188_auric_woolyThis is the last post you have been waiting for.

There was a commenter five years ago who asked me what this was all leading up to. Good question! As if I knew.

It’s been leading up to this. I started this blog with the intention of it being a creative writing outlet for me that other people would find interesting. However, the traffic on this blog has been nearly non-existent for five years.

I have little sense of the energy people find in what I do here.

I can do creative writing without having to post it in public, so I’m going to retreat to the innermost sanctum of my workshop and do the labor there.

There will still be stuff. This is the Transmutation phase. That means I’m changing the way I do things here. What I will likely focus on are reviews and the occasional episode of some kind of artistic creation I put out. I’m going to change the format and design of this website in a little while.

What brought about this change in attitude?

About a year and a half ago I felt the website had done all the work it was going to do for me. I’ve been working on thoughts and prayers that might help me figure out what comes next. All while I was going on the biggest adventure of my entire life.

That adventure is now done.

I have plucked the onion from the ashes of the Gingerbread Witch Spider and received the treasures within.

I am just myself.

187_collegesurpriseWhen I was younger I used to think this campus was a golden land of opportunity and adventure. Then I got wise to the unconscious riptides of the place and have changed my mind.

The college reminds me of that old Middle Earth Roleplay adventure, Bree and the Barrow Downs. A prosperous center of human activity beside ancient storehouses of past effects now infested with evil spirits.

However, unlike that adventure there are no collective figures of help and guidance such as Gandalf or Tom Bombadil. Hek, there’s not even any organized resistance to the shadow like the Rangers of the North.

In other words, no lifeguard on duty!

When you consider that PDX is Torech Ungol with the Desperately Strange characteristic, it makes the college a pretty bleak place to be psychologically. Deadly high level adventures for young newbs.

What did I know when I was 18?

Not that the cookies, gumdrops and cakes of the Gingerbread House aren’t real. There were many delights I found to be experiences worth savoring.

The college outdoors program is top notch, arguably the best in the country. I was exposed to the beauty of what remains of nature and the wild in a way many people will never know.

The overseas program is excellent. I got to go to Japan and search for Godzilla. Along the way Japanese ghosts gave me a magnificent insight.

The computer program was ahead of its time. The dorm labs, the library center—these familiarized me with the desktop interface and prepared me for the Internet that would spring into mainstream existence shortly after I graduated.

That’s where my actual career emerged eight years down the line.

But a liberal arts education? That is, the classical liberalism ideal of what amounts to critical inquiry? Not much of that. Mainly fitting classes into a generic requirement of blocks—basic, intermediate and advanced.

The classes themselves were almost always all institutionalized preparation for a position in the white-collar industrial model, assuming you didn’t come from an upper cruster background (and I met many folks who had affluent parents). In that case, I guess you just went into the left-right or center-right wings of business.

Asking questions? That leads to questioning authority. Coming to your own conclusions? That leads to independent thought. Playing with the materials and figuring out how they work? That’s a little too scientific to be safe.

I ran into that wall again and again in my studies, not that I knew what I was bumping into. I just must have been missing the door, rite?

Wait, there’s no door? What you talkin’ bout Willis!?

The college recently started an entrepreneurial program. I had to laugh at the unconscious admission behind that.

All the best sages on innovation I read seem to agree that a liberal arts stance—that is, thinking outside narrow constraints through play as exploration—leads to entrepreneurial activity. If you’re a real liberal arts college, you got this down already.

So in a left hand way the college was positing that its own program was not in any meaningful way liberal arts!

I assume though, that they meant entrepreneurial in the sense of business—coming up with services or products to sell that will presumably reinvigorate the economy that’s in decline. You know; profits, and maybe some jobs.

I guess business degrees ain’t what they used to be in these modern medieval times.

I still remember the career guidance counselor asking me if I had ever considered a job in sales.

You craphound! If I wanted to go into sales I wouldn’t need to go to into indentured servitude to afford a college degree. I was dodging a trade presumably so I could learn how to unlock the full potential of my mind, you numbskull.

The college was full of barrow wights like that, preying on the vulnerabilities of young people as they bumbled around looking for a clue. I met a lot of students there who took too many blows psychologically and shipwrecked in one form or another.

Hek, I almost joined the list of Bermuda Triangle victims myself on a number of occasions.

I mean, if you want to model your thinking towards the needs of the owners of this country then this is a good place for it. You too can aspire to be an unquestioning master butler telling the other servants what to do.

For everyone else, well the old joke was that on the back of every Lewis and Clark degree was a job application for a McMenamins restaurant.

2 out of 5 Stars of the Magi

186_portlandoregoninanutshellUnless you’re a nega-psychic*, living in The City That Works Your Wallet is a daily choice between saving throw versus poison or serving evil.

I’ve been on a sooper secret mission to figure out what happened to me when I was in this place during my college years. It seemed like such a magical place then, with beautiful treasures.

Yet I wasn’t able to find a job and support myself back then. Not even as a dishwasher! Go back to Parental Tiger Cage, do not pass Go and do not collect 200 dollars.

So here I come many years later with a full on psychic starfleet and a posse of awesome abilities. This time, if I can do it I’ll make it and find out what’s what. I got the Beagle Active Star-Probe sniffing for hidden units, you read me?

I come to this place with trust and sincerity, opening myself to the possibility that it was me that was the problem before. In a way I am baiting the trap with a juicy morsel—myself—in a situation in which I have let go of all my past advantages in order to attempt a new life.

Mistakes were made: It wasn’t me at all.

Portland Oregon is a conformist, insular, reactionary place with no room for boundless life. It’s a bloodsucking operation for rich people who have moved on from the farmer and woodsmen producers to young and hopeful dreamers.

This is performed through an unconscious public relations beacon phenomena that lures people into the city’s orbit with the promise of a progressive, liberal land of opportunity where the kids are hip.

It’s none of those things!

The entire city is overrun by a psychic colony of giant spiders waiting to snare you in their complex web of misfortune. Once you’re caught they insert a vacujac and connect you to the blood bank.

Your money, sanity and youth are drained away to feed the psychological mechanisms that maintain the city as a playground for rich people who enjoy west coast flavor in their victims.

There are a few spider predators here, and those lucky folks who happen to be nega-psychics are able to do the total dodge. But oh man, the majority of people here end up processed in one of two ways.

You either succumb to the conformity and descend into some form of depression, or you suffer a violent reaction to the spider venom and hit the eject. The people who flee the place are denigrated as losers by the bitter victims who haven’t the strength themselves to escape.

It’s sick.

One of the running gags in this place is the campaign to “Keep Portland Weird.” This is complete misdirection. Portland isn’t weird at all. It’s what I would describe as “Desperately Strange.”

That is, the symptoms of “weirdness” are really an autoerotic response to a dwindling life force. People are acting out because their blood, brains, and souls are being fed into a machine nightmare from which they cannot escape, and they have to fill the void with something.

I’m too weird for square, isolationist Portland Oregon. I’m leaving before the giant spiders and evil spirits drain my tank.

If you’re thinking this place is the land of your dreams, pinch yourself hard and rethink your plans before you become a take out meal on legs. For those of you trapped in the Portland Oregon deathtrap already, hey you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Those who are nega-psychics? You and the people close to you are fortunate indeed to not see what goes on, but do know that the delights of the city are made from the remains of the victims.

1 out of 5 Stars of the Magi

*A nega-psychic is a concept from the Beyond The Supernatural RPG. It’s a person whose psychic power is an unbelief or dislike for the supernatural. Their power weakens or dispels supernatural manifestations.

185_counteractantsI defeated the Gingerbread Witch of Portland Oregon a while back. I’ve been trying to mop up the traps, giant spiders, and evil spirits she left behind so that things might improve.

I’ve had a sinking feeling though, as the hits keep coming. I’m running short of slack.

Things have been bad news, and as I lose a greater share of my live brains the fallout seems to hit me harder. It’s getting so that every chore or errand I have to do takes three times as much energy as it should.

That means there’s more going on than just my most obvious vanquished foe.

Which makes sense, as it’s a collective entity I’m struggling with. Eliminate the personal manifestation and it falls back to groups of problems.

Giant spiders all over the place, hidden snap traps that “surprise you’re dead” you, and soul sucking wight jerks that glom onto you and sap your will. It’s a constant state of paralysis and poison.

I’m doing the best to purify and cleanse my immediate surroundings, but again I’m faced with psychological energy that is too much for one person to handle. I’m still in danger and my resources are running out.

And yet, I continue the struggle. With slapstick and candle in hands I uncover what clues I can. I need to protect not just myself but those who are dear to me.

Then, one day while I am nursing some spider bites and chill burns from the local wight posse, a friend mentions a common remedy off the cuff. At first I’m like, yeah killing the actual spiders that seem to be accumulating in my crappy apartment sounds like a good plan. Then I realize this is a major piece of the puzzle.

Ain’t that how it is? The folklore solutions come up gold.

Put vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Turns out spiders are vulnerable to this kind of treatment. Hey, I can scale this to the psychological realm very easy. It’s based in objective reality already. Those giant spiders will be in for a surprise.

I’d been considering a treasure I found from the past against these eight-legged karmic jackups, but the use of it bothered me due to its constructed stance. This remedy, however, this I can do.

But wait, there’s more!

Water is part of the mix too. Wights are vulnerable to water as it reminds them of the soul they no longer have. What if I pumped up that mix and made it holy water. Holy water protects against evil and renders it inert. I have connections to this shindig, I can add it to the blend.

All of a sudden, I have a multi-weapon I can use to put some distance between the challenge and me.

With distance you get perspective. I see things are on the mend and the upswing, even as horrible as they still are. This gives me hope.

I ain’t done yet!

I gotta keep the purification and cleansing going. Redirect the manifestations of the collective jackup. Create sacred space where people can catch a breather.

Then it occurs to me. I’m already doing incense, which is a good start. But hey I got all these killer bees doing the business for me. I need killer beeswax candles! They smell great and give off a nice killer bee candlelight glow. Just the sort of thing to scatter and evict these psychic attackers.

There’s still more.

While watching The Giant Spider Invasion it occurs to me that this movie is a long-term training message from the Nightchild to me in this moment. A meteor from outer space created a black hole situation that is feeding an energy field that in turn powers the giant spider invasion.

In short, a natural phenomenon is powering the collective eruption of forces upon consciousness.

I already know how to deal with this. I need an imaginary Cal-Tech neutron emitter sound system to neutralize the black hole and the energy field. I know people who can help me get the psychic plans for this and I have the means to build it as a psychic mental construct under hypnosis.

Is this for real? Can I really do this?

I need to remember that the collective is not just the jackup, but also parts which want me to succeed and do remarkable things.

Hulking up after a long beat down. I have tools now, and a plan of action.

I’m coming back.

Like the previous post, this exploration is for people who have played or studied the Journey video game on the PS3. Again, if you don’t know what this video game is about, check out the wiki article here.

Spoilers are a-comin’ in, so if you want to avoid major reveals then take the tape out now and hit the road, Jack.

One of the elements of Journey that I’ve been rolling over in my thoughts is the cutscene at the beginning of the game. It sets the stage for the game by showing the player a number of images that I believe shed illumination on the game’s overall narrative.

The game takes an open-ended approach to the meaning of the game, and I think that should still be kept in mind. My ideas do not negate yours.

However, as I mentioned in my last post when you make certain kinds of symbolic decisions you can’t help but assign them some structure. Piece by general piece, you narrow down the possibilities.

As before, I’m going to break it down for you.

The first image we are shown is a shift from white light to sand. This is incredibly significant.


It bridges the white light at the end of the game with the beginning and it shows us how we rise from the earth to become self aware. We grow in consciousness to an awareness of who we are. This also has ties to how we move out of the unredeemed darkness into a growing vision of who we are.

Right off the bat we have an image showing us that the theme of the game is about raising our consciousness.

The next image we are presented with is the sun over the horizon. Is this a sunrise or a sunset?


Regardless, the time between light and darkness is always the “in-between” time. The moment of greatest danger, the time when the barriers between worlds are weakest and things can pass between existences.

Is this the dawning of daylight and an emergence from darkness? Is this the approach of the darkness and the descent into the unknown? Maybe both, or maybe the outcome is in doubt. This is a time of transition.

Close up to a hill where the sun shines bright. We can see what will later be revealed as the gravestones at the start of the game.


This continues the cutscene’s progression. It means something has changed. Since the sun is higher here than in the previous scene, it means daylight is coming. Illumination has increased and we can now focus on specifics, rather than muddle about in the darkness of grays and indistinct shapes.

What has changed? We don’t know. But time is passing and an idea is forming.

The next scene is a large grouping of gravestones. Where as we were contemplating an individual, or two people, now we move into the collective realm.


Look at all the lonely people. All the dead, unredeemed people. This is a sorrow. All is desert. All is wasteland. There is no sign of life, only the passage of time. The people have lost their way.

Above, in the sky, a shooting star flies through the heavens.


This is God, asking “Who is there?” Calling to us. Showing his signs. It is not a blue sky, however. It too, is lifeless. Heaven is also a wasteland.

You might ask, how can God not know the answer to his question? God knows, but like us God must pretend not to know so that we can discover the greater purpose together. God needs our help even though God doesn’t need it.

The next scene is also a sorrow. God’s call streaks through the sky above the landscape of gravestones, yet goes unheeded.


There is a gap between God and the people. Heaven and earth do not meet. God and the people have lost their way, and there is no life. Or perhaps there is no authentic life. We are all living a phony life that is a shadow of what we might know.

The next scene is a flying through the desert.


Who is flying? You are. This is a premonition of what you will discover in the game—both through moments of small and gradual discovery, and through great moments of inspiration. We are leaving the collective problem here and shifting to the personal.

The focus is zeroing in on you—the player—and the journey you will take.

It should be pointed out that in dreams (and this is indeed a dream) flying means spiritual development. This is entirely appropriate given what you will be doing in the game itself.

Then, you awaken from the dream.


This image is very important. You rise from the earth (because you are mortal), but your head touches the sky. You will be the bridge between heaven and earth. You will redeem the great wrong that afflicts the world.

Contemplate that image, the cloud over your head like a halo. You have heard the call of God. You may not understand it yet, you may not even be able to answer God’s question….”Who is there?”

However, now there is hope. If the people were alive they would rejoice.

The next scene pulls back. You were meditating (an action you can take in the game).


This is appropriate. You were engaged in an attempt to understand or commune with the state of the world. This opened your heart and mind to the call of God.

You stand up, realizing that there is a great task needing to be done. This is the true beginning of the game.

But what is this great task? You are to atone for the sins of the past and become one with God. This is exemplified in your growing relation to your Self. That is, the part of you that is both mortal and one with the divinity, as opposed to the self, who imagines itself as mortal and separate from on high.

This scene from later in the game explains a great deal.


You and the Self are one. You and God are one. This must be re-discovered through atonement. The Journey is your quest for atonement and the realization of the Self.

One of the first wonders you encounter is the glowing symbol surrounded by cloth strips (spirits).


This is holy ground. This is a place where another person heard the call, just as you did. They began their journey here. Now you benefit from this holy place by increasing your awareness of your spiritual connection to God.

This is where your scarf first appears. If you look closely at the World card in the tarot, you will see the evolved Self is naked, but adorned by a scarf. A scarf is a symbol of the spirit flowing free.


This marks the beginning of your spiritual evolution. You will find other symbols along the way and your scarf will grow in size.

Later on you witness a symbol landing in a deserted ruin.


This reinforces the idea that the call of God (shown in the dream flying over the earth) lands where a person hears the call. Person by person a connection is being rebuilt.

Indeed, at the end of the game it is shown that a symbol lands where you first awakened.


You have made your mark for others to follow. The world is changing for the better with every person who hears the call.

In the lighthouse you are faced with several glyphs that display your journey.


This is a gathering of all your scattered piece into a whole. There is an unconscious sequence, symbolized by the out of order glyphs. However, the fact that you have all the pieces means you will fit them together in the final challenge.

Near the end, you are faced with a gargantuan figure. Some believe them to be sages, angels, or ancestors. I believe this is your Self, regarding you.


As you grow in knowledge and experience, your Self appears larger each time. Your true being is so enormous! It draws me back to an issue of the Doctor Strange comic book in which the hero confronts death. You will be required to grow in order to fill the mammoth form you inhabit.

Seriously. Did you never suspect that your true being is much greater than the form you seem to inhabit?

Your mortal adventurer is faced with this realization in the wide panorama of their journey.


The big picture is big. You are bringing into existence your Self through the trials and wonders of your journey.

This is the hard part. Only our mortal striving can awaken in ourselves the part of our being that is one with God. It’s one thing to hear the call, to know it is there. To understand it is a whole other thing.

I talk about the defeat that is necessary to ascend in the previous post. To reach the summit and the final realization requires a beat down. A humbling.


Yet if you do not give up, you reach your goal.

At the top, your scarf retracts. You don’t need it anymore. Your Self is one with God, as you are coming to realize.

Dumbo no longer needs the feather to fly because he could always fly already!


You walk into the white light where you will encounter the experience that will lead to the realization of the Self. Something wonderful will happen.


You pass into the final gap between the two poles of life and death. This is where you will fulfill the dream at the beginning of the game.

What does that mean?

Go back to the very first story-stone cutscene in the game, where you were shown what the mountain does. Life will return to the wasteland. The birds (the animals) and the plants will return. The people will appear (they will revive).

Do you see how important it is that you have gone on the journey?

143_thosewhodidntmakeitThis post is for people who have played or studied the Journey video game on the PS3. If you don’t know what this video game is about, check out the wiki article here.

Spoilers are a-comin’ in, so if you want to avoid major reveals then take the tape out now and vamoose.

One of the more interesting parts of the video game for me is the point where your character collapses on the slope of the mountain. There’s a lot of dialogue about what this moment means and how to interpret what happens afterwards.

The game takes an open-ended approach to interpretation, and this is one of its sources of appeal. A blank slate allows you to project onto it anything that suits you.

However, the choices you make in constructing a blank slate still reveal certain clues. Narrative choices, however vague, define and limit the available meanings. As a storyteller you can’t help but make “poker tells” along the way.

When I experienced the scene of my journeyer’s collapsed form, surrounded by the white robed figures, I broke down in tears. This is a moment I experienced in my real life, so I recognized what was happening immediately.

This is the final defeat, the last temptation, the lowest point.

What happened next in-game also resonated with me. Like my own experience, the journeyer’s soul is illuminated from within and you find a new experience of life. One that carries you past the last gap and into the new life waiting for you.

This is your moment of atonement, of bowing down low enough to allow the call to finally be heard.

What I find most interesting is how easily people interpret this part of the game to mean you died. In a game where you can travel like a bird and sing with a holy voice, it’s easier to believe you died and either went to heaven or were resurrected.

Not that others before you didn’t die. The whole side of that slope you climb is littered with gravestones. And I don’t want to ruin your experience either, but instead have you consider another idea.

The idea that in the moment where you couldn’t go another step you opened yourself to the divine and found in yourself resources that were provided all along.

It’s easy to see defeat as being like death, and in a lot of ways it is—you are forced to believe that your time has come and you are in need of help greater than you believe is within you. Will you give up?

Much easier to believe some outside force lifts you up and carries you the rest of the way, or that you are done and get to see the end as a consolation prize. At least then the blame falls somewhere else.

No. This is the most important moment of your life. If free will exists it is a very tiny thing, and so all the more important that you use what little you have. The entire world is waiting to see what you will do.

Joseph Campbell said, “The dark night of the soul comes just before revelation. When everything is lost, and all seems darkness, then comes the new life and all that is needed.”

Defeat is not a negation of your identity. It is a facet of your identity.

I’m going to break it down for you.

First of all, the game spells it out. You have to look closely at the clues, but it’s there. During the visions in which the story of the past is revealed to you, what a dead “Clothian” looks like is shown pretty clearly.


Face and body down, no spark of life in the heart space. In the ground.

Later on in the lighthouse you are shown the full majesty of your journey and what it is leading up to—your experience at the holy mountain.


You are on your knees; face bowed down, but your heart space still has the spark of life.


In the two player version of the game the second figure has their face up. This injects time into the narrative and suggests that the way forward means bowing down and then looking up, which is exactly what happens.

In the lighthouse, the vision story of your journey stops at the moment of your humbling before the holy mountain. This is because it’s not known yet what you will do. Will you give up and die? Will you finally heed the call with your whole heart? It’s the scariest moment because the outcome is in doubt.

If it was inevitable that you die then the vision story in the lighthouse would have reflected that.

Mind you, you can still cling to your “I died” experience if you want. The game doesn’t take that away from you. However, see what a brave step the game actually is taking! It is giving you an experience of wonderful healing and joy by showing you how it happens.

And here’s how it happens.

You’ve reached what you think is the last climb to the peak of the holy mountain, only to discover that it’s still far away. You climb the next slope as the worst blizzard of the game hammers you into submission. Lightning flashes and thunder roars. The two monsters are waiting overhead. Your scarf is blown away to shreds and you are frozen to the bone.

Somehow, you come through the storm, only to watch the mountain fade from view as a circular cloud formation whirls in the sky. You can barely walk, and are losing strength with each step. You are exhausted at last, despite all you have done.


This is the center of the storm. When the center passes and the storm begins again, it’s a fair bet that you may not survive. Either the cold will claim you or the monsters will be able to finish you off in your weakened condition. And you still have a long way to go!

You fall. This is as far as you can go as you are. Hopelessness seizes you.

For a while all is a blank, then some consciousness returns. You are on a flat space—you made it to the next crest somehow. Maybe you fell over because you were leaning against the slope and when it eased out you fell forward.


You are not alone. You were never alone. Are they angels? Ancestors? Sages? Regardless of who you believe them to be, something is different. You can see them now! Without the help of the story stones you used in the previous waypoints of your journey.

I think of the words of Carl Jung at a moment like this: “Christians often ask why God does not speak to them, as they believed God did in former days. When I hear such questions, it always makes me think of the Rabbi who was asked how it could be that God was manifest to people in the olden days whereas nowadays nobody ever sees God. The rabbi replied, ‘Nowadays there is no longer anybody who can bow low enough.'”

Are you not beaten? Is this not the lowest point you might reach?


The figures merely witness you, their alignment mirroring the climb you have made to higher levels of knowledge. Yet, knowledge alone is not enough. You must have understanding as well.


All around you the motes of the divine word fall amongst you, much like the snowflakes that pelt your exhausted frame. Always there, always calling. You heard, you awakened, and you made the journey. Yet still you did not heed. Until now.


You open your eyes. At last you finally see who is always there, for all people at all times. You don’t need the story stones anymore. You have atoned.


You rise from the depths, head bowed, humble, letting the call reach all the way into your heart.


The moment of enlightenment is here. Your scarf, symbol of your connection to the living spirit, returns and grows, and grows, and continues to grow.


Head still bowed, you see your heart is still alive, strong, glowing with the joy that is one with you now.


You return your attention to the journey. The last blow of the storm about to strike. On your knees, head bowed, you are glowing with the holy light that illuminates your soul. You have accepted the call all the way through.


Then, you fly. Through the center of the storm and across the gap to bridge heaven and earth. The dream at the beginning of the game is fulfilled. Your people and the divine are reconciled.


So strong is this opening of the heart and the hearing of the call that even the two monsters cannot harm you any longer. They try again and again to seize you, but their actions only bring them into the light where they are restored to their true forms. Your enemies. Your guardians of the gateway. Your friends.


You pass through the threshold into your new experience of life. You are almost to the top of the holy mountain! Your activities are now filled with a sense of awe and happiness, maybe some apprehension?

I am reminded of a narration from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments: “Learning that it can be more terrible to live than to die, he is driven onward through the burning crucible of desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for god’s great purpose, until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the maker’s hand.

And he found strength from a fruit-laden palm tree…and life-giving water flowing from the well of Midian.”

Have you not found the true source of all strength and life? Here the spirit creatures roam free, unsullied by human bondage. The only human structures here are the Tori gates, which are simple monuments to sacrifice and worship.

You are finally ready. At the top of the holy mountain you will realize your calling.

Have confidence! By all means we are living in a sad, pitiful wasteland of people who close themselves off. Yet still, a humble video game reminds us all that we can shine.

It can be done and indeed, will be done.

141_pdxdeathtrapThat’s “lair of the spider” for those of you who don’t know Sindarin.

Michael the cat’s demise has got me thinking about my Battle of the Galaxies with the Gingerbread Witch. Michael’s poor health made him a weak point in my defenses against the all-out attack of my adversary. It makes the conflict serious in a way I’d hoped to avoid.

I’ve been mopping up the traps and minions left behind in the wake of the burning up of the Gingerbread Witch. There’s more work here than any one person can hope to achieve, but I have been making a start so adventurers after me can dig for gold with less jackup.

Just like that, the Nightchild came back to me with reminders. He’s been doing stuff.

I’ve been meditating on the passing of my beloved cat ani-pal. I barely managed to escape being a victim of horror. I barely managed to defeat that horror. The costs to myself I accepted, yet to have a dear companion fall in the struggle hits me hard. Michael didn’t have a conscious say in this as far as I could tell. Did I tell him in my sleep that it would be like this?

Michael the cat was stubborn and strong willed. I don’t know how many hits he took for me, but I know he didn’t think twice. His meow bombing made him a target because even the Gingerbread Witch could not resist a cat giving her a severe penalty to her actions.

Maybe he bought me the time I needed to figure out the Gingerbread Witch’s secrets and dumpster her once and for all. He only knew he loved me and wanted me to reach my goal.

As awesome as I have been, I still needed someone to watch my back.

Michael the cat lasted as long as he could. He got to see me victorious, healing, moving past the horror of my life. I’d learned the lessons he’d been trying to teach me over the years, of patience and kindness to the unlovable. His work was done.

This death of a dear intimate friend affects me all the way to the core. It changes things in me. I haven’t been able to form a coherent thought for a month. He was on borrowed time as it was; yet still I feel a sense of guilt because my adventure put him at greater risk.

Even though I know in my soul he wouldn’t give a damn about no Gingerbread Witch. He wanted what he wanted and he loved me even as he was in the most intense of long-term pain.

All I can do is break open the barrows of Portland Oregon, spill out the treasures into the sunlight and rain so that a fresh rose of human being can grow and blossom without fear of horrific devouring. Scram, evil spirits! You’re done.

I take my share of the treasure, plundering the Mummy’s Tomb for the jewels that are mine to have and use for the work I will do to bring new life to the world. People will live better lives, but it still chokes in my throat. For once I cannot say the mantras, the prayers, the songs that would spring to my lips.

The price feels too high to pay now.

142_goodbyemichaelcatMy trusted and adorable ani-pal companion Michael The Cat is dead. This is a blow to me. It’s also a blow to K, and our other kitties Blink and Frankie.

Even though his demise was long anticipated it still hits me right in the vitals.

He was a terrible cat—needy, high maintenance, puked everywhere all the time, and he laid the nastiest poops I have ever had the privilege of smelling. Michael was a difficult cat to love, but I loved him with a fierce devotion despite his mind-numbing flaws.

Michael had cardiomyopathy. He was on drugs for that. He had a tendency to get crystals in his bladder so he was on a special food for that. He survived two operations to clean his bladder like it was nothing. The last six months he was having seizures or mini strokes and was on medicine for that. Fifteen years is not a bad run for a cat with so many health problems.

He never lacked for food and water, affection, pets, and a lap to sit on. Toys galore, high end cat litter—he had it all. He would purr all the time when he wasn’t howling like a banshee for what he wanted. There were many sleepless nights trying to figure out what he needed when he needed it.

The honeycomb hideout is so quiet now it’s uncanny.

The move to Portland must have been the shock that set him on a downward spiral. The move cross country to a cramped apartment with no air conditioning. The coyotes at night howling, the maintenance on the deck, and the stress of his human owners all added up to a push down the drain.

Something gave and he started to fill up with fluid in two sections of his body cavity. Pink fluid in his chest, milky white fluid in his abdomen. It made it hard for him to breathe and lay down. He stood by the food bowl for hours. It was heartbreaking.

Took him to the vet and had him drained, but the vet was like “this is it man, whatever it is none of the causes are good.” Skilled hippie vet with a jazz beard with all the knowledge, telling us the whole picture and what our options were.

Deflated like a balloon, Michael got to eat whatever he wanted and slept like a baby again for about a week. We petted him, talked with him, let him know we loved him and thanked him for everything. He started to swell up again though.

He had a meal with the other three cats all at once—tender beef feast his favorite. Then we all got to have one last Belonging Time together on the couch, watching the original Star Trek. He closed his eyes and for a moment was at peace. Then when it was over and we were getting ready to go to bed he had a seizure, crying out, relieving himself. Worst one ever. K and I believed he was telling us it was time.

For the last time ever I cleaned up his nasty poops, we put him in the kitty carrier, and the other cats said goodbye to him with a nose kiss. Then off to the vet.

The late night clinic was awesome. They did everything right to get us to where we needed to be. We said goodbye to Michael, but he was having trouble being present. Just before the injections began he rallied a little, to face the East, but we were committed. He grew limp as we spoke to him, petting him.

After a while his body grew cold and we had to say our last goodbyes, walk out of the room and never see him again. That was such a hard thing to do, even though I knew there was nothing else we could have done, that we did the right thing.

Out into the growing daylight of a new morning. I can only hope he has gone to someplace fun, what else have I got? As much as I know what I know while I’m alive, I still don’t really know what awaits us.

Grieving. Got Michael’s ashes a few days later. We’ve put him in a place of honor for the ritual of keeping and releasing. We keep having poltergeist effects and seeing him out of the corner of our eye. We set out a little food and water for him, a catnip leaf for him like he would love.

I dreamt that he visited me as an angelic owl cat much bigger than he used to be. He licked my hand and I knew he didn’t blame us for deciding that was it, that he loved us and he was our kitty.

Blink is happy to have one less competitor, while Frankie is depressed that her playmate is gone. Exact opposite of what K and I expected.

It’s a tremendous blow to my psyche. Michael and I spent many a long moment together on the Marshmellow Couch cuddling and relating to one another. The Marshmellow Couch is gone and now Michael is gone too. He was a good cat.

The vet told us that white and longhaired male cats are known for being stubborn and strong willed. K and I had to laugh. Now you tell us! It explains everything.

140_gameoftoiletsI’ve been sitting on the dumper with this one for a while. Now that the TV series has effectively broken the book series out of the echo chamber and into the mainstream, I figured now is a good time to examine what’s going on with this story.

If you don’t know what Game of Thrones is, all you need to know is that it’s a story about rich people in medieval times raping, torturing and killing their servants and each other over who gets to sit on the Iron Toilet and call themselves King of the Dumpers. The twist is that none of them know they can’t win until the author gets tired of writing thousand page bestsellers.

The story has two things going for it which I think are noteworthy and worth remarking about.

First, it’s a limited information campaign. Messages, news, and rumor travel slowly if at all. Often when people hear that so-and-so attacked what’s-his-name’s castle with a mallet, so-and-so has already killed what’s-his-name and eaten all the chicken tenders in the winter stores.

But it goes further. Intelligence gathering is primitive and unreliable. People misjudge, jump to (often wrong) conclusions, and make dangerous decisions without knowing crucial information. For example, who-is-he-again assumes all assassination attempts against him are from the same some-dude-he-hates because he heard somewhere-or-other that some-dude-he-hates doesn’t like him either.

It makes for a compelling read because one can’t help but share the character-of-the-moment’s bias. Then in the next chapter you get a whole different perspective and start to wonder what the truth really is. It’s a nice trick, giving the reader an omniscient observation based on clueless people.

The second thing the story has going for it is the immersive identity politics of the rich families. They all have memorable catch phrases, distinct recognizable qualities, and totemic animals designed to appeal to various consumer self-images.

Because there are multiple points of view, readers can choose which side of the power fantasy they want to explore and root for. Go Ice Weasels! Show those nasty Toe Jammers who’s the boss.

This appeals to the very basest urges of nationalism, drawing in our desire to see ourselves in the heroes of our projections. It has an irresistible attraction for anyone who is not acquainted with their own need for spectacle. How can you not try on each noble house, imagining yourself as mindlessly loyal, lusty without consequence, or stinking rich?

Most of the world longs to live like the 1% and have the power to decide one’s own fate.

Except the characters don’t really have any agency. Whenever any of them gets too powerful, the author sneaks in and resets the board. Nobody can win the game on their own merits, no matter who they are.

I have to admit; the books sucked me in at first. A puzzle wrapped in an emotional costume? You can rush from high to low in an instant at every move in the game, letting yourself live in the moment of people who despite being rich and powerful are just pawns of a greater power—the author.

See what a cage the book’s stance is?

2 out of 5 Stars of the Magi.

139_discoveryFor a long while I’ve been seeking an experience of The Diamond Island. That is, a mountain peak that exists within my inner world. Now I see that I’m already on the mountain. The things I was looking at were reflections of what was already there.

The black hole through space is a journey through the maelstrom of destruction, where what is true comes out the other side to a new existence. In the process many things are redeemed and made clear.

I’ve been fighting my ass off, struggling with opponents much stronger than I think I am. Both personal and collective engagements with the realities of my life, with different obstacle courses and challenges to pass through and overcome.

There are mysterious sources of power within myself I don’t fully understand. Yet somehow they come through for me, get me to the next pit stop and show me ways to push the limits of my being when I feel I haven’t any more to put into the work.

I’m listening to the personalities that help me run this psychic mechanism I use to get myself through the world. I have a lot of work to do there—people are unhappy with some of the stances I’ve taken and the way I go about things.

I don’t know where the UFO will land, other than home. Part of the stress I feel is in not knowing how things will end up, as the process is very much a push and pull in multiple directions at once. It will lead things to the right path, but it’s just one of those things you can’t predict until it happens.

Going over how to make things that are important to me now that I’m ready. Lucerna’s Mother-Mary-Personal-Helper training has given me something to focus on. Music helps me understand, but the practice is going to be a long one.

Out of the sea comes a nourishing goblet. Learning to drink from this source of refreshment, cultivate myself before I can encourage others.

I see that I do have an effect on the world around me. The places I find are brought out of myself. The things that move or are demolished are of a mind from me. Maybe they were messed up? Maybe things that reappear are okay now? The things I find will not be wrong.

The humming of bees, the helping of bees, the signs that bees are coming to the forefront of consciousness. This is important stuff.

The realization that the land inside me needs a brute conqueror king to bring the bounty out. My self image doesn’t like this figure, yet I manifest him anyway regardless of my hang-ups. To resist is only to become dishonest and incompetent.

A revelation of my personal destiny comes into view, right in front of me all this time. The signposts and helpers were there in abundance showing me the way: Imagination, family, and masculinity are the core of my being.

Movement and non-movement are also a part of this. I need to become more physical in my activity so that I can be at rest more wholly. A king needs a traveling the realm meditation to do his work properly. I must have been blind not to see this, yet again it happened with or without my knowledge. Better for me to see it now and make it a part of my conscious life.

I’m saying yes to many many things. I’m also learning to say fuck off to a lot of things I don’t need anymore.

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