Bris an Stoirm

Late last night, I decided that I needed to meditate. I really should have been practicing my meditation almost every day, but as usual things always seemed to get in the way. I was just on the cusp of going to bed, but the feeling of something hanging over me was simply too overpowering; I needed to do something to relieve the pressure. 

I remembered the vision of the Lady in our apartment when we lived on Burnaby Mountain – the vision that gave me such peace on a similar night when I was upset and stewing, so I decided to make her the focus of my meditation. With no other name for her, I have begun simply calling her in my own mind by the name Mi’Lady as that term carries the intimacy and respect that I feel toward her, though I’ve never seen her since. Sometimes I wonder if writing about her is breaking some confidence she placed in me …

I did not want to include any extraneous ritual elements but only that which directed my thoughts toward her. With the rest of my family in bed, I turned out the lights, set a cushion on the floor, lit a stick of frankincense and closed my eyes.

Almost immediately I was hit with the impression of an enormous beast hovering over me. It was a deep and mottled, blackish grey with dark brown patches, but its pelt was greasy and matted into almost dreaded tangles of dried blood and filth. Its eyes were a lustrous white and glowed with a directness that was both ferocious and somehow unfocused. It bore a striking resemblence to the images I drew of anthropomorphic wolves but was enormous – too big for me to see all at once – more vividly real than I could ever have imagined, and fixated on me with an almost murderous rage.

The first time I ever drew one of these kind of creatures (no furry jokes, please) I was about nine years old. I remember having a yearning and a resentment; I yearned for a purity of life and intensity of being that I seemed capable of understanding, of feeling, but not capable of achieving, and I resented all those around me who seemed utterly unaware of this aspect of existence. It was this pattern of thought and life that the pagan books I’d found called out of me, but I’d felt conflicted by the clear contradiction between my Christian upbringing and this hard, brilliant and very real sense of raw life and beauty that I found in these books and the world all around me. I associated that raw intensity with the animals I’d encountered and with whom I seemed to have a natural sympathy (no one else could catch chickens or <ahem> navigate snakes the way I could). I did not feel  human, so I drew myself as I felt – an animal but not an animal.

As I meditated last night, it was like that part of myself was staring me in the face, wounded, angry and vicious. I was trying to be peaceful and connect with Mi’Lady, but I could not get around this slavering, grotesque visage that seemed to swaddle my entire being and could not get past the accusing, bitter glare in those lamp-like eyes. I decided to address it directly, and as I did the answers came back instantly – as if the mental sentences I constructed were needless:

‘Are you my Daemon?’ thought I. To which the immediate response ‘yes’ came back at me like a hammer-stroke.

‘What is your name?’ I attempted, but the immediate response was ‘Satan.’ This I could not accept but felt that it was a name chosen to embody its current hostility and anger; the word, after all, carries the meaning of ‘the accuser’. Humoring it, ‘beguiling all my sad fancy into smiling’, I went through the motion of mentally saying, ‘then I abjure thee in the name of the risen Christ, in the name of he who created the world.’ Its response was a hissing, hoarse and throaty laughter which was, while beastial, not without mirth, and we seemed to agree silently to drop all pretenses.

 Instead of communicating, I decided to respond directly. Instead of trying to speak, I began in my mind’s eye to stroke the matted fur . I imagined a brilliant, jade comb in my hand and began easing out the clots of blood, the tangled knots and the matts of greasy dirt. Slowly the eyes blinked and lowered, the hair came clean and the muscles eased. Slowly the image of this towering, hulking form gave way to a recumbent predator, its eyes half-closed and dreamy. Slowly, the image faded and other, more normal thoughts began to come and go. I was left with a sense of coming down out of a deep and bitter rage, and was soon able to open my eyes and go to bed.

Not that I actually went to bed. With my soul a bit more at peace, I stayed up for a few more hours, writing, doing some reading and being myself again. Now I am left with a feeling that the sense of danger that I felt was my own danger and from my own self. Somehow I have ignored my Daemon, ignored the divine pattern which characterizes my life, though I can’t imagine how with all the gardening, planning and work that I have been doing expressly to advance my life more in keeping with my understanding of my daemon. I was able to calm it directly last night, but it needs a proper outlet which is not here. I am not sure where to take this next, but one thing is of deadly certainty: I will be meditating more often from here on out.

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