Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Dark Tales from the Home Town

I thought that I would tell the tale of my spiritual and magickal origins, since this is probably one of the most interesting and compelling of all of my biographical material. Everyone wants to know how a person got started in his occult and pagan path. Where he learned about these subjects that he now uses almost reflexively. To understand my origins is to understand where I have come from and perhaps, where I am ultimately going. So here is the tale of my origins, full of truth, myth, some exaggeration and coloring due to the passage of time and many retellings. I hope that you find it informative and insightful - perhaps knowing me a little better than other occultists who would rather keep their life story a strict secret. I apologize in advance for the long length of this article.

Probably one of the most interesting stories in my repertoire is the one about my spiritual and magickal origin. One could say in a mythic sense that I came forth out of darkness, selfishness, a lust for personal power to combat an obvious self loathing and low self esteem. But I was just a goofy teenage witch learning about the gods, magickal powers and who my magickal friends and enemies were, all around the same time. I had no coven to guide me, or High Priestess or High Priest to teach me. In fact I had few books or other written resources and only an individual older friend who was also a non-initiate. I was about to begin my path as a kind of Trial by Fire. All of this occurred almost 38 years ago, back in what was for me a simpler and more optimistic time of 1972.

That was the year that Richard Nixon was president, the Vietnam war was escalating with U.S. aircraft dropping bombs in Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. There was an intense protesting of the war worldwide, others supported the war and the status quo, and it seemed as if the unity of the nation was in jeopardy of being pulled apart. It was a time of the radicalization of both the political left and the right, but for someone who was not yet old enough to be drafted and whose father was extremely pro military and a Republican, I was untouched by these issues. For me, the battle ground was between a newly risen pagan religion of witchcraft pitted against the rising of an evangelical social conservatism. Those times were different than now, but in some ways, they were eerily similar.

Having recently turned seventeen and messing around with the occult, paganism and magick, I was oblivious to much of these social upheavals. I was self absorbed and deeply involved in not only discovering who I was, but also searching for spiritual and personal meaning. Mine was a life bereft of spiritual meaning, since my father was an avowed agnostic who believed that religion was a blight on modern existence - one that should be eliminated. My mother was a gentle soul who had no intellectual taste for theology or philosophy, preferring to accept what society had established for spiritual truth. I was different, because I neither accepted my father’s beliefs nor did I accept the social norms for religious faith and practice. I heard a different drum beating than most of my contemporaries, but that was not either unusual or peculiar, since the late sixties and early seventies was a time of questioning orthodoxy in all fields and areas of life experience. It was a time of discovery and rediscovery.

Outer space was being conquered, but inner space was also being explored in a manner previously unknown. Science was poised to discover the inner powers of the human mind, or so we thought. Ancient disciplines, like astrology, alchemy, magic, yoga, tantra, and witchcraft were being re-examined with an open mind, and science was introducing a radical pharmacopeia that opened the mind to new dimensions. Even psychism and ESP were being studied and taken very seriously. It was the infamous period of the late sixties and early seventies, and although I was too young to participate in what was happening to the youth culture of that time, I was very much aware of what was going on around me in that regards, since it potently answered the emptiness that I felt within me. So I tried to be hip in my own fashion, seeking to grow up and pass myself off as an adult as quickly as possible. Some parts of me grew up very quickly, other parts remained quite adolescent. All of this jarring, uneven growth accompanied with an exploding self awareness was typical of the times.

Previously, when I was 15 in the summer of 1970, I had foolishly experimented with LSD, having acquired a small portion of a powerful dose of drug impregnated after-dinner mints, obviously based on the famous Owsley’s Acid. This dose had been freely given to me because I had helped some friends acquire this drug through a close intermediary. I had no idea what I had ingested, since I had not yet even experienced being stoned on marijuana. LSD was a thousand times more potent, as I soon discovered. I probably had gotten the maximum dose of a thousand micrograms, and the hallucinative  state lasted for a total of 13 hours. I managed to just barely cope with what I was experiencing, being left alone in my bedroom with no one to console or guide me. It was a terrifying experience, but I weathered the storm of complete dislocation with reality for hours.

I pretended to be sick so that my mother wouldn’t know what had befallen her son, making up the excuse that I had succumbed to a bout of mild food poisoning - nothing serious enough to warrant seeing a doctor. I managed to reassure my mother that all was OK, even though I weathered a storm of visual images that were totally unprecedented. I must have been made out of tough psychic stuff, because I made it through this experience without managing to loose my mind entirely. It was one hell of an initiation, and one that I was not interested in repeating for some years in the future. What it taught me was that reality is not iron clad or objective, it is in fact fluid, subjective and determined by many interpretations. The experience left permanent scars on my mind and in my visual capability - I saw tracers, auras and other odd phenomena from that moment onward. The occult world of the paranormal had been opened to me, and I was unable to close it. I stumbled around for a few days afterwards recovering from this powerful experience, but the impact on my mind was profound and permanent. This experience was probably responsible for most of my occult interests and the pursuit of all things paranormal.

The early seventies was a period when there was a lot of cheap and inexpensive books and magazines published about the supernatural, occult, mysticism, ESP, astral projection, hypnosis, and many other related topics. I was fascinated with everything having to do with the paranormal, and as I began to travel around with a marching band and later, a drum and bugle corps, I discovered some books here and there in the various cities that I visited. These occasional and rare acquisitions began to build up my repertoire of studies. When visiting a museum in Chicago, I purchased a book written by Gerald B. Gardner, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much that was useful in that book. It was full of history but contained no rituals for me to use. I also began to learn how to hypnotize other kids and how to put them into a trance state. I became something of a menace as far as other adults and parents were concerned, since I seemed to be able to elicit paranormal experiences in others. To the kids around my age, I was a pioneer and a hero. I finally got to show some basic hip intelligence and creativity that elevated my esteem in my peer group.  I was also very keen on astral projection and attempted many times to acquire this experience for myself, with limited results. I seemed more capable of helping others to experience these phenomena rather than get myself to experience it directly. I graduated from studying about paranormal phenomena and psychism to harder forms of occultism.   

Then I began to seriously explore the occult, but to facilitate that quest I needed more books. I attempted to borrow books on the subject from the local library, although it revealed little that was useful, since all of the good books seemed to be checked out and never returned. But finally, with a little cash and some digging around, I began to buy cheap books on the occult. Later I managed to buy some books that required some real savings to purchase. My book store of choice was an occult book store located in Milwaukee, on 615 N. Milwaukee Street, called Sanctum Regnum. Although I was chronically broke and had little money for books, I was inspired by the spooky accouterments of this store, right down to the throne in the back that opened up at the pull of a rope, to reveal stairs leading into a cavernous basement, containing an office, a ritual area and niches for Tarot readings. The owner of this store, Fritz, was also rather impressive and bombastic, looking and even acting a lot like King Henry VIII, with the red beard and corpulent body, and even dressed up to fit the part. His assistant was a lovely slender brunette named Jeanie, who was more accessible and friendly than Fritz, and who gave a lot of good advice and counsel to me.

The first two books that put me on the road to piecing together my practices of magick were Paul Huson’s Mastering Witchcraft and Lady Sheba’s Book of Shadows, and then later I managed to buy DeLaurence versions of the Greater Key of Solomon and the Goetia of the Lamageton. There were a few other books that I used extensively, such as June Johns, The King of the Witches, and books by Israel Regardie, W.E. Butler, Gareth Knight, Dion Fortune, William Grey, and of course the master of them all, Aleister Crowley. I also got a copy of Aradia, the Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland, Witchcraft from the Inside, by Raymond Buckland, and Witchcraft Today, by Gerald Gardner. As I stated previously, I was disappointed by Gardner’s book, since it had no ritual information that I could use. But the books by Paul Huson and Lady Sheba provided the necessary information for me to cobble together a workable magickal system.

At this early time, I also met an older woman who became my friend and ally in occult matters. She was in her early 20's, while I was just a mere teenager. She had been practicing as a solitary witch for a few years and was looking in vain for a coven to join, since Racine was not a hotbed of occultism and witchcraft. I think her name was Gail. She had a crazy younger sister named Marlene who was lustfully obsessed with me. I must admit that I found Marlene’s attentions not at all to my liking, so realizing that she was obviously overly zealous in her pursuit of me, I tried to avoid her wherever possible. Yet her good and wise older sister had mercy on me, kept me out of reach of her younger sibling, and refined my nascent abilities in self-hypnosis and trance mediumship. She also had a car and occasionally took me up to Milwaukee to visit my favorite occult book store. I can remember her waiting for me after school in her car and then we would drive the thirty or forty miles from Racine to Milwaukee on the newly minted interstate freeway system to visit Sanctum Regnum.

I was learning to become quite a competent psychic. Once I mastered how to enter into a trance state, I then learned how to run a seance that really worked. This feat both intrigued and scared the hell out of my school chums. I remember being invited to attend parties of the more hip members of my school for the sole purpose of running seances. One evening in particular, I performed a seance that produced remarkable results. A couple of people automatically went into trance and channeled the spirits of dead people. I even had some difficulty getting one of the individuals out of the trance state that he had entered, which did kind of startle me somewhat.

The fact that I was able to successfully produce paranormal phenomena made me at first quite popular. Then my classmates, after having had an exposure to these phenomena, became afraid of what they were experiencing. For me, it was all a powerful validation of what I had believed possible. It made me into a young man who possessed occult powers, to be feared and respected for having such arcane knowledge and abilities. I also demonstrated a virtuoso talent for reading Tarot cards, even though I had not read a single book on the subject. An admirer gave me my first Tarot deck, and I began to give accurate readings almost immediately. However, after I started studying the Tarot, I become a much better card reader, and this of course was the case for the rest of my nascent talents. Training and practice helped to discipline and refine what I was able to do.

My witch friend often criticized me for pandering after mental powers and magick spells, using them to build up my reputation and attempt to control others. I also had the gall of calling myself a witch and not even really practicing the religion. Yet my excuse was that I was a callow youth who seemed to know everything and did not listen to anyone, not even Gail. I suppose that I aroused her maternal instincts, since she did seem willing to indulge my abilities and cater to me. I can recall that she encouraged my abilities as a trance medium, giving me Nettle tea to aid in this activity. She never attempted to be anything other than my friend, guide and confidant, so to this day I have doubts that her interest in me was anything but platonic and idealistic. I was also the only person that she knew who was also interested in witchcraft and magick, so I was someone that she could talk to about these topics. As I said, occultism was rare in my native town.

At the same time, I also began hanging out with a group of people who idolized a local Christian psychic named Norman Slater, a resident of Kenosha (sister city of Racine, my home town), who was in his late twenties at that time. Norman taught a class on the paranormal at the local technical college in Kenosha county. From this venue Norman began to build up a reputation as a powerful psychic, however, he kept his real beliefs and intentions to his inner circle. When I met him, he was entering the peak of his career and already had quite a large following.

Norman was a peculiar man. He was short of stature, solidly built, and had what almost seemed a hallow of blonde curly hair, like some Roman general. His eyes were a blazing blue and seemed to often look through one. He would often squint his eyes at a person, looking above their head to examine their aura, which he was supposedly able to read like a book. He was not a remarkable man in regards to his height or appearance, but he did have a powerful charisma. His one defect was an odd speech impediment that made him mispronounce words in a peculiar manner. He also had a kind of squeaky voice, but this did not detract from his charisma. I suspect that Norman was of good Anglo-Saxon stock, but his background was obviously lower middle class, since he didn’t seem very educated or eloquent. His mannerisms actually seemed crude and almost a caricature. Norman said nothing about his past or his level of education. This part of his life history he kept quite secret, for obvious reasons - he wanted to be a man of mystery.

Within his inner circle, Norman was more outspoken. He preached that his psychic powers had revealed to him the actual source of the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. He believed that this mysterious location contained the remnants of the lost civilization of Atlantis, which is what he thought was causing all of the strange phenomena. Norman not only believed that he knew where these ruins lay in the shallow depths and coral reefs of the sea around Bermuda and Florida, but he had convinced others that these amazing discoveries could be found if divers were to explore areas that Norman would point out. Word of these revelations began to circulate the community, and Norman began to talk about these ideas in public. For the average person, this was exciting news, of course, and Norman made himself the head of a group of people who were going to assemble an expedition to discover the actual physical ruins of the Atlantean civilization.

Norman was a truly psychic and charismatic man who had a lot of strange and possibly delusional ideas about himself and the world, but he was also something of a confidence man. He coldly used the gullible people around him, accessing their money, skills and support. These people wanted desperately to believe everything that he said. So he promoted himself as a great prophet, keeping them spellbound with amazing psychic prognostications. What psychic powers he did possess could not be reliably used in this manner, so he obviously compensated by unabashedly manipulating other people and situations. I believe that a lot of Norman’s abilities were used to charm the people around him, to gain the trust and unwavering loyalty of his followers. Of course, being fascinated by anything paranormal, I was also attracted to this man like a moth to a flame, even if his spiritual beliefs were contrary to my own.

Over time, it became obvious to me that Norman was only interested in becoming famous. Such fame and notoriety would allow him to get other people to financially back his various projects. Already, he had backers who were sending him to Loch Ness, Scotland, to locate and reveal the Loch Ness Monster. This project obviously took money and connections, which Norman’s followers had abundantly supplied to him. Other projects were also discussed, the one big one was the expedition to the Bermuda Triangle. Norman and his supporters formed a group of young men and women to be trained and certified as divers, who would also act as his sponsored fund raisers and labor pool for whatever else was needed. I attended an early meeting where this expedition was discussed, and was hooked! I wanted to dive in the tropical seas and help the team find the ruins of the lost city-state of Atlantis. We were all quite thrilled at being the advance group of a very special expedition - history in the making and seekers of adventure.

Although Norman was a psychic and had to promote psychism and paranormal abilities in human beings, he was very strict about what he considered to be acceptable areas of exploration, and other areas that he considered forbidden. Norman believed that psychism was a gift from God, but he steadfastly denigrated anything that even remotely appeared to be occultic or deviated from Christian doctrine. So, Norman was very rigid and sectarian. He didn’t like or trust anyone who was not deeply Christian, as he  himself affected a pious Catholic faith. He believed and preached that he alone was unique amongst men in regards to his gifts, and could therefore dispense of his visions and insights as he pleased.

Norman seemed to be always psychically sensitive, nearly omniscient, but of course, he was deceiving his followers about the true nature of psychism. Used alone, psychic sensitivities are generally unreliable, requiring other disciplines and techniques to make them a truly useful tool. I believe that Norman did a lot of acting and pretending to build up his reputation of being a great psychic. To this day, I honestly believe that Norman never questioned his abilities or critically examined his rather prophetic and messianic pronouncements. Nothing that he predicted later ever came true, but his followers were quite in awe of him and believed that the end of the world (as we knew it) was at hand. Norman was the prophetic messenger, combining the artifice of an evangelical preacher with a lay person with psychic powers. The real truth was that Norman was deceiving everyone around him, creating a kind of vortex of illusion and glamor centered around his person.

As it turned out, Norman became for me the ultimate example of a Christian hypocrite, representing all that I learned to despise in that creed. The irony is that Norman was exactly the kind of person that I had aspired to be - a man of power and mystery. Probably because of the similarities between us, Norman seemed actually fond of me. He felt it was his duty to teach me that I was really a wicked boy who needed to be converted to the ways of Christ and bathed in the blood of the lamb, or else shunned. I, on the other hand, was not so easily fooled, or so I thought. Yet I ended my adventure with Norman by becoming the pure victim and fool, but then turned things around and became the instrument of fate, indirectly assisting in his downfall. Truth and objectivity was Norman’s greatest enemy, yet it only took a short while for these powers to catch up with him, destroying his organization from the inside. Yet because I was such a sucker for anyone with extra ordinary powers, I sought to follow this man as well. Strangely, Norman became the very instrument that forced me to become fully committed to being a witch and a ritual magician.

My involvement with Norman Slater and his group and my penchant for working risky magick forced an event to occur that changed my life forever. I usually note this time as the point of my true conversion into the religion of witchcraft. It was at this time that I was finally and quite forcefully brought into the spiritual path of witchcraft, although how that happened was really something spectacular, or at least it was for me. It was a lesson that I had to learn the hard way. That lesson was this: that what you said about yourself and how you conducted your affairs must have some congruence if you were to remain intact while messing around with psychism, magick and occult spirituality. I didn’t understand that lesson. I also ignored the warnings that Gail gave me, thinking that I was somehow special, thereby being protected from my own stupidity.

I was fooling around with the Key of Solomon and the Goetia, trying to cobble together a cogent magickal system from these books. I even went out into the woods one evening in the summer of 1971 and attempted to invoke one of the Goetic demons. To my trance-trained eyes, I had even succeeded somewhat. Unfortunately, I forgot to use the magician’s triangle to constrain the demon, so he appeared to wander freely around, a giant ghost, inspecting the world and me, while I was trapped in my magick circle. I experienced a period of curious horror that lasted at least several minutes, although it seemed a lot longer. When the demon finally dematerialized, I hastily doused the candles, collected my regalia, covered my spoor and hastily left the area. But that evening’s experience did not teach me to stop fooling around with Solomonic magic, in fact it emboldened me, since the magick had indeed worked, albeit, in a dangerous and chaotic manner.

Discovering the Key of Solomon and the Lamegeton for the first time was an intellectual milestone for me, but I soon found the lack of practical ritual structures very annoying as well as the dearth of any kind of realistic instructions. Yet the talismans and sigils presented a great temptation for a young sorcerer to play with them, so it was only a matter of time before I got burned. I was ready to experience some real trouble in my life and for the first time, to taste true evil.

It was the spring of 1972, and on the night of April 11, I finally got blasted with my own magickal manipulations. I put together a session of black magick ceremonies that I performed for a few acquaintances who wanted to be amused by a magickal demonstration. I used a badly mixed system of new-age shamanism and hard-core Goetic magick. It produced a very nasty uncontrolled energy.

For once I was actually a bit afraid, particularly when one of the women in my group of voyeurs took an athame and tried to stab me with it. She was obviously tranced out, perhaps even mildly possessed, since her movements were stiff, slow and ineffectual. I was never really in any danger, but the incident unnerved me. I quickly caught her arm and removed the athame from her hand and put it back on the altar, telling her to sit down and behave, which she seemed to do, although with some obvious wild-eyed nervous trepidation.

This event was followed by another more frightening event. All of a sudden the candles were simultaneously and inexplicably extinguished. The nervous woman at that moment completely lost her nerve and briefly screamed. There was some fumbling in the dark to relight the candles and see what had occurred. The woman was sitting on the floor with a look of complete terror on her face. She babbled that she had seen something that looked like a demon, but to this day I don’t know what she saw when the lights briefly went out.

I was also quite puzzled by how the candles had gone out in the first place, since there were no windows open in the room and no one had detected any perceptible breeze or current of air. However, it seemed that I couldn’t proceed any further with the working, since whatever focus or raised energy had been developing had obviously and quickly dissipated. That scream had ended the magickal working right then and there. My acquaintances had experienced more than enough from my little demonstration. They were quite convinced that I was a very “far out” guy, but way too far out for their tastes. My demonstration did not amuse them, so they hurriedly left, never to return. (In fact, some of them actually sought to steadfastly avoid me, spreading gossip that I was a practicing Satanist.)

At that moment my friend Gail arrived to visit me, walking into my room while the participants were quickly stumbling for the door. I can imagine that she was somewhat amused by the looks of fear and paranoia that greeted her as she entered my room, being briefly jostled by those who were eagerly leaving. Soon we were alone in an awkward silence, amidst the obvious stench of incense and the artefacts of illicit magick. When she was ensconced on her favorite chair in my room, she remarked on how obnoxious the spiritual atmosphere felt in my temple area. I demurred at first to explain the situation, but she pried it out of me after a short while. I tried to laugh it off and even managed to amuse her a bit. She laughed, more at me than with me. Then she said, “You have much to learn, little one, and you dare a great deal.”

Then she bade me go into a trance to determine the nature of the problem. I did as she asked and discovered that I had finally created a profound spiritual crisis for myself, unbeknownst to me, the first of many. I was standing on a threshold, a kind of slippery slope. I had pushed the forces of my own duplicity and selfish lust for magickal power too far. I worked the powers in the name of the goddess, but denied her a reality in my life. I had two choices in front of me. I either crossed the threshold, paid the price for my foolish actions and went on as a true witch, or dropped my dark practices before I caused myself greater damage. I was hooked on working more magick, so I chose to become a real witch and to undergo the ordeal of death and resurrection, although I did not know what my immediate fate was to be. How strange it was, that the day was Palm Sunday, the week before Easter Sunday. Since I had abandoned the church, I was no longer aware of the spiritual significance of the season. I only later realized how strange was the coincidence of these two events.

As I went into that trance, I was pulled down very deeply into it, and felt as if I were falling into a great pit of darkness and desolation - it took a while for me to hit bottom, too. As I stood in the very bottom of that pit of stygian gloom, I saw the silhouette of a great black cat enter into my space. It had large amber eyes and a loud purring noise emanated from it. I did not feel comforted by the appearance of such a large cat, for I sensed from it a great menace. Then I heard an angry whispering voice and a silky dark presence came over me. The voice was feminine and the whisperings of her words sounded like the wind blowing dead leaves. This was my first encounter with the Goddess and she was quite angry, calling me a fool and an idiot.

I had allowed Norman Slater, a few weeks previously, to defame her by name (Goddess = Devil) without defending her, when he publically spoke in an auditorium to my whole highschool class, condemning all forms of the occult, especially magic and witchcraft. Afterwards, I was silent when it came time to ask questions or make remarks, being wholly mesmerized by those psychic powers. I was in Norman’s thrall and that is what angered the Goddess more than anything. The entire experience of meeting a deity, to feel it riding my body, was quite astonishing to me. However, before she departed, a period of psychic stasis was laid upon me, and I was cursed so that I would be unable to work any of my psychic talents for a week. Then I would experience the transformation that I had previously tried to avoid, becoming a true witch of the Goddess and thereby earn her forgiveness. So ended the trance session and the atmosphere was completely cleared up; but in fact the energy became empty and stale, and all was placed in a darkness of deprivation. I was blinded and powerless, so I meekly awaited my fate.

The next few days were uneventful, but also frustrating for me because I was psychically blind. I was off from school for the Easter holiday, so I attended a going away party for Norman Slater on Thursday (April 15). He was traveling the very next day to Loch Ness, Scotland, to reveal to the public for the first time, the truth behind the mysterious beastie known as the Loch Ness Monster.

We all thought that we were seeing the arrival of the miraculous times and that evening, Norman stood before everyone in a haze of golden candle light, went into trance and made many pronouncements and prognostications, telling us that the hour of judgement had drawn near. Our expedition was the trigger of this event, since we were about to discover the awesome remnants of Atlantis. That discovery would cause the end of the world due to the many relics of a future and as yet undiscovered technology. Norman melded his obvious occult beliefs with those of the Bible, making himself the first prophet to declare that the end times were now here. We were all suitably stunned and in awe of him. We felt privileged to be a part of his inner court. Then we proceeded to celebrate in a quiet and friendly fashion. Not long into the evening I started to feel kind of giddy. I had my first unfortunate experience becoming drunk, and much of what occurred later that evening was forgotten in an alcoholic haze. For such a pious group, they allowed minors to consume alcohol, and several of us took advantage of this opportunity. I apparently, over did it, consuming enough to get fairly smashed.

Norman used my moment of vulnerability to take me to task, first to mock and ridicule me in front of the others, and then later in his garage flat, to reveal several of my most wicked past lives. This was his opportunity to apply some real pressure to me, to change and convert my obvious occult and pagan practices. He had already planned on such an occurrence, since his followers were ready to denounce me, but I unknowingly had made myself available for some old fashioned brain washing.

He put me through a kind of informal Karmic tribunal, which was attended by a few of his key followers. I was cast as an evil young man - and of course, it was all absurd. Norman went through a recitation of all my previous past lives, all of which had been evil and diabolical. I was a spiritual miscreant. He even acted out one of my murders in a former life in ancient Egypt. Where I had felt powerful and privileged, I was brought down to the lowest level imaginable. However, I was also very stubborn and far less malleable than Norman had anticipated. All Norman accomplished was to make me feel very badly about myself.

I ended up finally sleeping on a couch at his garage apartment. Although I was physically unmolested, I was emotionally and mentally raped by the experience, and my identity and ego were dashed upon the rocks of despair. On good Friday (April 16), I dressed in the previous day’s clothes and accompanied Norman to the airport with his official entourage. I was chastened, feeling pretty sorry for myself, and perhaps even seemed repentant in the eyes of Norman and his clique.

When I finally got home that evening, I knew immediately that I was really unrepentant. I was actually quite angry at what had been done to me, particularly the more I thought about it. When the seven days were finally over, all of the powers and abilities came back to me. I invoked the Goddess again and she rode me with jubilation, praising me for my steadfast ways. It was then that she began to teach me the real art of witchcraft magick. But first, she had a task for me to perform. It wasn’t long after my humiliation that I ritually cursed Norman and his group, being shown how to do this by the Goddess herself. It felt exhilarating and empowering, so from that moment onward, I was  drawn into a battle for the honor of my Goddess. It must have worked quite well, because when Norman returned from Scotland he had nothing to show for activities. There was no revelation of the Loch Ness monster, and the press ridiculed him as a fraud and a confidence man. Other factions of the press got a hold of his story and what he planned to do in the Bermuda Triangle and made a laughing stock of him. Norman was just too vague about the details of the whereabouts of the Altantean ruins. There was also no scientific corroboration for his many claims. A remnant news article of the time can be found in a Miami Herald newspaper piece on Norman Slater, dated August 1972. (By this time, he was already in decline.)

My magickal war with Norman was actually precipitated when some of his followers at school had threatened my life in front of bystanders. I had, of course, left the inner circle and had denounced Norman to my peers. They said that Norman’s powers would seek me out and destroy me because I was evil and in league with the devil. I told them that we would see who was the stronger psychic; me, standing alone, or Norman and his group. As it turned out, by the end of the year Norman’s great plans and his group had fallen apart. There were investigations of tax evasion and improper use of funds, Norman had become erratic and chaotic, and then succumbed to illnesses and various sicknesses. He spent two long sessions of time in the hospital, although to this day, I don’t know what was causing these illnesses. Norman’s fragile world was falling to pieces and as members quit and left his group, his powers seemed to grow more feeble and weakened. This led me to believe that perhaps Norman’s powers had been syphoned off of his followers, like some giant bloated tick.  However, I was relentless in sending bolts of magickal power to combat and defeat this man - I sought no more than that. I never attempted to be unjust or to physically hurt Norman. 

Some time later, when his mission had failed in disgrace and bankruptcy and all his followers had left him, I turned my back on that evil, vile but broken man, and went into the protective custody of the Goddess. Since then, I have never had to personally use magick to harm anyone, even though at the time that I did it, it was to protect myself and others from this psychic villain. A man who readily exploited others in the name of Christ.
I had bravely passed the test and was received into the Goddess’ heart and soul. She possessed me and made my life full of wonder and realization. To celebrate this transition, she named me on two separate occasions. The first name was Barrabbas, because I was a holy rebel and her magickal son, and the second name, Tiresius, she gave to me because she sought to show me my masculine and feminine sides blended together.

She began to teach me magickal rituals and lore, communicating to me through trance. She showed me how to practice them, to worship her divinity and how to be like the Gods. As I seemed to become her mortal consort, I lived my life with her inside my head and heart, listening to her whispered words of compassion and insight, and glorifying in her visions of power and majesty.

It was thus that I suddenly discovered I already knew how to use the rituals and talismans from the various occult books and grimoires that I now possessed. I used these and her insights to create the first structures of the magickal system whose foundation I use today. The origin of this system was the illumination of the Goddess guiding my hands and senses to a greater understanding of magick. I was a goddess intoxicated young man, and wandered through life as a ghost, living only for the magickal worlds of spirits and gods. What I needed was a good sexual grounding, but unfortunately I was still a virgin. I had offered myself to the Goddess as a virgin, and the offering was most heartily accepted by her.

However, I had gained a powerful alliance and alignment with the Goddess of the Witches, so it was only a matter of time before she guided me to a real coven. Until that time, I was to have a number of remarkable adventures, some of them good and some revealing a greater darkness in the occult world that I had entered. I had a basic magickal system that seemed to work, but the greatest revelations would occur later on that year, in the golden autumn of 1972, a time that I would fondly remember for my whole life.

Frater Barrabbas

1 comment:

  1. I used to work for Sanctum Regnum, back in '77. Frederick Bucholz (not sure of the spelling) was the owner, and a colleage was named Mark Sill ( or was it with one "L"?). Would love to make contact with either of those two again, if anyone knows where they are. Fred had moved to California then to open an OTO bookstore, but I heard he was back in the midwest not long ago. Anyone?