I had the honor of being a guest on Taylor Ellwood’s excellent Magical Experiments podcast, talking about Defense Against the Dark Arts and bringing pop culture aspects to one’s protective spells.
A recent topic of conversation in the Pop Culture Magick FB group, as well as my own POp culture working at a concert this weekend have led my mind to wandering. Let’s see what thread I can unravel today.
Music has a huge impact on me. I love almost all types and genres, with few exceptions. Like all music lovers, I have my preferences and affinities. Hard Rock and Metal bands are my music of choice, particularly for Woo purposes.
Some bands have distinct elemental energies to their sound. I’ve personally designated the two I saw last night into Water and Fire: Breaking Benjamin and Disturbed.
Before the show, I was deeply engrossed in some personal work. Long story short, I’ve been gathering old habits and traits to be purged of, and I was going to use the Fire Energy of Disturbed to set a light to these fears and anxieties and shadows and burn them away for good. I had some negative associations with my favorite band, persons who I wanted to forget who essentially got me hooked on the band. I’ve had some strange dreams, as well as an almost-shared dream of being stalked by assassins with my husband, Sir Jay. In the past, as well as the present, I have utilized Disturbed’s music for magic work – Curses to my enemies, personal empowerment, expressions of grief and outrage and emotional release and every time I hear a particular song, it acts as an auditory sigil to keep a spell going until I say stop. Slowly, I have begun to reclaim a band away from strong negative memories and feelings, and the fact that I was able to go to a show that my enemy most decidedly would never be seen at, gave me the opportunity to forge new, clean memeories of the music and cleanse myself of the past. It also helped that I was there with my husband and brother-in-law and their presence is both protective and comforting.
So i had a goal in mind, but no exact plan. While we tailgaited in the parking lot, I was blissfully stoned and immersed in music as I sat in the car against the opressive heat. I tapped into the local spirits, looked for some Pokémon, and started ruminating on the Teams and their elements. Fire, Water, and Lightning. I’m Team Instinct, mainly b/c I love an underdog, and I’ve always had an affinity for lightning in games. In thinking of their qualities as elements, I charged some Quartz crystal objects I had thought to bring along (but forgot my sketchbook goddamnit) and channeled the various energies in ways that mean more to me than I care to write out. It was some major energy work on myself, healing wounds i hadn’t realized were there from 15 years ago, as well as evaporating the last memories of things I’m glad to be rid of. I stored the crystals in my pocket for use later during the concert.
When we finally went into the venue, there were severe thunderstorms heading right for us! Lightning, Water, and Fire, i thought, and clutched my Mjolnir tightly, asking Thor to keep the lighting North of us but the rain would be welcome. The storms ended up breaking apart directly over us and we got a little sprinkle and a steady breeze for the rest of the concert. The opening bands were good, but not what I came to see.
Breaking Benjamin held their water associations for me with blue lights and cool washes of emotion. I held my crystals as I danced and felt their waves communicating to me.At one point, I felt I was being offered a choice in how to channel the Power I had programmed into the crystals. More like a bargain from a certain deity whose name I carry, but his terms were too steep a price I was willing to pay. Call me Arwen or Littler Mermaid, Old Man, but I choose to live this life on my terms. I honor and love you, but I will not be a servant to rules I find unfair. I will make the most of my mortal existence this time and see those I love flourish alongside me. I would rather a simple and happy life over drama and angst and desires, thank you all the same.
I made a choice and while I could tell He was unhappy by it, he nodded, said I had been taking lessons in negotiating with Uncle Loki again. He didn’t sound displeased with it though. Like I was learning and that was an acceptable answer. He faded Behind the Scenes and another God came to me. The Forest Lord who gave me my heart’s desire and who has always called to me in my deepest soul. I made a request to him, my terms of service and what I wanted from Him if we were to partner and I worked for His Team. With Him I find that I do more talking than he does, but he also listens and gives back good advice and counsel. I told him what I expected and what I was willing to do to get it, if he was agreeable. The final music set would be his answers – a musical divination.
And then came Disturbed. Fire. Vengeance, Blood, a sweeping hand over the earth to purge all those who had contributed to the downfall of humanity. He is Lord of Death and Rebirth and growth and the hunt. An impartial angel who culls the forests and plants and life itself in order to make way for new growth. Nature is always starting over again. The world split and I felt myself pulled towards a new tunnel of …. time? another Universe? Some kind of split and I asked for the best possible outcome for the world; for the better future that I can live to see and send my children out to keep things going forward. The world solidified around me; i felt anchored and locked into my body in time, space, and place, but still attached to the rest of the cosmos. I tried not to think too deeply of the sacrifice I had made. Myself to Myself. That Tallah will make her own choices. I am here and now and things are already better in my heart. The Little Mermaid did not die when her Prince married another, for he did love her (Little Sister) and that love kept her human and alive. And so she went off into the world to discover all that she had dreamed of. It still hurt like knives to use her feet, but she could dance and play music and sing with her hands and body. The sea witch had her voice but could not take her music. I have my prince as well; not the fairytale Adonis in shining armor, but the knight in battered armor and grubby work boots, who has worked his body to a state he needs to go easy and settle down. A knight who has been searching for his Princess-Queen to serve and adore and protect and provide for. A good man, all too rare in this day and age, who respects and loves and will protect me at all costs, who appreciates my affection and knows what it is to cherish those he loves. A knight who knows his Princess is also a Witch and will do strange things and seem to leave her body, but so long as he knows there is nothing to fear in her behavior, he will guard her body until she returns from trance. He was a gift to me from My Beloved, a vessel of His for this life. And so as I now have the greatest gifts my Lord of the Forest could give me (that I asked for), I will aid Him in the recovery and rebirth of the world I want to see happen. And all it took was releasing the alternate timeline of failure and decay and running towards the other option. I will play my part as a Witch. I will use my Power and Knowledge and Influence and Connections to work towards the betterment of this world and all its people. because I’m one of those fools who live on this planet and I want it to be as good as we are capable of, and then some.My eyes have been Opened (live debut of that song) and they will stay awake and open from that moment onward. I am fully in this world, for that is where I said i wanted to be. He provides and now I have my part of the deal in play. We must all endure the chaos of renewal. I fed my Shadow to the Sickness and He ate of those things I wished to purge and He liked them. I have reclaimed my own darkness and rid myself of an unnatural infection. My darkness is a part of the Natural Order of things and very different from the darkness I had pushed into me against my will. Only the natural order of things will remain.
An equal cross, pentacle, Star of David, crescent moon, and circle all make up their symbol. The meanings are not lost on me, if anything they are clearer than I can comprehend or translate.
In the car, waiting for people to make their way out, I was bathed in the energy of the concert and my ears still rang. I felt my heart give a sudden flutter and for a moment I was terrified. It felt like it was suddenly given a jumpstart and I was breathing deeper than I had in years. Felt my brain and body wake up fully as my sense came back on-line. I have a clear idea on what I’m supposed to do in this Lifetime to ensure the kind of future for my children that my parents half-wished for me, but ultimately failed to bring about. I will not let my children down like that.
A small but significant political victory helped confirm my choices and cement my path direction. As Brother David said last night “All lives matter, every life matters, and if we all started treating each other with more love and kindness maybe we wouldn’t have gotten into this shit in the first place!” And so his words echo into my head and heart and I will do all I can to spread Love and Kindness and to destroy those who would snuff out those most noble of virtues. I am a Witch, I am Libra, I am a Balancer of the Scales and they need some shifting. I hope what I did helped to spread Brother David’s magical voice and message to the world. M heart doesn’t feel heavy anymore. My chest tells me to sit up and breathe more. How long was I not breathing?
Whooole lotta stuff just suddenly grokked into place …..
Brain kinda exploded
The jenga pieces fell into place
I am not who I pretend to be. I am not the mask that I wear, have been wearing for so many years that it has become fused to my skin and even I cannot recall who I used to be before I donned so many layers of armor to hide my light from the world.
I had many enemies growing up. So many people picked on me for reasons I still don’t know, but that can be summarized with the reason James Potter gave to Lily Evans when she asked him why he tormented Severus Snape : “It’s more the fact that (s)he exists, really.”
BecauseI dared to exist, I was a target. I was the weird kid who talked to storm drains, hoping the Ninja Turtles would respond. I was the oddball who believed fairies were real and would clap my hands wildly if someone said they did not. I was branded a freak by the popular girls becasue I didn’t care about gossip and boys and clothes and skiing in the Hamptons at Christmas. I was bullied every day from first grade to sixth by a sadistic little fucker who made me his personal emotional punching bag, but I was the one branded a troublemaker for finsihing the fights he started. He was protected because his mother was a teacher at the school. I was kept to the fringes of table goups because my second grade teacher dispised me and my first grade teacher was totally baffled at who this woman could be reffering to, because little Tallah was a joy in her class the previous year. Never mind that this teacher put me and a left-handed girl next to each other, but reufused to switch us when our elbows kept colliding during writing assignments. The girl would shout that I was invading her space, and for what ever reason, my teacher branded me a troublemaker.
Because in high school, where I was surrounded by weird kids, the square and triangle and octagon pegs that never fit the round holes, even there I was singled out by a girl who would have ruled any public school as the Mean Bitch Queen. But she was at a performing arts school when she had no talent b/c her mother was an administrative assistant. The girl who spat on me and threw food at me and when I told her mother, the woman laughed. The girl who came into our classroom on a free day, tried to steal our radio, slapped me when I told her No, and then we got into a cat fight. I nearly killed her with a 2×4, at least in my head. I could have grabbed it and swung and killed her by smashing in that false little face. In my minds eye I saw it happen so clearly. Instead I called her a cunt and shoved her out the door, overturning a desk in my fading adrenaline rage. I scared my friends that day. I scared myself. And we were called into the guidance councelors office the next day. My friends told the truth of what happened, while her’s tried to paint me as the instigator. I had more witnesses to my side, thank the gods. When asked why she had such a hard time with me, the girl said “Just look at her! She’s a freak!” The guidance councelor and i both looked at her like she was insane. I was free to go back to class, while she got two days of in-school suspension.
Because in this same school I managed to piss off my ‘friends’ so much with my emotional outbursts (they would rather I was a robot) that they turned on me and tried to blackmail me into leaving the school. They printing out my artwork from DeviantArt and defaced it and posted it around the school. They plotted to throw milk-filled water balloons at me on the last day of school, but had their supply confiscated. They nearly drove me to suicide to escape the torment. And to this day I have no idea why i deserved such treatment from people who had been my friends for 3 years previous . One of them was my best friend and he had called me the Scully to his Mulder.
Because in college I dared to mention my ideas on personal guaridan spirits to people I thought of as my occult colleagues. I dared to voice a believe that my childhood cartoon heroes were actually real on another plane of existence and essentially spirits in their own right. I was threatened with curses for my stupidity. I was called out on LiveJournal and ridiculed and trash talked and put down and accused of having cursed another person because I had mentioned I had a cold and apparently that was his sign that someone had cursed him. At the time I knew nothing of curses and did not dabble in the study of them, and I was considered such a deluded imbicile, yet also such a legitimate threat, that supposedly this coven was going to destroy me for daring to believe what I did.
Because someone I trusted and fell in love with turned out to by a psychopathic Satanist whom I firmly believe to have been possessed by some demonic force, and he tried to claim my soul. And when I wouldn’t give it up after two years of abuse, he found new prey and tried to destroy me. I escaped and went into hiding. He still haunts my dreams.
Because just when I had begun to recover and get my life together, living somewhat more open as a Witch, having found a true Life Partner and better full time job, our housing situation blew up and we were forced to live in extreme confinement. I had to minimize everything, hide everything, become so ‘normal’ that I completely forgot what it felt like to practice freely. Everywhere was judgment and disapproval, surrounded on all sides by an older generation that mistrusted young people in general, and would never understand a spiritual practice outside of church and silent prayer.
And now I have my own home. Now i have my own yard filled with plants for cover. Now I have neighbors who seem to mind their own business and keep to themselves. Now I live in a town where no one knows who I am. Or what I am.
And I have never been more terrified to let my light shine. The neighborhood has given me absolutely no reason to think that past events could repeat themselves. Hell, I live across the street from some Jehova’s Witnesses and even when we first met and I had all my bangles and jewelry around my neck, they looked me in the eyes and later brought over a cinnamon bread.
I have kept myself hidden for so many years. Every time I let my light out, even a little bit, people notice. Usually the wrong kinds of people.
But I know that keeping myself dimmed is doing nothing positive for me. Where once being able to blend in with the Muggle was a survival tactic, somewhere along the way it became the norm and part of me grew comfortable and felt safe. I stretched my neck out only when and where it felt safe; around certain people who had proven themselves to be true friends, or in groups where several other people had already stated their interests that very closely resonated with my own. Even now, I play my cards very close and cherry pick what information is shared. I have so much to say that I would give my left arm to be able to share freely, but better judgement holds me back. And anxiety. And fear of the past repeating itself again.
I’m not sure where to redraw the line. I know that in order to maximize my magick, I need to fully let go of my past and step into the light that is my birthright. I have spent so long hiding in the dark that even turning up the brightness just a tiny bit feels like I’m pushing it too far. I have more to gain than ever before, and technically less to lose as far as saving face goes. No one up here knows me, nor do I see myself being anything more than cordial and friendly towards my immediate neighborhood. I have my core group of weirdos to rally around me if I feel foolish, knowing they have been making their own neighbors shake their heads and tsk, and they don’t give a flying fuck about it. I have a supportive partner, who won’t bat an eye over me.going out to the garden with a jug of Moon Tea after sundown to recharge the protection wards on the property. He usually comes with me to check for skunks. I have more knowledge, more techniques, more surreptitious methods of delivery and activations that look like normal things, or at least only a little bit strange to anyone who happens to glance over. I have decent plant cover and camouflage at the height of summer growth that I can take advantage of and use to enhance security. I can forge new armor out of the old suit I have worn for so long.
If only I could prise it from my skin. I fear it has become such a part of me that removal would not only be terrifying, but also physically painful. I need to design new armor that protects where I know I am vulnerable, but also supports and showcases where I am powerful. It may intimidate others, and there will be backlash. I must accept this likely possibility and still strive forward anyway. I have no reason to give more than a customary fuck with others think of me. Those few who know the real me, who still remember what I was like Before, they will love and support me the same as they always have. Others who have built up these grandious images of who they think I am will have a rude awakening. And I will struggle to remember what and how I was, knowing I can never be exactly the same way again, but finding new way of expression that are still authentic versions of a Me I want to be.
I open a panel of the armor and let out a tiny bit of light.