Less than a day to go before the Sun goes into Scorpio, and what’s been going down has all been about cleansing, shedding shadow, diving effortlessly (at least when it comes to it) into that place of deeper animal psyche.

A week or so ago I was having some trouble sleeping, and in the middle of the night I thought of death, the process, the going, the journey, and I was gripped with fear and panic, not because it was death, but because I feared it would be like birth. That bottle neck of claustrophobic horrors. Then I remembered, the answer I found before in my life, the experience of the Oneness of Being, spacious, transcending separation and separative embodiment. And I slept. And it stayed with me. You could call it “the spirit” if you want, or a kind of ultimate, unconditional relief, but facing shadow and fear and dread, and understanding that there was an answer, always available. The experience of that. I remember as well that at the time it felt like it was connected with processing my getting my tattoo of the sabbat god.

Just a couple of days ago I had another dream in which I was in an occult bookshop, and was searching in the shop the way I used to do when I was younger, looking for mysterious and “forbidden” treasures with the kind of hunger and delight that I hadn’t felt in that particular way for a long time. It was like when I used to go looking for stuff by Crowley and Spare, or Rosaleen Norton, and at the end I’d found some second hand, really beaten up copies of William Burroughs novels, and I think it was “The Western Lands” that I was looking at. Then I woke up, and it had been such a clear and involved dream.

Later that day we watched a program we’d recorded about people who believe they are animals, as in non-human animals but in human form. These people are called “therians“, and it’s not new to me as I knew one or two online about 9 years ago. I found it a lovely program, and I thought the youngsters in it were great. They were unusual, unique, sincere, intelligent and just exceptionally nice and reasonable. I’m sure they endured a lot of ridicule and misunderstanding for who and what they were, but I just had to say wow, good for you.

Something about it I also found quite profoundly moving, beautiful and endearing. It did also take me back to the therian friendship I had, one which was quite intense at the time and ended up stormy and with a hard parting, something which is still with me, though I don’t think I could do anything about it. Difficult as it was, he had a big impact on me. We had talked at length about things, and I think he recognized therian characteristics in me. Back when I was starting to draw more creatively at the beginning of a burst of activity in my early 20s, one of the first things I did was a drawing which came out of a dream experience, when I half woke to feel an animal noise emerging out of me. I got up and made a sketch, which turned into that drawing, showing a sleeping man’s face, shading into dark space, mounting up the top of the page into the silhouette of a wolf’s head and neck. I called it “a man turning into a wolf through his dreams”. Canine, dog symbolism and images recurred in a lot of my explorations over some years, and the dog figure weaved through it. When I got the online handle that I ended up being most known as, it was “dawg”, which I borrowed from David “Dawg” Grisman, one of my favourite musicians, but it was the thing that clicked. My husband maintains that I am and always have been extraordinarily dog like in my ways and behaviour. I was edging towards a possible self understanding as a canine/wolfish therian at the time that my therian friendship blew up, after which I just put it behind me.

Seeing that program, and being so unaccountably moved by it, I found myself revisiting what I’d left behind. Interpret it how you like with your mind, call it what you will, it was like there was and always had been a wolf or a dog deep inside me, and it was more real than the surface chatter and negotiations that I had learnt over the years. I have known for a long time that I am a primarily non-verbal person. Feeling and sensing comes first (and I was a painter and drawer before I was a writer). When I was young and in social situations I would often be very timid, and even when I felt comfortable and safe, I would quite happily sit there saying nothing, mainly laughing or smiling. I had to learn to find a voice, and enter the world of intellect and airiness, and that has always been a bit of a magician’s nephew kinda world, a world of strange powers that take on a life of their own. You can’t avoid creating such a persona in our human social world, but it is like a simulacrum that moves in a fabricated universe and can be lost to that fabrication. I read slowly because I need to connect to the feeling of language, not just its surface meaning, and when I talk or write, I have to feel first, sense meaning, and then translate. I’ve got to be quite good at it, but I’m talking in a foreign language. Socially, I find the judgements, scorings and manipulations of people incomprehensible (and initially shocking). I have learnt to recognize and navigate these things, but at some expense. I can never quite accept it though.

What I recognize is that in the doggy/wolf part of me, that is where I am spontaneous, inherently peaceful, not troubled by anger and worry or judgement, because the mental superstructure for those things is not there. And that airy world of mental superstructure is a burden which I have been forced to learn to use, but to forget who I am is to invite trouble and turmoil inside.

What people call the conscious mind, and what people call human, I’m really not sure how much of either there is in those things, and how much depth.

After seeing that program I felt like I had recovered from an amnesia created by language. I understood better where my actual centre was, and my natural self and nature. And those things that trouble me, well how could they not? Just a game I was not equipped to play, or understand. And truthfully, I’m glad.

red wolf, canis rufus by Hillebrand Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



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