Early Spirit Contact: “Daemon Wolf”

The first spirit contact I can recall was with a “totem” spirit I came to call Daemon Wolf.

As many of you may recall, animal totems (or, spirits, phenomena, and identifications we called animal totems) were a HUGE THING in the mid-to-late 1990s.  Ted Andrews was fucking everywhere.  People looked to their totems not just as spiritual guides and masters, but to explain and shape their very personalities.  For example, many “Cat totem” people I knew meowed and tried to purr and gleefully used their identification to invade (or avoid)ur personal space; people with “wolf totems” cast themselves in roles of leader or tragic outcast; “bear totem” people set themselves up as the “cuddly bouncer”.  But I digress.

In this atmostphere, as I began to transition from my earliest period of studying magic, the occult, and the paranormal, to actually practicing magic at aboout the age of sixteen, one of my first rituals was aimed at finding my totem animal and/or spirit guide.  (Other people may have been clear on the distinction between those things in 1997/8, I was not.)   I wish that I could reproduce or cite that first ritual for you here, but alas… Although I had access to a small collection of friends books at that time (I think my library still consisted entirely of the Simonomicon and maybe a Cunningham encyclopedia), I preffered the rituals I learned from people on IRC chat and in FTP archives.  Six computers later, unfortunately, those files are long gone.

The ritual as I recall it was simple.  I set myself up in a comfortable chair, with a candle and glass candle holder.  I put on some nice, quiet Celtic harp music.  I cast an elemental circle.  I carved my personal sigil, a bindrune I had designed, into the side of the candle, and imbued it with my desire to know my totem animal/spirit guide.  I dropped the candle in the holder, lit it, and tried to slip into the trance.  The candle holder, which I have to this day, was round and convex, with red dragon’s tears affixed to an inner layer by some sort of grey-green ceramic.  As I tried to enter and maintain the trance, I turned the candle holder around and around in my hands, gazing into the back-lit dragon tears and waiting for an image to appear in my mind.

This ritual would be my first firegazing, and possibly my most successful to date.  I saw the image of a snarling, black-furred wolf with flaming red eyes.  Even at that young and tender age, I could tell that this was not the spirit of all wolves.  There was a darkness about it, a savagery outside of the natural wild.  I called it Daemon Wolf.  (Yes, the penchant for high drama goes way back.)

I remained in contact with that spirit off and on for years, but I could not “hear” it.  I could tell that it was attempting to communicate, but, I couldn’t grok whatever signals the spirit was trying to send.  It began appearing to my friends in IRC chatrooms (some of whose animal spirits came to investigate me in return) and my more magically experienced local friends to relay messages and relieve its boredom.  The spirit in question also had a penchant for melodrama.

On a particularly notable evening, 31 October 1998 – one of my earliest surviving joural entries, in addition to one of my earliest clear spirit contacts – I was hanging out in the coffee shop with my friend Medea and one or two other friends.  I don’t remember what we were talking about, but as the conversation progressed the sese of someone sitting close to my right side grew stronger and stronger.  But I couldn’t see anything … not clearly, at any rate: just a vague silhoette crouched on the floor.

After a while, it was too much for me, and I interrupted my own train of thought to demand if  anyone else could see the thing sitting beside me.

“Wolfie,” Medea idetified the spirit for me, laughing and using the nickname she’d given Daemon Wolf in previous conversation.

Things changed trajectory after that.  My spirit-senses did improve, slowly.  It did become easier for Daemon Wolf to contact me.  It was clear, however, that there was a lot it wanted to convey to me that I just wasn’t picking up on.

As my practice escalated over the next few years, more spirits began appearing in my life.  I couldn’t hear them any better than I could hear Wolfie, but it … appeared to resent them.  It very clearly resented that I was not pursuing my relationship with it as dilligently as it desired.  Frankly: focus is not my strong point in the medium term.  Short term – jewelry repair, a single ritual, a lover – I am a laser ; long term – college, my novels – I am relentless; medium term … that’s where the distractions live.  And I had a lot of distractions, as I was rotating through whole circcles of freinds about every 12-18 months those first few years out of high school.  Contacts with Daemon Wolf grew increasingly sporadic.  When I did make contact – or, more accurately, when it made contact – it was increasingly cross with me.

Eventually, the spirit I called Daemon Wolf lost patience with me.   I wish I had the xact date, or could find the record  — I know I wrote about the event, somewhere, but … I’ve mentioned before that my journalling is not the best.  Some time before I departed Lawrence, KS, for what would become my failed life in St.Louis, it made final contacct and told me that it was giving up and moving on.

 

This is one of the few places where I wish I had done things differently back in the day.  I don’t think most people have spirits take that sort of proprietary interest that early.  It’s not unheard of, of course, but it’s an opportunity not everyone gets … and I blew it.  I also wish I’d kept better journals, so I would have more wheat from which to sift chaff.  Still, my relationship with Daemon Wolf taught me one essential lesson: relaitionships between mortals and spirits are opt-in, for both parties.  Either party can leave when their needs are not being met, or their goals are not being achieved.

 

Genius Locii: Overseer of the Standing Stones

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When our friend Sthenno learned that Aradia and I were going on a road trip to the Badlands, she asked us to bring her back some dirt to dad to her collection of Earth and Waters from various parts of the world.  She gave us a baggie to collect the dirt in, and a vial of water and a tea-light to serve as an offering for the exchange.

Although we were happy to oblige, there was the small concern of where and how to do such a thing.  After all, the removal of any rocks or plants from a national park is technically a crime (though we carried off enough mud on or shoes and gear to equal easily five times the volume that we collected for Sthenno).  Further (and, frankly, more importantly), this was not a region where white people have historically covered themselves in glory with regards to the First Nations peoples or the spirits of the land.  Although Aradia got a slightly different vibe off of everything, the overwhelming majority of the spirits that I could percieve in the Badlands were fundamentally disinterested in my existence one way or the other.

The one notable exception to that was a spirit near our camp site.  There was a hill to the West of us that called to me.  And not just me: a camp of hippies near us took it upon themselves to climb the small mountain in the dark.  Aradia and I watched their lights and listened to their yells; I very much wanted to follow them—as I put it then, “carrying our jug of wine and screaming like a maenad”—but Aradia disuaded me.

The spirit knew that we needed dirt, and it called to me.  The second day we did climb the hill, and found concentric circles of carefully stacked stones with a set of three piles that were clearly an altar of sorts, and two extra pairs set like gateways at the heads of two paths leading further away from the site.  The spirit—who we believe called others there to erect the “standing stones”—accepted Sthenno’s offer of water and fire in exchange for the dirt (though the wind made the latter … complicated), but wanted blood from Aradia and I without making itself particularly clear about what it was offering in return.  We politely declined, and—perhaps as a result–the spirit also made clear that we were not to take any pictures of the top of it’s hill, so the above picture from the road is the only image I can offer you; one can just barely see the stones rising up at the top of the hill.

Upon our return, the dirt maintained a clear and potent charge, and Sthenno was startled but intrigued to hear the story.  For myself, I look forward to hearing what comes of her workings with the dirt and the associated spirit.

The site, itself, remains clear in my mind, and it is my intention to return astrally to see what I can learn from that perspective.

Spirits of Spirits: Conjuring Cannabis

Last week, Aradia and I conjured the spirit of Cannabis Sativa.  No that is not a euphemism for smoking weed.  Y’all should know by now that I only use euphemisms when they’re more entertaining and obscene than what I’m actually trying to say.  We literally conjured the spirit who rules over marijuana.

The idea came to me somewhat at random: a way of similtaneously linking my study of ceremonial magic with my study of Chaos Magick and with the process of getting back to the witchcraft that has kept me sane.  Building on my experiments with Triangles of the Art, I scribed a triangle just for the task:

cannabis triangle

Such an endeavor could not, of course, be complete without an invocation.  A little bit of creativity, a couple rough drafts, and finally a bit of trial and error produced this:

We call upon you, oh spirit: You who preside over the sacred plant cannabis sativa.  Oh spirit – Mercurial, Jovian, Saturnal, and Venusian by turns – We call uponyou to appear before us.

We call upon you by your various names: marijuana, ganja, grass, mota, reefer, endo.  You are the diggity dank!  You are the beloved mary jane!

We call upon you, oh spirit: we offer you fumigation of frankinsence and libation of blood-red wine.  I evoke you, oh spirit, to appear before us in our circle that we may converse in friendship and that you may instruct us in your nature.

Aradia and I performed the conjurations jointly, first Wednesday night and then Friday.  Aradia performed the incantation for the first conjuration because I was having difficulty articulating what, precisely, I had planned for the rite, itself.  (The problem with listening to your Genius instead of writing out the plan.)  The cats went ballistic as we cast the circle.  Smoke from the fumigation curled thickly in front of the mirror.  I could feel the spirit appear and caught glimpses of it moving around the room, but otherwise I experienced none of the sensations that I expected from my planetary evocations.  The more magical of my two cats flopped down behind us.   I retrospect, I think that my sense of time must have been distorted: I can usually sit and wait for quite a while for a spirit to answer, but that night it only took a few minutes (possibly only a few moments) before I started getting impatient.  I felt that the ritual had been a failure, and dismissed the spirit (prematurely, as it turns out).

Aradia started acting very strangely almost immediately: grinning strangely, playing with the cat. Somehow I failed to imagine that her strange behavior might have been the effect of the spirit.  I’ll leave her to tell her half of the story in her won time, but she gleaned a great deal of useful information, most notably that the spirit is not particularly impressed by frankincense.

We speculated that the mixed results may have been in part because the original invocation, which Aradia read, employed first person singular verbs.  For the second round, we changed the number to plural and substituted patchouli for frankincense, thinking that the spirit might like it better.  Also based on Aradia’s reports, we shared the libation we offered.

One or all of those changes worked wonders.  Conjuring her—which we did stone sober—had a physical effect much like smoking some high-quality creeper.  I never saw the spirit, or heard her the way Aradia had the previous evening, but her presence was powerfully felt.  We shared the libations again, thanked and dismissed her, and went to bed.

By my reckoning, the experiment is a mixed success.  I never really saw her, and never received a seal or sigil with which to summon her again.  On the other hand, I strongly suspect that such formalities are a little bit funny to her.  Aradia described her as a trickster spirit.  She certainly has a sense of humor, and a strong interest in being in the presence of humans.  We amuse her immensely, and I think there’s a relationship to be developed here.