as we knew it would end. We were humble sorcerers now, but by then we would be hailed as prophetic kings by our own people. We particularly liked the lyrical phrase, “The Dawn Creation of Kings, has begun,” since we saw ourselves as two of those mythical, magickal kings. We avidly listened to and interpreted directly into our lives many other parts of the lyrics of that strange concept album. We were on a messianic ego trip, which seemed quite natural, since that is what Norman Slater had fed both of us not too long ago.

This reinterpretation of music lyrics as prophecy was all mysterious, strange, astonishing, and also very enjoyable. Additionally, I was a great fan of the Moody Blues, rhapsodizing with the lyrics of “Nights in White Satin”, “Are you sitting comfortably,” “Question of Balance”  and “Voices in the Sky.” We were drunk on our heady occult experiences and singular interpretation of reality. It fostered a creative maelstrom that allowed us to build an entire magickal system from nothing but dreams and visions. Yet it also promoted a complete lack of objectivity or any kind of down to earth sensibility. We tried to share this with our friends, but only Bob, and to lesser extent, Grant (who Scott called “Biggles”), seemed to understand and appreciate what we were going on about. Other friends and acquaintances probably thought that we were quite mad. I remember the science teacher at school had taken quite an offence at our various pronouncements and wrote on the wall in front of his classroom “There is no Magic!”, signed with his name. We wrote next to it, “There is no [teacher’s name], signed Merlin” - this of course was amusing to many, except the science teacher.

Our teacher of choice at Walden III was named Gerald Kongstvedt, although we respectfully called him Mr. Kongstvedt. He was a tall, portly man with a full white beard, who looked like a combination of Socrates or Santa Claus. He was the English teacher emeritus and we thought that he was the wisest man on the planet. We often conferred with him and talked about our discoveries. He indulged us, was polite, and attempted to steer our exuberance into more academic pursuits, and in this he was actually quite successful - to a point. We all began to study a lot about myth, ancient religions, archaeology, even some philosophy. Gerald would often say to us, misquoting the original literary quote, “When ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise. So drink deep from the Pyrean Spring of Knowledge, or do not drink at all.” We believed this to be fundamentally true and made it our excuse for getting ever deeper into our occult studies.  

Within this highly charged and creative environment, Scott and I became something like magickal playmates, so without any schooling or idea of what we were about, we created a completely unique system of magick with astral domains and inner worlds (the Amiasatik Archetypal Kingdoms), a strange system of sigil-like writing, and a strange magickal language consisting of unknown words of power. It’s mythic core consisted of the wisdom of lost Atlantis, and we truly believed the magick that we were discovering was the lost magick of that ancient world. We added to it some smattering of Enochian, Ancient Egyptian and borrowed ideas and lore from other magickal systems. Scott came up with a powerful technique of pranayama, although I never knew where it came from. It was a system of extreme hyperventilation that he called the Lotus 7-Breath, because it was started by inhaling the fumes of Lotus scented oil.  We would use it to cause our minds to immediately go into very a deep trance and shoot out our astral bodies into the astral world.

The final version of this created magickal system that we had contrived actually worked quite well and we were much pleased with ourselves! The system of language that we used was called Tykleotonis, which was used to group the strange language and writing systems under a single discipline. The system of magick that we used was called Eniemorphukiatus, the magick of Lost Atlantis. The full and mature version of this system was never completed and eventually it was abandoned for more practical lore. But I still have many dozens of pages of a writing in an unknown tongue, and rituals that were long on sigils and verba ignota, but very short on substance and structure.

Scott could automatically write in this sigil like language whenever the impulse struck him, and I used a variant of Enochian, which I had extracted from a book that had plagiarized Aleister Crowley’s writings on Enochian magick (Liber vel-Chenok). I managed to pick up this sigil language myself and we proceeded to produce reams of it, believing that they had an inherent magickal power, even though we had no idea how to decipher them. After a number of months, I finally came up with a system to determine what the sigils meant, but by that time, Scott had left town and was living in far away Mexico.

This incredible time of dreams, visions, magick, astral projection, and the learning of everything about occultism had to end sooner or later, since it just couldn’t be sustained. Reality had to enter into this arena, whether we wanted it to or not. What happened next really caused me to crash to earth, almost bursting the dream. That whiff of reality came abruptly when Scott told me that he and his entire family were moving from Racine to faraway Mexico. That move was immanent, due to occur in January or February, and would take my close friend and magickal playmate away from me permanently.

I was devastated, at least for a short time. Scott had helped me to start a very engaging process of creative magickal speculation that had given birth to a new magickal system. However, being the young selfish prick that I was, my disappointment quickly gave way to a kind of glee; for I now could continue this work without Scott, and it would be all about me instead of having to share it with another competing male. Also, because my studies had greatly deepened my understanding, with my readings in the Qabbalah, astrology, classical mythology and anthropology, I had begun to really fill out my occultism with some real authentic information. It made my work much more objective, creative and intelligible to others. Scott was not as driven as I, and he didn’t spend the time or work at learning new things. Scott preferred to be unfettered, untutored and free to speculate in any direction he chose, regardless of whether someone else had written about these same things. Scott had no problem reinventing the wheel if his creative urges so pushed him. I wanted to know what was already known to establish a foundation that other occultists would both understand and find intelligible. So, because of this difference, Scott and I had already branched onto different paths. We would never see eye to eye ever again, and our bond of friendship was ended, even if we celebrated each other and pretended otherwise for years afterwards.

So over the years, I continued on my path of growing and mastering the arts of magick and witchcraft, and Scott dropped out of occultism altogether. Though we are just barely a year apart in our ages, Scott found a different path and a completely different life. Even when I went to visit him in the summer of 1974, and again in 1977 in the Colorado Rocky Mountains (where he and his family had eventually moved), he had not changed much in all that time, whereas I had been briefly in the military, graduated from college, and had been fully trained and initiated in a coven of witches. Scott wasn’t interested in the occult beyond a kind of superficial trendiness, and that didn’t change until years later.

When spirituality became a serious concern for Scott, he instead got involved in a fundamentalist Christian church that blended messianic end-times with survivalism. Scott refused to pay taxes, keep his drivers license and license plates current, and even disposed of his Social Security Number because he believed that the government was an agent of the Anti Christ. He lives today almost like a squatter with his wife and several children in western Colorado, constantly on the run from local law authorities and living purely on a cash only basis. Occasionally the law catches up with him and he ends up in court, attempting to keep his freedom while blatantly disobeying the law wherever it appears to conflict with his faith. Even his sons have gotten into trouble because they were nonconformists living in world that could barely understand them. So our lives couldn’t be more different and our paths are quite distinct.

Yet, I honor the times that Scott and I spent together, during that golden autumn of 1972, when we shared a mutual dream, vision, and the crafting of a new methodology of working magick, one that I would work and perfect over the next 30 years. It was probably the most important time of my life, and one that I have celebrated, thus ensuring that I would remember it almost as if it had happened yesterday.

Frater Barrabbas 

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