Here’s the wyrd thing:
Paxson ends her first chapter with the quote from Butler:
You have asked me to train you in High Magic’s Way. Why do you wish to be trained? What is your real motive? Do not make the mistake of thinking that this can be answered without a good deal of careful thought…. There are, of course, quite good motives for the study and practice of magic, quite apart from the question of vocation. It is a worthy motive to search for truth, if the results of that search are going to be used in service. “I desire to know in order to serve,” is the motive which admits to the Mysteries (Butler, 1962).
My reason for doing this course in trance was that it felt like the Norn’s needle: It stitched together several squares of disparate fabric that had been floating about in my psyche into a fabulous quilt of fated purpose. I didn’t think I was serving anything or anyone, not even myself, really. I perceived what I thought to be fragmented jostling in place into a single path, and that path was right. It wasn’t a sense of belonging. I still don’t feel like I really belong anywhere or in the presence of anyone. It was just a sense of honesty with myself. This is who I am, and what I do.
So, it’s been weird to be around a lot of people who surround themselves with ethnic symbolism and leave it at that. I feel like such a novice for not wearing an “AUM” t-shirt or having runes on all my facebook profile pics. That’s what’s going on my mind, but in reality, I know what I love, and I’m pursuing it. I don’t need to “look” like I’m pursuing it. Just do what you love, and you’ll create more opportunities to do what you love. Example: I had an amazing two years with a Bhutanese-Nepalese community who were really into the Bhagavad Gita. I love the BG. We’d meet once a week (at least) and do yoga, meditation, satsang (or sanga) and kirtan. The final two are the most visible manifestation: spiritual discourse and performance of stories through music, dance and telling.
The structure of our satsang is something I would like to replicate with Norse mythology. Luckily, I don’t have to replicate anything, there’s already a tradition from Iceland called Kvöldvaka, during which people would tell stories, play music, and dance. I just really enjoyed getting into the drumming and dance with that community, and now that I’ve moved on, I wonder if it’s possible to have this with a culture that’s closer to my own heart. We used tablas:
Tabla is a pair of drums. It consists of of a small right hand drum called dayan and a larger metal one called bayan. The tabla has an interesting construction. The dayan (right hand drum) is almost always made of wood. The diameter at the membrane may run from just under five inches to over six inches. The bayan (left hand drum) may be made of iron, aluminium, copper, steel, or clay; yet brass with a nickel or chrome plate is the most common material. Undoubtedly the most striking characteristic of the tabla is the large black spot on each of the playing surfaces. These black spots are a mixture of gum, soot, and iron filings. Their function is to create the bell-like timbre that is characteristic of the instrument.
I also took lesson for a year and a half in South Korea to learn how to play the janggu drum:
Then I heard the most powerful drums on Earth:
And I was all like, yes. This is incredible. I’m just worried that I’m too goofy for the gravity of such an occasion. When I see Heilung on stage, I just think: this group is on a mission. The novel I’m trying to publish is about the opposite: a young man who kind of blunders his way through some very serious cultural traditions and wields power that he has no idea how to use properly. Which is totally not an analogy for my life.
Eldir: Are you sure?
Moving right along. I went to yoga last night, and afterwards, I went to Henderson Park to commune with the same tree I’d found the previous night. The snow had fallen and the night was dark and cold. Although I have plenty of pairs of gloves, I foolishly decided not to wear any. The sig-wards looked beautiful in the freshly-fallen snow. The snow barely covered the grass with its white dusting, and when I drew the circles with the staff, the really stood out.
I got some food and returned to my residence. The gentleman I look after needed some attention. I finished with him, ate my supper, and phased right out of existence.
Like, I’m not trying to make this sound any cooler than it was, but once I made the decision to do my relaxation, things got blurry like some kind of drug trip. I’m not sure really what went on. I was using a video I had recomrded some time ago for the guided relaxation. After that, time passed outside of time. I woke up to see I had written down one of my many dreams:
A rough man “behind the scenes” surrounded by white, had a conversation with a woman about her sliced knee. She feels protected b him. He seems indifferent to her. He has dark stubble and a crew cut. He holds a Kalashnikov rifle. They talk without knowledge or awareness of my presence, as though I’m witnessing it but have no ability to participate.
This isn’t a dream. It’s a fragmented memory. I remember that when I was a young barista in Victoria, Canada, a woman came in off the street, her knee bleeding down her leg. I immediately rushed to clean up her cut and discovered that it was only a small slice. I bandages it and she looked me in the eyes as if she felt something deeply. I smiled, got up, and never saw her again.
With the other part of the dream, it was a more recent memory. I had flown into Calcutta with a traveling companion. A stranger came to our aid and brought us to the train station. Before that, however, he brought us to his Uncle’s work compound. By necessity, the compound was guarded by men with Kalashnikovs. That was the first time I had seen weapons used in that capacity. I couldn’t help but to think that we might be in some sort of danger. I only pretended to eat the food they offered and I didn’t sleep, though my companion chose to bathe and nap. I made sure she got safely to our destination, and after our yoga retreat, we went to a holy city where I nearly climbed a building and beat up a monkey to get her glasses returned.
Man, I got stories in me.
Anyway, what I can’t account for in the vision was the crew cut, and the whole “behind the scenes” thing. I vaguely remember it. I was watching it as though it was a movie, but the people were most definitely real.
That’s okay. I don’t have to understand everything.