The temple space was erected in my craft room: an altar flanked by couches and sitting cusions, air thick with incense, and lit only by candles. I stand outside over a secondary altar, lighting a bundle of sage to fumigate each participant before entering. A line is forming behind Aradia, awaiting my attentions.
I know all these people: they trust and respect me. I began the night by returning to the Headless Rite. I should be at the top of my game. I am not. Neither the fumigation nor the anointing packs the punch that it should.
At last, everyone is in the circle. Aradia takes charge and we cast the circle hand to hand. She has been feeling less than herself, as well, and asks the group for healing and purification. As she takes her position in the center of the circle, all rise and reach out to offer what aid they can.
One by one, most of us take our turn in the center. This is not my strong suit. Somehow, despite a couple spectacular successes, I have never devoted any real time to energetic healing. Mostly, I try to keep the energy level in the circle high, so that our less experienced participants are not draining themselves needlessly.
At some point, I, too, take my turn in the center. I feel everyone reach out to me, feel them brush the edges of my energetic body. I try to let them in, to do the work that needs to be done. I can’t.
At last, all who feel the need for purification have taken their turn in the center and it is time to move on.
I put on a drum track and don my visionary mask and we all drift into trance. Well, they do. I go nowhere. I cannot even find the Void or my own Inner Temple. I drift, aimlessly, trapped in my own head. Finally the beat shifts, signaling the end of the track. I take off my mask and wait for everyone to return to themselves.
Now is the time for divination. My guests pair off quickly, trading tarot readings while I sit dazed. There is a song stuck in my head again. It’s been there off and on for days. This is something that almost never happens to me, but it has happened like this once before.
I have to wait a while, and end up ignoring too many of my guests as I remain lost in my own head, but I finally get a reading from Odyssia – one of maybe a handful of witches I have met in the KC metro whose skills are on a whole ‘nother level than Aradia and Chirotus and myself. The reading covered a lot of territory, but one thing stood out: in the wake of my experience over the last five years, I am without a worldview. I have system of reference by which to contextualize my experiences. I need a frame. I need a direction in which to explore.
Looking for something concrete to give me, rather than simply affirming my laundry list of questions, Odyssia pulled a new trick from her bag: a pack of note cards she is drafting for her own oracle deck. At last, a clear image emerges. A name. Melek Taus.
The Peacock fucking Angel.
That song, you see, has been stuck in my head before. My senior year of college, it was there for more than a solid month before I realized what it was: an offer; an invitation; a call. From the one Power I had never, ever considered. I grew up in the Satanic Panic, you see. I spent the first decade of my practice defending against accusations of Devil Worship. And now Lucifer is reaching out to me?
And yet …
The Yezidi Peacock Angel (who may or may not be Lucifer) features prominently in modern Gnosticism. I have been flirting with Gnostic thought for more than a year. It’s all over my art, and half my favorite writers and thinkers have been flirting with it for years. The alien God who made everything and walked away is hard for me to embrace, and the desire to root itself in Christian heresy is not aesthetically or ethically appealing to me. But the Archons and the Blind Idiot God who rule over the hologram of the Empire and everything that falls under its shadow … yeah. I can see that in the world.
Melek Taus, I learned that night, also features prominently in the Feri tradition, which I have looked into on more than one occasion. Just to make things interesting. Because I need another source of queer art and power. (Actually, yes, I really fucking do.)
So here we go. Down the rabbit hole I’ve been dodging since 2014. I wanted a direction. Now I have it.
I’m giving in to the Luciferian Gnostic urge. I will write my own gospel and live my own myth.
Let’s wage war against the world. Awaken the sleepers. Fistfight heavenly powers. Engage in cosmological terrorism. Set ourselves ablaze and be lights in the darkness.
I’m in it to win it. Who’s with me?