the brook that runs through the wasteland

I have been going through a lot of attempted forgiveness exercises recently (since the awesome hand reading with Brent), because I believe this will free up my elemental water further, and it’s healing, and healing and love are two things I want to see for people. I’ve spent a good deal of my life developing water consciousness one way or another, and I do truly believe that this has the potential for the miraculous, the healing and the loving. I dug out some of my old “new age” books that are good on this stuff. I got some Bach Flower Remedies from a good supplier and started taking them (I think Bach remedies are great). I tried a bit of stuff and “snap!” my mind just shut tight. The narrative went like this:

“you’ve forgiven time and time again, you were always such a forgiving and forgetting youngster, over and over you forgave people and put the past behind you, and you got taken advantage of and abused over, and over again. You had to teach yourself to stop forgiving, through a hard won battle to get users and abusers and just horrible people to back off. What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

It’s a good question because yes, there are all those memories, and I didn’t make up those people. But I knew it wasn’t the whole story, and I still believed that forgiveness held a key. I definitely  needed something to stop all that stuff happening from those kind of people, and to not be hurt or used, but I also know I was foolish and flaky as a youngster, had a head full of rubbish, and trusted the wrong people for me. And actually, I wasn’t a wise and faithful friend to people who deserved better. I did, after all, seek out the shits, and I had to neglect good people in order to do it, though of course I didn’t recognize it at the time. I would have been too self involved and fucked up. So I had some learning to do in the past for sure, but was forgiveness the problem? I doubted it, but I was shut up like a clam.


I work quite a lot by instinct. It’s never going to look clever, or even half way well researched, or cool, but it works. If in doubt, feel your way through. The “body of knowledge”, at some point, actually is your body, if you can feel it with the right kind of presence.

I have an instinctive default when feeling spiritually threatened. I go quasi-Satanist and trust my Devils. Truthfully it’s quite sensible, as The Devil has probably looked kindly on people like me for a long time, while the esoteric worthies have cast their cold gaze upon us like tight lipped Church spinsters. Who you gonna trust? It wasn’t the Devil who gave us clothes with pink triangles sown on them, behind barbed wire fences. Good respectable people it was, turned their backs on us. As a teenager I read accounts of witches in passionate union with  the Devil, granted the wish fulfilling friend and master, and man, I was there (and Twilight can suck it).

But something interesting happened then. I got talking to another friend of mine who has an interest in Satanism, and we got talking about demons and demonology. Now here I am way out of my depth. I am familiar with the ideas expressed by the likes of Israel Regardie and Lon Milo Duquette, treating the evocation of goetic demons as a practical exercise in depth psychology (even if it can’t appear that way for it to actually work), the resolution of complexes, the integration of split off and repressed psychic material.

On the other hand some treat them as actual entities (or both at the same time), and I certainly consider my deities to be independent, real entities. Further, some demons appear to have originally been Pagan deities, and been accorded a distorted life-away-from-home as Christian demons, but that really begs the question who and what they are, and what that all means. The distinction between demon and god has not always been clear in the Pagan world, and sometimes the best exorcist for the job seemed to be a more powerful “demon” in a benevolent role. As for their supposedly malign influence, it is worth pointing out that the existence of malign and harmful elements in the other world is not a purely monotheistic invention, as the Pagan mapping of the spiritual ecology covers a lot of different areas, not all of which are conducive to human life. The dualistic moral judgement might be Christian, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t animals in the jungle who think of you as dinner.

Well I ordered a copy of the Goetia for the home library yesterday in any case. And I went to sleep last night, and had a disturbed sleep, of the kind which usually means there’s a batch of psychic processes going on. And then early this morning, lying next to my husband in that trancey half wakefulness, I started going through one forgiveness exercise after another, with people from my life. Like one after the other appeared before me, and each one was a fresh experiment, and then another, and another. And it was partly me forgiving, but it was also apologizing without shame, saying sorry, and saying I loved people where that was actually true. Actually the love was not that helpless, responsive, dropping everything kind of love; it was a conscious intention, like an action of the most subtle kind, but it was from love. I don’t know why it should seem surprising that awareness and intention would be as powerful as semi-consciously giving way, or why the latter would seem powerful at all for that matter, but it wasn’t even a question at the time, and I knew that a lot of work was taking place.

I could see as well, that you need to come down here to do it, to the wasteland, to find the spring, the unsullied brook. That’s why demons are important, because they guard our innocence when the world has taken it away.

Fallen angels in Hell by John Martin [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

7th December 2013: I almost forgot, the forgiveness exercises also involved forgiving myself.



    • Hi Brent 🙂 yes it would. If you’re looking at the Goetia it is 72 demons, and I read somewhere that they divide up between the elements.

      Personally speaking, I think my shadow element is fire, and that goes along with the common association of demons as fiery and shadowy, but I believe they relate to all the elements. If I think of the way the exercises went, it was an absence of *will*, awareness or self that was part of the problem with my water, that made forgiveness seem a liability.

      According to Anelog my shadow archetype should be Fire and Water, and in a way this reverie has involved both, as the stream running through the barren, dry land.

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