black flame and open heart

About 23 years ago, at the new (dark) Moon in Libra, I did the last ritual of my old life. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was going to be so. I might have done some minor stuff in the weeks after, but yeah, that was the last thing. It was a ritual connecting with the Maat current of Thelema, which I had elaborated from material in a newsletter of The European Maat Network. I can’t now remember all the details of the ritual, but I did feel moved to select a sickle from a second hand shop to use in it. I also felt strongly that the Sun-Moon conjunction in Libra would be the right time, as black Moons had possessed special qualities for my explorations throughout my twenties, and Libra and the associated Hebrew letter of Lamed had a special significance for me (connected with the Qabalistic LAShTAL formula).

That night afterwards I woke in a panic. Then I got ill with flu. Then things went wrong at work, and every strain that had previously been building in my life for years came to a head, and I had a breakdown. I withdrew, got prescribed beta blockers by my GP, and headed deeper into the winter. Until January 10th 1990, when I went through the biggest spiritual rebirth of my life. Nothing has really been the same since, and it would be difficult to describe the kind of healing and opening I went through. Everything in my understanding had been upside down, back to front, mistaken, and that was gone. And that mistake was not so much just everything we are taught, as the limitations of how we can usually learn at all. It was really funny (as in belly laughs), immensely relieving, heart warming and liberating. The overwhelming experience was the Oneness of Being I guess. Hit you in the face, how could “I” miss this, “hey, there it is again!”, the same. Causality, time, magic, big laughs all round, beautiful witnessing.

Part of that (and there had been clues along the way for sure) was the centrality of the heart and love, the freedom and choice of identification, and the non-local nature of consciousness and being.

All the rituals, and all the exercises, and all the methods in the world could not lead to this, because that just poses the same clunky, materialist, push-it-till-it-gets-there misperception of causality. Because that’s not what happens, when stuff happens. The benign enormity of existence (and non-existence) is not caused or determined by that kind of theatre and drama. We are part of a language that seeks to articulate itself, already does, through our non-separate being. Thus people reach for a sacred which is actually reaching for them, through them. Thus surrender floods us with consummation.

Yet I must acknowledge (try to describe if I could) that our dream has truly magickal places, where from within the dream, the dream leads us to wake up from itself, or to become awake within it is maybe more how it seems at times. Because nothing ends or begins really. The poetry of bliss and realization dissolves all narrative, yet holds all its possibilities unharmed, like salt in its sea.

Everything is how it always already was. Beautiful.


Now I look back with a gentle appreciation towards the person I was in my twenties, that seemed to invite the ending of my old life in that ritual of over 20 years ago. He was deeply unhappy, sometimes unstable, lonely, increasingly out of control, foolish, impressionable, trusting, dumb and naive. He was also creative and sincere, and surprisingly determined, and by some accounts he could be a lot of fun. People are conventionally thought of as starting work on the “project” of their adulthood in their 20s, and what I was doing was magick, art and spiritual search seen through a freakily aquarian lens, too freaky to have anything to show for it other than what looks completely different now. The narrative was led to its own dissolution, which was more than I could have imagined, yet somehow hinted at all along, suffusing the most innocent impressions of a younger self. But the strange salt is part of who I am, and for all of us, each one, the sea could not taste the same without that.

The abiding lessons remain light, and amazingly easy, when I can remember them!

altered image – originally by Matthew Bowden ( [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons


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  1. Pingback: roses for south paws | Summer Thunder

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