Is it a poem? Is it a spell?

I don't know, but it keeps growing. Here's the current state of it: The Hekate Pot Into the Pot go letters and words Into the Pot go beasts and birds Into the Pot go skull and bones Into the Pot go herbs and stones Into the Pot go leaf and vine Into the Pot go milk and wine Into the Pot go honey and blood Into the Pot go earth and mud Into the Pot goes the hanging rope Into the Pot goes water of seven rivers Out of the Pot comes Hope...

August Heat

Yup, August has shown up, all right. With a vengeance. It hit 90 today, and the air is full of smoke from distant wildfires. Very distant -- all the way up in British Columbia. The Pacific breeze isn't blowing the way it should. Instead, there's a wind coming down from the north carrying all this smoke, diving over the Puget Sound. The air is so thick there are halos around the street lights, and the moon is peachy-orange. It's supposed to be as bad or worse the next couple of days before the sea breeze picks back up and gives us some relief. So much to write about, but all I want to do is curl up in my blessedly air conditioned bedroom and sleep....

August Horror list

A list of media I hope to consume this August: Watching: The first 3 Alien movies The Autopsy of Jane Doe (movie) Channel Zero (series) Banshee Chapter(movie) As Above So Below (movie) original Blair Witch (movie Session 9 (movie) The Girl With All the Gifts (movie) Reading: Hellblazer (graphic novel series) Joplin's Ghost by Tananarive Due The Between by Tananarive Due Ghosts of Georgetown by Elizabeth Huntsinger Wolf (book) More Ghosts of Georgetown by Elizabeth Huntsinger Wolf (book) Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel José Older (book) "The Devil in America" by Kai Ashante Wilson (book) The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg (book) Listening: American Murder Song (album) No Sleep Podcast (podcast) Darkest Night (podcast) Alice Isn't Dead (podcast) Welcome to Nightvale (podcast) Coraline by Neil Gaiman (audiobook) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audiobook) Wow. There's no way I'm getting through all of that. I'll see how much I CAN get through, though....

Here comes August

Last night, a strange thing happened. I felt almost eager for August to arrive. Normally, I dread this month, and feel much as Al Aronowitz did about it. August is the dead time, the dry time, the mad time. Every August, I feel sick, ungrounded, uncentered. This has long been an irony in my life. August is the month most sacred to Hekate, precisely because it is the dead time. The Dog Days of Summer are hers, under the influence of the Black Bitch's Dog Star. This is the time when she wanders the earth, when she hunts, when she comforts weeping Demeter and prepares resolute Persephone. It is her time. But I think that is precisely why it is so hard for me. It is sacred, but I have had trouble connecting to the sacredness, because I am so distracted by what the heat does to my body that I have had trouble involving myself fully in it. It has, I realize now, looking back over the past three years' archive of August posts, I begin to see an arc of change. Focusing more on Hekate and the Dead has grounded me more during the past few Augusts. And, unlike the past three years, this year I have an air conditioner for the bedroom against, which will make it easier to sleep and help with some of the physical impediments. This year I am already more focused on the Dead than I have ever been before, with not a nightly ritual from the Litany, but the introduction of the chief two figures of my spirit court -- I really must post about them -- and a ritual they gave me to open the way for the Dead who need help moving on called Pouring the Cauldron, which I now do every few weeks. (I need to talk about that as well.) Last year, August was relatively uneventful. I was focused on school a lot, being in my first quarter there, but I found the time to watch, read and listen to quite a bit of horror and ghost story. The year before, I focused my August on establishing a practice with the Dead. The year before that, I spent the whole of August praying solely to Hekate. This year, I feel secure in my practices with the Dead, I've just finished a period of more intense focus on Hekate (yet another thing to write about), so I don't feel the need to repeat my activities of 2015 and 2014. I will be watching a lot of horror -- my list this year is quite possibly longer than I can finish, but that's another post -- and I have another project, the investiture and consecration of a new tool, a Cauldron or Pot of Hekate. I think those two things will hold my focus on the sacred nicely. August also holds the birthday of my wife, which she doesn't care much about but I do, and a new friend I care a lot about. I'll be leaving for Florida and North Carolina for two weeks at the end of August, to go to my grandmother's 90th birthday and see various family members. And I'm actively looking forward to this year's horror movie fest. Weird....

If you give monsters a deck...

...apparently they get really demanding. I finally have the money to buy some things I've been wanting for some time. One of them was the Flowers From the Dead oracle deck, which I've been wanting for communicating with my monsters for quite some time. As soon as it arrived, the day before yesterday, within minutes of me having the deck in my hands, they became far more vocal -- and demanding -- than they have ever been. Each of them (or group of them) needed their own signifying card from the deck, so I could tell who was speaking. Then they started clamoring for a shrine. With bones and masks. And that dead tree decorative thing from the top of the book case. Which needs a noose. And so accordingly, I ordered a couple of small lots of cruelty-free bones off Etsy, and a set of Astragaloi off Ebay (half of which will go to my Toys set, and half to the Monsters), and started talking to my maskmaker friend about a monster mask. Today I went to Goodwill and found not only a small table to be their shrine, but a glass-fronted wall cabinet of precisely the kind I'm always looking for. (I think this will belong to the Purple Thread. They need to be up off the ground.) Score! I have black velvet for the altar cloth, and the dead tree, and some goat foot bones to start with, and the deck and a book to record oracles in, and the rest will come along as they can. Later: Well, what I have for now is set up. I'll post a picture eventually, but probably not until I have a mask....

Writing again

I've been so busy with school and work all this year that it's been almost impossible to find the time to do anything else. But yesterday, I carved out an hour or so, and got some actual work done on The Book of the Downward Labyrinth. Not a massive amount or anything, but enough to get a little forward momentum going that's keeping me rolling some today. My summer is packed. Not only am I taking three classes, which are trying to pack 11 weeks of information into 8 weeks of instruction, and tutoring, and being a teaching assistant, but I now have two freelance database jobs. With all that, finding the time to write is nearly impossible, but may be necessary as a balance. I've had some fascinating spiritual experiences lately. A few of us performed a Bacchic Mass, a kind of séance of the Starry Bull tradition, and I learned a lot. I finally found the identity of my... I'm not sure what the formal term for them is. Spirit guides? Gatekeepers? Those of my Dead who give the other Dead access to me, or deny it, and who act as hostesses in my space. I think of them as the Aunties. One should not have been a surprise. Aider Rebecca, the great-great(-great?) aunt I'm named for. She lived alone in the log cabin she was born in until the end of her life, the eccentric old woman in the West Virgina woods. She died in her 90s, and what it took to kill her was falling asleep on the porch, having the bottom of her corncob pipe burn through and catch her gunnysack dress on fire. She stumbled half a mile to the nearest neighbor's house with burns over 70% of her body, and lived three more days in the hospital before giving up. That's my Aunt AiderBeck. And apparently she's been keeping my spiritual house in order for me. For which I thank her. My other guardian was a big surprise, and a great honor. Medea herself helps out, and says that I may count her as the founder of my magical lineage. I learned a great deal from the both of them that night, and a new tool was recommended to me. A cauldron, and in the cauldron a skull. This is a crossroads, a gateway, I was told. A way for Dead who need help moving on into their afterlives to do so. And so I am developing a ritual called The Pouring of the Cauldron based on this principle. Right now it is very small and very simple, but it seems to serve the purpose in a limited fashion. I look forward to expanding upon it to achieve more effective results. The Book of the Downward Labyrinth continues to grow and to ramify, with new necessary topics coming up whenever I sit down to think about it much. It's a bit exhausting, and I despair of actually finishing it on the schedule I'd like. But at least some of the new ideas can go in the second book, which will be specifically for those looking to serve the Dead as kedemones and enchytristria. I don't plan on making this one publicly available, but on having Create Space make me a couple dozen copies, enough to get us through years worth of people who want to study this path. By the time we run through that many copies, I'm quite sure it will need a new edition with many, many revisions. That book, The Path of the Dead, is probably the next project, but will have to wait to be written until I've taught a class (or maybe two classes, one for the kedemon level, and one for the enchytristria) on the material, to give me a chance to organize it and see what works for others. I may also end up coming up with a class on preparing for Death. I don't know yet....

Bacchic Underground

I completely forgot to announce the Bacchic Underground blog! I've got a couple of posts up, including the never-performed ritual script for the planned ritual for last year's Many Gods West....