[End of events: 2003; Last Full Revision: 2020]

Before diving into the details of my life, I would like to take a moment to put a framework on the composition at hand. The purpose of this essay is not only to lend credibility to my later proposals, but also to expose the process by which my personal initiation came about so that the process is hopefully evident. As such, I will make an effort to keep this essay as succinct as possible without overly dramatizing impertinent details.

 


Early Childhood

I was born the son of two very colorful characters. Both were hippies in their youth. My mother managed to become a ‘yuppie’, but it seems that my father liked things the way they were. I grew up in a poor rural city in Louisiana. I don’t remember very much about my parents as a small child because I spent the vast majority of my childhood with my neighbors. My parents paid the neighbors a weekly rate to watch me every day. The neighbors had four children of their own, only one of which was my age; the rest where older.

Years go by in this manner. From the short time I spent at my house, I got a good idea of why my parents didn’t want me around. At the time, I didn’t realize that many of the things I witnessed were of questionable legality.

To clarify, I did usually sleep at my parents’ house, and there were times when I would stay there for an extended amount of time. In fact, that part is critical to my tale. When I was home, I was generally quite content to stay in my room and play by myself. I imagine I felt comfortable because I never felt lonely. I never had the urge to be around others for fear of being alone. To me, it was all the same. I found myself to be excellent company!

At the age of nine, my parents approached me with a proposition. They very respectfully sat me down and asked if I would like to move to south Florida. Apparently, their friends were moving there and claimed the job market was much better (which it was). I agreed.

Pre-Teen Years

We moved into an apartment in a very large Floridian city and I began the fifth grade. I was always an outcast, but I never felt oppressed or rejected. My isolation was voluntary. Despite that, I was always a very outspoken individual, even if not very well-liked. People don’t like hearing uncomfortable truths and I was always one to immediately point out the “pink elephant” in any room. I had my niche though. There was a certain crowd I found I could relate to. I believe it was generally referred to as the ‘wrong’ crowd. We never got into any real trouble. We never did anything particularly mean, cruel, or wantonly destructive. We mostly just wanted some time to ourselves and to be left alone.

I also spent a great deal of time with an older girl who lived near me, Mattie. I was ten and she was thirteen. As much as I would have liked, we never formally dated. But, we did have a rather remarkable friendship over the following three years. She was most certainly my first love, though I didn’t realize it until years later.

Her mother was an alcoholic who physically abused her. She would also receive disproportionately long punishments for minor infractions. I can’t be sure, but I think it was because she didn’t get good enough grades that her mother punished her by confined her to her room for the entire summer one year. I remember sitting in a tree that provided shade for her bedroom window. There I waited for her mother to go to work. But even then, it was not so easy for her to leave the house. Her mother was friends with the neighbors and she would also call randomly during the day. Not answering the phone meant a fate no thirteen-year-old dared to face. So, Mattie would let me in and we spent the days together listening to music and talking.

The next year she met a guy, a sixteen-year-old. She moved in with him after a few months, mostly to get away from her mom. I lost contact with her after the new boyfriend punched me in the face for supposedly moving in on his woman. I was eleven. As chance would have it, they lived in the same apartment complex as a new friend of mine and I saw her one day, very pregnant. A few weeks later she called me and said that she had moved back in with her mother. Apparently, boy wonder punched her in the stomach during an argument while she was seven months pregnant. I saw the baby once it was born. She named him Eric. I didn’t know it yet, but that would be the last time I would ever see her.

Aside from my relationship with Mattie, I was very emotionally isolated from anyone else. I had been that way all my life and since the depth and significance of my relationship with Mattie were not yet apparent, I had no reason to suspect that anything was abnormal.

This altered perception of the ever-illusory concept of normality is an ever-present factor in this tale. For now, let’s just say that it’s not normal to be completely closed off to the outside world emotionally and that normal people don’t go around talking to a voice in their head. More on that later…

When I was ten, I got my first ‘real’ computer. I remember thinking it was ‘real’ because the CPU, monitor, and keyboard were physically separate components. This was in contrast to my Tandy TRS-80 (affectionately known as the “Trash-80”) hand-me-down that was basically one monolithic piece of plastic. But not this one, my new Tandy 1000 actually ran DOS and had an Intel processor (8086). What’s more, it had 640k of RAM which even Bill Gates said is all anyone should ever need! I was ecstatic.

I only did two things with the machine. I had a role-playing game that I was fond of. It ran really fast, too, since I could load the whole thing onto my 20MB hard drive. I didn’t have to run it from the floppies. And I had QuickBasic. It was much better than the old GW-BASIC and I knew it. I learned that language inside and out. I took a computer course in sixth grade and wrote a program that showed a wireframe animation, in first-person, of what it would look like falling off a building and splattering on the street. Ok, so I wasn’t bubbling over with wholesomeness. But I did get an ‘A’.

As for my parents, they barely lasted a year in Florida before they were separated and then divorced. My mother was the instigator and claimed that my father was going to kill her. [Edit: After learning more about my father later in life, she likely had very good cause for concern.] The following year they each tried to play me against the other, telling me stories and whatnot. But for some reason, it was never very traumatic for me. I felt as if I was watching the drama unfold on a daytime soap opera and I could look away anytime I wished. I was detached.

My father took the divorce extremely hard and did a few stupid things to substantiate my mother’s claims. While he leaped headlong into the exciting world of self-medication, my mother and I tried to carry on with life as best we could.

Even as a baby, I never liked my mother. I was told that if my mother tried to hold me, I would cry. My father would take me from her and I would cease crying immediately. Now, isn’t that odd?

Things hadn’t changed much as I tumbled headlong into adolescence. I still didn’t like her and I think mostly it was the fact that she could feel my emotional detachment that made her act very erratically toward me. It was either that or the demons clawing away at her neural cortex, one of the two.

Interestingly, I remember seeing a couple of books stacked on the dining room table one day that pertained to witchcraft. I wish I could remember the exact titles, but I’m afraid they’re lost in the recesses of my memory. I wonder if my condition, that of being drawn to magick and mysticism, is genetic. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me until I began to write these very words that there might really be a case for that.

My mother’s entire side of the family was always very close. My dad often referred to them as a cult. They did act as if they had something to hide. I also remember my grandmother, on my father’s side, saying that my grandfather, on my mother’s side, was interested in transcendental meditation. Apparently, they attended some meditation classes while they were dating. Yes, you read that right, my paternal grandmother dated my maternal grandfather. It’s too bad Jerry Springer wasn’t around back then.

Speaking of dating, I remember my mother going to some kind of singles groups to meet men. When she left the house, she would put a piece of paper in the door jam and in the windows so she would know if any of them had been opened. She was terribly afraid I was doing something wrong. Of course, I wasn’t. She just knew that she couldn’t communicate with me, so I guess she assumed the worst.

Crisis

Things continue in this fashion until one fine day during the thirteenth year of my life, I walked into the house after school to find two police officers waiting for me in the living room. My bedroom had been ransacked and I was informed that I was being taken to a crisis center because I was a threat to my mother’s life! Wait a minute, where have I heard that before?

The children’s ward was full. I had the honor of staying in the drunk-tank for three days until there was a vacancy. I saw many strange things in those three days, but there was more to come.

I finally got to meet with a psychiatrist who explained the situation to me. He produced a sheet of paper that served as my mother’s evidence of the imminent danger I posed to her. It was a short story that I had written for a creative writing class. The intention of the story was to mislead the reader. In this case, it intended to mislead the reader into thinking I would kill my mother. The story methodically outlined how I would sneak up on her in the night and pull out a gun and shot her WITH WATER. (See? It was a joke). However, by the time the paper had made its way back into my hands, the words “with water” had been whited out and the paper had been photocopied. I pointed this out to the psychiatrist and he could verify that it was true with a quick examination of the area. All that along with the fact that I was completely rational and had my wits about me led him to start looking at my mother with much more scrutiny.

I spent the next three weeks there and had ascended their level system in record time. The psychiatrists were unable to find anything wrong with me, not even post-traumatic stress. In fact, I didn’t feel stressed, nor did I feel much of anything really. I was totally numb. At that time, I would have seemed much like a Vulcan from Star Trek.

Again, I go to the psychiatrist’s office. This time he says they cannot keep me any longer. I did notice that I was the only one there who didn’t take any medication. He said that he’d called my mom and told her that she had to take me back. She refused. In her desperation, she made up a lie about me being heavily involved in drug use. The psychiatrist immediately knew it was a lie because I would have had to go through withdrawals for the drugs she listed and I obviously did not. He then informed me that despite not being true, the fact that she said those things might work out in my favor. At that moment, I had a choice as to where I would like to spend the next five years (until I turned eighteen). I could either choose a group home for completely uncontrollable teens or a drug rehab facility. The psychiatrist strongly recommended the rehab saying it would be a much better environment. I took his advice.

Data House

The rehab was a long-term lockdown facility. There were four boys to each 10’x12’ room. The rooms had no doors and the hall was always patrolled. It had its advantages though. The special school that we attended was very individualized. The intention of the special school was to give special remedial attention to kids who may not have actually attended school very often due to their drug use. I took the opportunity to work through Algebra I, Algebra II, and Trigonometry in a six-month period. In fact, the staff became so curious about me that they brought in a psychiatrist to administer an I.Q. test to me. Specifically, it was the fourth edition of the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales. Do you really want to know what I scored? Of course you do. I scored 155, which is just shy of formally being a genius on that scale (they still had such brazen designations back then). But nonetheless, not too shabby for a thirteen-year-old in a rehab. (Years later, I received an invitation to join Mensa which I promptly ignored.)

The counselors tried repeatedly to convince my mother to take me back and she consistently refused. Eventually, Christmas rolled around. I was surrounded by kids who had really attempted to kill their parents or themselves, had really done hard drugs, had run away from home, had committed crimes, etc. Yet I was the only one who had nowhere to go on Christmas day. They closed the rehab for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Fortunately, the parents of one of the other kids allowed me to stay at their house. They even bought me gifts. I really was at a loss about how to respond. But the kindness and empathy they showed were in no way lost on me.

Rescued

Despite my mother’s persistence, I didn’t spend five years in the rehab facility. When my dad came to visit me, he said that he would take custody of me. He was just waiting for my mother to formally turn me over to the state, making me a ward of the court. Being the kind and rational person she is, my mother did nothing to help that process along. Regardless, after a few months, the state of Florida took custody of me. True to his word, my father immediately applied for custody. However, the state of Florida is not stupid. They sent an investigator to watch my dad in order to determine what kind of a person he was. Well… that ruled dad out. His mom (my grandmother) then decided to take me. It took about three months for all the paperwork to go through. That made my total stay in the rehab a little over six months.

In life’s cyclic way, there I was, about a twenty-minute drive from where I grew up. The only difference now was that I was a teenager, a freshman in high school, and living in a cramped two-bedroom apartment with my grandmother and a cat. At some point, I also discovered that my mother had convinced her entire side of the family to disown me. It wasn’t much of a loss, really. The only thing they could offer me was money. Yet even at that age, I had already developed something of a reputation for not selling out.

Back On The Bayou

School in Louisiana was quite a bit different from the school I was accustomed to in Florida. I was in high school, but it felt like elementary school. For instance, they had recess… in high school. I found it all ridiculous and annoying. I was doubly upset at the dearth of advanced placement courses and extra-curricular activities that were not sports-related. So, I walked in with a dismissive attitude that I made no effort to conceal.

The school was dominated by people who were raised in economically disadvantaged communities without any kind of parental support to guide their learning and childhood development. Also, for the first time, I was not a member of the racial majority at this school. Looking back on it, this offered me a look at racism that most white people never have the opportunity to experience.

Fight!

Predicably, one student tried to start a fight with me. I was an obvious target since I started school half-way through the year, which was reason enough to socially exile me. I was walking down a fully-enclosed corridor with lockers on either side.

Boys were leaning against the lockers. As I passed them, they peeled themselves off of the lockers and walked slightly ahead of me. Another boy was standing motionless directly in the center of the busy corridor. As I walked directly up to him, the others formed a human wall on both sides obviously intending to prevent me from continuing to my next class. This boy, the leader, was in 11th or 12th grade, so 2-3 years my senior. He was also about 4 inches taller than me, but quite thin. I was younger and shorter. But I was stocky and had just left a place where I had nothing else to do but work out. At 13 years old, I could bench press in the high 200 lbs range. Combine that with my already dismissive attitude and you know I didn’t back down and I didn’t offer any deals.

I don’t remember what the boy said. All I remember is grabbing him by the throat so hard that my fingertips were touching behind his esophagus. I yanked him down to his knees and told him if he ever got in my way again I would kill him… and I meant it… and he knew I meant it. Then I threw him to the ground while he gasped for air. I walked right past all of his buddies and none of them made any effort to stop me. I was not confronted with physical violence again for my entire time in high school. The following year I joined the weight lifting team and was the second heaviest lifter in the school. So, fighting was one aspect of teen life I didn’t have to worry about.

Hormones Always Win

Then I met her. You knew it was coming and boy did it start in a typical high school fashion. She sat in front of me in Biology class. Her name was Paula. I used to pull her hair and constantly distract her. Cliche, I know. But at the time, I didn’t know how else to handle the situation. I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I spent a large part of my summer after freshman year talking to her on the phone. She had a boyfriend, of course. But he was going off to a ‘special’ school starting in the fall. He promised he would make the five-hour trip to see her every other weekend. I, on the other hand, lived five minutes away. If you can’t win on looks, win on proximity!

After a bit of romancing and one indecent proposal, we were a couple. We both were starting our sophomore years in high school and we were both 14. In fact, our birthdays were only 22 days apart. We spent every waking moment we could together and fell madly in love.

That being said, I’ll tell you what the indecent proposal was. She had some unfinished business that needed to be resolved with her soon-to-be-ex boyfriend. ‘They had fooled around, but never actually had sex. But during the course of their fooling around, Paula discovered that this boy had an unusually large penis. The proposal was simple, she just needed to have the experience of that monster inside her, then she could move on.  Not seeing how I had any right to tell her otherwise, she did her thing and we moved on. Once I had her in my arms, I never gave that event a second thought. It wasn’t until many years later that I came to realize the profound impact this event had on the way I view intimate relationships.

One of the most amazing gifts she gave me was my humanity. OK, obviously that isn’t something directly within her power to give. But she couldn’t help but notice that I was completely closed-off emotionally. I still could be nice to her and we had fun and could enjoy one another’s company. But there was no passion and no warmth to it. There were also no quick fixes. It took a long time, a burning desire, and a lot of patience. But eventually, she taught me to love again. I have never since turned my emotions off and I am forever grateful for the gift she gave me that year. She has no idea how big of a difference she made in my life.

Nerd

Meanwhile, I was also still hard at work learning to program. After I returned to normal society, I was able to pick it back up right where I left off. I met a guy named Paul who was extremely intelligent and shared my interest in computers. My grandmother was kind enough to buy me a computer since it was obvious I was in need of one. It was a real upgrade from the one I had at my mother’s house: a Packard Bell 486SX-25 with 4MB RAM and a 175MB hard drive. It was so fast I couldn’t believe it. Then, I helped Paul build a system out of spare parts with minimal cash (unfortunately, the specs have been lost to the ravages of time).

I don’t remember where the masochistic notion to start programming in assembly language came from, but we caught on to it for some reason. I managed to find a copy of an Assembler and a book and we were off. We ended up writing a full-screen system diagnostics utility with our own custom pull-down menu system and mouse support. Remember, this was in DOS; neither of us had Windows yet.

A little while later, I was asked to help out with the school’s network that was primarily housed in the library. I did that over the course of my Junior and Senior years. In addition, the librarian got me a job at another high school installing their new Corvus network. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it before. It was a casualty to Novell Netware in the late nineties. And good riddance! It was a nightmare to install and configure. But eventually, I did make it work.

Brain Whore

Something went wrong with my computer and I couldn’t figure it out, so I did the unthinkable and brought it into a shop. They were so impressed by how much I knew about the system that they offered me a job! I was so surprised and flattered that I didn’t know what to say at first. Then, a slow and muffled-sounding, to me, “yes” forced its way through my teeth. I then worked there, illegally, after school for a few months. I wasn’t actually old enough to start working legally and I’m not certain they were even aware of that. It was a more innocent time when people could actually get away with stuff like this.

Once I was of legal age to be officially employed, I got a better job with another local computer company as both a technician and a salesperson. I stayed with them until they went bankrupt. This too left a mark that has reared its head multiple times later in life. I moved on to a job working for the state until I couldn’t stand it anymore and quit. I know this is getting tedious, but it’ll be over soon. I then took a job with another local computer company that got bought out by a private investor, who was a V.P. of WorldCom at the time. This guy moved the store, changed the name, overspent on advertising, and quickly went bankrupt. Hmmm. It was no big deal though. Like a pendulum, I went back to working for the state. Only this time it was for the University I had just begun attending. It ended up being much more convenient like this anyway. I even had my own honest-to-goodness office (not a cubicle) with a solid wood door that locked! Yes, I had sex in there… several times. I remained there until I graduated.

GTFO

Skipping back to matters of the heart. It was the beginning of my senior year of high school. Paula’s parents announced that they were getting a divorce, selling the house, and moving away. Since we’d been dating for two years at this point and she only had one more year of school to go. Her mom wanted to find a way she could stay. I volunteered. Amazingly, my grandmother acquiesced and the deal was done. In just a couple of weeks, I now lived in a cramped two-bedroom apartment with my grandmother, a cat, and my girlfriend. I thought it was a very nice arrangement for a seventeen-year-old.

Naturally, utopia was short-lived. After graduation, she started becoming discontented. She wanted to go out to clubs a lot and meet people. That kind of thing was very foreign to me at the time. But I went along with it for her sake. It didn’t take long for her to find the crowd she was looking for. One night she came home with a girl she had just met. This girl was very masculine and very trashy (complete with tattooed knuckles). She clearly had no interest in men and I had no interest in her, so that was one thing we could agree on. Unfortunately, Paula didn’t care what my opinion was and proceeded to have an ongoing relationship with this girl despite my protests. I broke up with her the day before my eighteenth birthday.

Paula’s mom had moved back while we were living together, so my now-ex-girlfriend moved in with her. I took the breakup very hard and had a very difficult time not having her around. It took about six months before I started feeling like an individual again. But that raised an interesting issue because who was I? I wasn’t the person in the rehab, that’s for sure, and I wasn’t the person I was when I was with her. I was new. I felt reasonably strong and self-sufficient, but I wasn’t entirely certain what *I* was.

The Prodigal Liar

Then came a knock at the door. My ex was there, crying her eyes out and saying she needed to talk to me urgently. I told her to get lost. She left and I drove to my friend’s house to talk about it because the interaction had left me quite shaken. She followed me there and proceeded to pound on his door for about an hour before I finally opened it. I couldn’t stand it anymore, she was begging in the most humiliating way. She then pleaded for my help and asked me to come back into her life. She said she had made some exceedingly poor decisions and that she needed me. After a bit of prying, she said that she had started doing drugs with her friends. When I asked what kind, she responded, “All of them, I think”. A couple of weeks of talking and one formal contract later, I agreed to take her back.

Shortly thereafter, I had a falling out with my grandmother and rented a room from a couple of Paula’s friends. Living with a couple was an interesting experience. Jason was a really cool person and proved to be a good friend with a decent head on his shoulders. Amethyst, on the other hand, was completely insane. She did just fine without her medication… according to her. Nevermind the screaming fits at 2:00 AM and the pounding on the walls in fits of anger. I actually sat curled up at the head of my bed listening to her yell at Jason in the middle of the night. They didn’t argue, because I never heard his voice.  Jason was a 6’2″ auto mechanic who could deadlift a transmission, but he was an extremely gentle person. I continued listening until her voice actually changed. At some point, her anger rose to a level where she took on a much deeper, almost inhuman voice. I swear she must’ve been channeling a demon or something. Then she would stop using words and just roar. As I said, it was an interesting experience.

Paula visited me very often and our relationship was once again going smoothly. It was wonderful to have her back and after about six months we found a way to move in together. The only thing was that we needed another one of her friends to move in with us to be able to afford the rent. This turned out to be our downfall and was a horrible decision on her part. This friend turned out to be one of her friends she was doing cocaine with even after I had grilled her about it and she vehemently denied it.

Things only went downhill from there. We moved in together in January, in the middle of my freshman year in college. The next year is mostly a drug-induced blur. But, there was one important aspect that stands out. The roommate was a self-proclaimed “Wiccan Master”. I would fall over myself laughing if I heard him say that now. But, at the time, I knew nothing of the occult. But I knew I was interested. He actually gave us a few lectures in the living room and then recommended some books. Despite his recommendations of Cunningham and Adler, I picked up a book called Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig. I was fixated. Between furious bouts of partying, I would spend hours perusing the material contained in that book. I also got to work right away on astral projection exercises. The Wiccan Master was very upset by my choice of reading material continued trying to “correct” my course of study. He desperately explained that Crowley and Thelema were “evil” and that I must only perform “white” magic (I still have no idea what either of those words means). By now, it should not surprise you to learn that I informed him that his tutelage was no longer desired nor welcome.

Things got very interesting between Paula and I. In my haze, I thought I was still in love and proposed to her. She accepted. But I don’t believe she was ever really serious. Here’s a tip for any guys out there who may not realize how horribly dysfunctional their relationship is. If your girlfriend doesn’t have sex with you the night you propose to her, get the ring back! I wasn’t that bright and ended up nearly losing a $1500 ring.

As the months passed, her insanity and paranoia just got worse. Two things stand out from this period. The first was when she accused me of cheating on her in the astral plane. The second was when we were having a discussion and she made the statement, “If I were you, I wouldn’t date me.” Looking back on this memory 22 years later, I’ve learned to give extreme credence to statements such as these. They are often the only glimmer of truth you may get while drowning in a sea of lies. They are tender mercies offered by a soul that probably loves you, but because of that love, they cannot allow you to join them in their horrific fate that they are powerless to change.

By Thanksgiving, her condition had worsened until she finally made the statement, “I don’t need money for drugs.” I knew exactly what that meant; she finally decided to take the plunge into the exciting world of drug-crazed prostitution. Upon hearing that, I immediately started planning my escape. It happened on Thanksgiving Day; I moved back in with my grandmother.

Lessons Learned

Once I was sober and spent some time reflecting on all of the things that happened over the last year, it became clear to me that what I was witnessing in Paula was the early signs of the onset of schizophrenia. In some ways, I would have preferred that she had simply died at age 17 than to be ripped away from me in this way. At least then she would have left a positive and loving legacy. But to see a beautiful and loving girl be eaten from the inside and twisted into the abominable thing she became is just horrible and gut-wrenching. without a cure and without even particularly effective treatment options available at that time, I had no choice but to save myself by maintaining distance. She was a live grenade. There’s no saving the grenade. But you might be able to save yourself, perhaps with a minimal amount of shrapnel if you start running NOW.

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

“We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way. The choice is yours” — The Boondocks

Paul helped me move my things out while Paula was supposedly at her grandmother’s house 60 miles away. That night, Paula knocked on Paul’s door. She was crying, of course, and went on and on about how I was abusive to her and what a terrible person I was. Not to mention, she told Paul she had a crush on him for a long time. How convenient. By the next night, they were a couple. Some men just don’t grasp the concept of a grenade the first time they see one.

Paul was a wonderful person, truly. In fact, he was too wonderful to notice what he was getting himself into. Paul loved Paula with all his heart right from the beginning. I still saw him every day at school but we stopped speaking. It’s ironic that Paul told me prior to our breakup that if he were me, he wouldn’t trust Paula as far as he could throw her. If he only would have taken his own advice.

The only good thing to come from their courtship was that Paul was able to get my ring back. Paula hid it prior to my moving out. I found out later that she planned to sell it and go on a vacation.

Six weeks later, Paul goes to Paula’s apartment. The “Wicca Master” was laying on the couch and Paula’s door was closed. He indicated that Paula was in there and Paul, presuming he could be so bold, opened the door and walked in. Lo and behold, there lay Paula and Jason, naked, embracing, and asleep. She awoke when Paul entered the room. Paul backed out, sat on the couch, and proceeded to hyperventilate. After donning a shirt and shorts, Paula comes out and starts yelling at Paul that it’s his fault she was sleeping with Jason. It was then that the fog lifted for Paul and things became clear. Amusingly, Paul’s car broke down in the parking lot just as he had pulled in. Jason was a mechanic… how convenient. So there they are, after Paul stopped hyperventilating and Jason got some clothes on, they went out to look at the car so Paul could finish breaking up with Paula!

A New Relationship: With Myself

As for me, the breakup was not nearly as difficult to bear this time around. Upon moving into my grandmother’s house, I followed the instructions given in Modern Magick to create my own Golden Dawn style altar. My grandmother asked about it. But when I explained it to her, she just shook her head and said, “Whatever.” It was at this time that I also started a magickal diary and picked up a book called Magick Without Tears by Aleister Crowley. In that book, I read about an organization called Ordo Templi Orientis and I remember wondering if the group still existed. Sure enough, the Internet comes through for me and I easily locate their web page. Unfortunately, there were no bodies in my area. So, I was still solitary for the time being.

In fact, I was solitary in virtually every important aspect, but somehow it all just didn’t seem so bad. My ex-girlfriend had been my whole life. Leaving her meant abandoning everything I thought I was. Being so young, of course I self-identified with my role as her partner. I was only now realizing how completely codependent I was with her. At this point I was desolate. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted, or where I was going. But somehow, I managed to pull myself up and find my niche with relative ease. Within a month of the breakup, I had more friends than I had ever had before.

Just a Shell of a Girl

I dated a few girls I met going out to various nightspots; then I met one that really took my breath away. It had been about eight months since the breakup and I felt I had a fairly good grasp on who I was for once in my life. Now I was ready for something more serious than the noncommital relationships I had been getting into. She was an older woman and far more mature than I was accustomed to. She had a Master’s Degree in Russian History, was fluent in Russian, and exceedingly beautiful. All of this I found to be very attractive. Our relationship was wonderful for the next six months. Then I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and had to find a job. I didn’t plan to have anyone move with me to wherever I might go for work. But I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her behind. So I offered to take her along and she jumped at the opportunity.

Magically, I continued working through Modern Magick in its entirety until my graduation from college. Shortly after graduating, I got a job with a company in Dallas, Texas. How convenient. There was not one, but two OTO bodies active in that area. Shortly after arriving, I sent an email to the OTO body nearest me and waited for a reply. As it turns out, people don’t generally contact the order in this way so the body master was cautious to make sure I wasn’t a nutcase of some sort. We met at a restaurant along with a couple of other members whom I would become good friends with over the next year. Things went well and I was invited to mass.

It became obvious very quickly that my girlfriend was less than sincere when she expressed an interest in the occult. She had no desire to associate with the OTO and called the whole thing “silly”. I also began to realize that we were two very different people. She was a wonderful person, but she saw herself as having a duty to keep a “normal” and “wholesome” household and that was about the last thing one could expect from me. We bid each other a fond farewell in June of 2001.

Angels and Devils

Immediately after she left, I was absorbed in study. Lon DuQuette’s books were hard to put down and they helped me to fill in some gaps. I also studied Hermeticism a great deal, reading such books as The Kybalion and The Corpus Hermeticum [PDF]. It was during this period that I wrote a lot of silly essays. But I still look at them fondly as they remind me of the path that my spiritual evolution has taken. One must continually overstep one’s own bounds in order to achieve greatness, one step at a time.

I also read countless libers and other materials. However, it was in a conversation I had with a small group of OTO members where the notion of a Holy Guardian Angel (or Daemon) was first introduced to me and I remember not grasping the concept at first. Then I read “The Wake World”, which is a short story found in an early book by Crowley called Konx Om Pax [PDF], as I read it, I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just the voice in your head that you talk to all the time. So what? Doesn’t everybody do that?”

It turns out that they don’t. Up to this point, any communication I had was one-sided. I had never gotten a response from her, but I didn’t really need one either. Her presence was unmistakable and having someone to listen to me had been invaluable up to that point in my life.

I was sitting on the porch of the local pagan community center when my new friend W5 sat down with me and we started to talk. I knew that he had mingled in Thelemic circles for many years and people seemed to hold his opinions in high regard. Thus, I assumed he would be at least somewhat familiar with HGA communication. So I began to ask some pointed questions and then went into the whole story that I have just shared with you. I remember him having little to say, just leaving me with “Question everything.”

And question I did. When I got home I immediately attempted to open a dialogue. I had never thought of doing such a thing before. My whole life this voice was not really a voice, more of just a presence that I talked to all the time. I had a distinct impression that this entity was very real and female. When I asked her for her name she responded, “Alpha” (for the purposes of publication, at least).

From there, I’ve kept up the conversation on a regular basis ever since. The nature of our conversations is very natural and informal. I don’t have to do anything special to talk; all I have to do is “tune in”. That part is hard to explain; it’s like relaxing just a bit until you tune out the outside world and tune into a higher level of thought and communication. Once you do it a couple of times, it’s easy. Intoning her name also works extremely well if I’m feeling a bit disconnected.

At first, I would ask her questions and she would give me very simple straightforward answers. I lot of conversations started out with me asking a question only to be met with, “You’re an idiot, it’s like this…” And she would say things that I had no way of knowing and provide insights into situations that I had never imagined. Beyond that, she began to explain things to me, such as the nature of the universe and how various things worked and operated on other planes of existence. Most interestingly, she explained in detail the nature of her own existence, which I documented in the next essay of this series [Edit: Add link]. But the most valuable things she’s told me are not quantifiable in mere words. She’s always reminded me that I’m not alone. And that, I think, is the most valuable realization I have ever made.

I remember talking to her when I was in the crisis center and in the rehab facility. I never felt loneliness or self-pity for a moment. No matter what happened, I was always able to pick myself up and go on without hesitation. I owe this all to her.

Soon after establishing a two-way dialog with her, I took a moment to imagine the horror of being truly alone. The idea of being without this entity to talk to and accompany me on my journeys, I felt horribly depressed. For just a moment, I felt true loneliness. This made it very clear to me why people act the way they do and why depression is so common. Before this experience, I had no idea why people seemed to always be so depressed. Now I understand and this is why I feel it is imperative that a realistic system of attainment be put into practice as soon as possible. There is no reason why anything so wonderful and natural should remain buried in the annals of esoteric lore.

There is nothing more natural in this world than HGA communication and it is your birthright to have it!