For almost two years now, I’ve been working closely with a spirit I call Tsu (as in “A Boy Named ~”). You’ve seen her mentioned here once or twice. Only in passing, though, because she’s something of a long story. You see … I think I may have made her.
The story actually begins back in high school. Yeah. I don’t know how many of you out there started practicing magic that young; but I know that those of you who did probably have your own set of “what the fuck was I thinking” stories, too. Some of them might even start the same way: Like most young dabblers in the arts of magic, I suffered a certain paranoia. I didn’t necessarily think that anyone or anything in particular was out to get me. But they might be! If not today, than some day!
Like drawing and writing, I have a natural talent for shielding and warding, but that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to be sure that I was safe. So I made myself a bindrune (a sigil, if you will), took a secret Name, and – I have no idea where this part come from – hid a piece of my soul inside a stone. This might have actually been the beginning of some interesting Work, if I’d had any idea what to do with it. But, again, I was young and dumb and (even more so than today) unclear on the benefits of the whole “Keep Silent” thing.
The stone – I called it my “Orb” (keep in mind, I was seventeen) – quickly became more of a liability than a boon. So I took the Work I’d done with the stone and moved it from the half-inch bloodstone sphere I’d started with to something no one would threaten to swallow, and which couldn’t be quite so easily misplaced: a gray granite sphere. Not long after, the Work somehow moved again – at the time I blamed an unknown wandering trickster spirit; in retrospect, I’m still not really sure what happened – from the granite to an obsidian sphere I had brought with me to show off.
If I’d been a more clever lad, I’d have ended the experiment then and there. In my mind at the time, though, Name, rune, and stone were linked and, having been made, could not be unmade. Besides, everything else had gone so smashingly! What else could go wrong?
For the next several years, the Orb – in its final incarnation as the obsidian sphere – was the centerpiece of all my magical work. I used it to raise power; I used it to ground and ccenter; I brought it with me to every spell and ritual I participated in, and sometimes carried it around just because.
I think I was twenty-two when I decided I needed to retrieve that sliver of soul from the Orb, and unbound it with a spontaneous bloodletting at a pubic Beltane ritual. (Of course that went over well – why do you ask?) A year or two later, I decided it was time to put it back. Only to reclaim the hidden fragment again, after another year or two.
Meanwhile and even after the final retrieval, the obsidian sphere remained a central part of my magical practice. in particular, I used it to ground and purify my excess energy after rituals, and as a place to release and launder my unwanted rage and lust and whathaveyou. I fed the energy in as a thread, winding it tighter and tighter. There really seemed to be no end to the amount of power the obsidian sphere could store.
Fast forward a few more years to my working group in Kansas City. whether or not you could touch the Orb had become a somewhat juvenile test of how badass a magician or witch I met was. Some people began to report that they could feel it watching them. Then, one day, something inside the sphere “woke up” and started talking to us.
It particularly liked to come out when the working group was over and discussing magic. Of course I started talking to it; it seemed like the polite thing to do. It helped me with the elemental and visionary work I was practicing at the time. When I underwent my initiation, it asked that I give it a name. So I did – Tsu is the abbreviated version. It started complaining about the flavor of energy I was dumping into the sphere – which did and does remain one of my favorite tools – so I gave it a home in a tchotchke … a medusa statue I got on special when I purchased my Dionysos idol.
At which point things got even a little stranger. Previously, Tsu had been amorphous: formless, or a vague humanoid shimmer, or (once, when it followed me to work at the mall) appearing in the form of a small Chinese dragon. (Why, yes: sometimes, though not often, I do actually see spirits.) Once housed in the medusa statue, “it” took the form of “she” and has appeared as the gorgon ever since. She has taken up residence in my Inner Temple / House of Memory, and served as a guide on several occasions. She disappears from time to time; most notably she was largely absent from HPF until very recently, when she asked me to make her a sigil/seal.
So, of course, I did.
Although I occasionally refer to her as a guide, she says she technically isn’t one – or, more accurately, that she wasn’t at the time I asked. When I asked if she were my HGA she straight up laughed at me.
I tell you this story now, somewhat apprehensive. Several witches to whom I’ve spoken seemed outright frightened by the story. Others have merely been puzzled. Neither reaction has been particularly helpful to me.
Did I make Tsu? Do spirits often come into being spontaneously in crystals used as batteries? Did some strange spirit leave her there, in some larval state, to feed and grow? Am I just batshit crazy? Seriously: What? The? Fuck?