Well friends, things are getting weird, just as I had hoped. You can read about the premise of The Promethea Working right here.
Magic is active participation in synchronicity, as I like to say – and so far, this working is not disappointing me: the synchronicities, they are a-stirrin’.
First, the boring details of what I actually did this week:
This week I read the first 3 volumes of Alan Moore’s Promethea, plus Eliphas Levi’s Dogma and Ritual in High Magick.
I practiced the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram each day, recorded my dreams, and I worked on my physical health by not smoking and walking 4 miles a day.
I wrote poems identifying myself with Promethea.
I affirmed my identity with Promethea every day as I walked.
the Aeon & Me
Here’s where things started getting weird:
In Book 2 of Promethea, as the snakes of Promethea’s caduceus are giving a rhyming explanation of the evolution of human consciousness through history via the Major Arcana of the Tarot, the snakes arrive at the Twentieth Arcana, Judgement – which Aleister Crowley called the Aeon.
The snakes of the caduceus have this to say about the Aeon:
Apocalypse as ‘world’s end’ seen,
need only Revelation mean.
Our world of ideas, set alight,
by information, fierce and bright.
Man’s knowledge doubles, it appears,
Just less than every couple of years.
Man’s last two years more breakthroughs see
Than all your previous history
It’s said, by twenty-seventeen
This doubling’s each half-second seen,
Here information’s flashpoint looms.
Its blaze reveals, as it consumes.
Men judge themselves in this new light,
One worldview’s crashed, the next takes flight.
One Aeon’s burned by this knowledge-flash,
New Consciousness born from its ash.
What’s interesting about this:
1) Promethea hears rumors in Book 1 that it’s her job to bring about the Apocalypse / Revelation / Aeon. She’s worried about this, but her mentors tell her not to fret.
2) It is now, as I write this, “twenty-seventeen.” The Promethea series came out in 2000. Friends have been telling me to read it for years. I’m only reading it now. Now… when it is 2017.
3) A wise and wonderful magician, Lon Milo Duquette, generously read Tarot cards for me last year and told me that my life purpose had much to do with the Aeon.
I of course said, “You must say that to all the girls, Lon” – but he kindly insisted that he didn’t. Hmmmm.
So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.
Another bit of important weirdness:
In Book 3 of Promethea, Promethea-Sophie and her mentor, Promethea-Barbara, travel up the qabalistic Tree of Life via “the lightning path” of return – a path that visits each of the sephira, or spheres.
At Geburah, the sphere associated with Mars and righteous discernment, the Prometheas get a bit too enthused with the angry vibe end up in the qlippoth (shell) of Geburah…
… which is ruled by the demon Asmodeus.
The qlippoth are the “backside” or “nightside” of the Tree of Life.
There, Asmodeus attacks the Prometheas with cruel criticism, getting them angry both at each other and at him.
Promethea-Sophie turns the tides, though, when she realizes that getting angry at Asmodeus’ jabs only strengthens him more, because he feeds on the energy of anger and insult. So she talks to him respectfully, and he becomes polite.
Then, Promethea-Barbara’s Holy Guardian Angel shows up and really handles Asmodeus.
The powerful key that the Angel demonstrates in handling the Demon Asmodeus is this: she affectionately jokes and flirts with him.
The Angel explains:
“All of us, we can only see in others what we recognize in ourselves, okay? Now, I’m an angel. We look at life, and that’s all we see, man, angels.”
Around this point I had to drop the book from my hands and just send a ton of love to Alan Moore – because in this chapter he gave me a deep healing insight for my own relationship with my “inner critic” voice.
The insight is this: the voice in me that loves to dislike everything about me and my life – well, ironically, it just wants to be liked.
When I resent the critical voice inside me and get annoyed that I have to hear it, I just give it more energy and strength.
However, if I respond to that critical voice with tons of flirtatious good humor – then the critical voice doesn’t get to “take me over” and ruin my mood and attitude and motivation.
So I decided to look up Asmodeus’ seal in The Lesser Key of Solomon, draw it, put it on my altar and give kindness and offerings to it every day for this week, to show him affection.
Now, you might say – that’s a pretty bold step, Carolyn! Especially since you usually don’t fuck with Goetic demons!
It’s true. I don’t usually fuck with the Goetic demons.
And traditionally, I know that if one does fuck with them, one is supposed to use some kind of magical protection – like a Seal of Solomon to command the demon, or a Triangle of Art to contain it.
But I decided to put Asmodeus’ seal on my altar sans traditional protection.
Why? Because I’m honestly not trying to command him, I’m seriously just trying to give him lots of affection and good-humored flirting, ala the Tibetan practice of “feeding your demons” as described by Tsultrim Allione.
The results of this so far?
Interesting and promising – since beginning to befriend Asmodeus, I had lots of intense discussions this week with my husband, who’s natal sun happens to be in the same decan that Asmodeus rules – Decan 2 of Aquarius.
Some coincidence! Who would ever have guessed that the love of my life would also bear the stamp of my loudest demon?
Ah, the fractal of love.
These discussions were contentious, but they had the effect of showing me something very deep, something that’s closely associated with the current path that I’m on in my own journey up the Tree of Life: the path of Death, between Netzach and Tiphareth.
The ‘something’ that these discussions with Taia showed me is this: I am really attached to my body and gender.
Despite the fact that “You are not your body,” is just basic Mysticism 101 stuff, there is a distinct current in my being that persistently, avidly seeks to emotionally identify itself with my body and my gender.
With the help of Asmodeus’ energy, it struck me very clearly that my consciousness does not reside in a body – rather, my body resides in my consciousness – and therefore, what I more truly am – consciousness – cannot be limited or defined by the body.
Damn, though. This is a truth – I notice – that I have struggled to let go of because though identifying with a mortal human body is painful – it also gave me the pleasure of pride.
I always blithely said that vanity was my worst vice: but just this week it hit me like a ton of bricks how much vanity is actually … a vice.
Not something fun – but rather something just as damaging as lying or stealing.
Yeeooowwwwwch that shocks to see. I’d been doing a really good job of rationalizing my vanity to myself by insisting on identifying as a body, despite the fact that I logically cannot be a body because I include a body.
Why was I insisting on this?
Because there’s something, somehow, emotionally pleasurable about trying to shrink myself down to a tight, limited definition as a body or a gender.
So I can see this clearly right now, but I know that continuing to integrate this truth would involve breaking a powerfully ingrained habit of identification. I can understand now why some people shave their heads on a spiritual journey, or do rigorous ascetic practices – it seems to me that those things could have a jarring “pattern interrupt” effect on the ingrained habit of identifying with the body.
A note from my dreams this week
In one of my dreams, a housecat with the face of a woman jumped into my lap. After it landed there it gradually dawned on me that the creature in my lap was in fact a Sphinx. I took this to be of interest because I was reading Eliphas Levi that week, and Levi describes how “the four powers of the Sphinx” are synonymous with “the four powers of the Magus,” to dare, to know, to will, and to be silent.