The visions of the aethyrs are becoming subtler, harder to attain, and yet – surprisingly – more mundane and personal, as I approach the end of this five-year working. (Or has it been even longer?)
The Vision of DEO (Aethyr 7)
I’d not had a lucid dream in ages, so this working was an experiment: I opened the temple with the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram; read the Enochian Call of the Aethyrs and opened Aethyr 7, reciting the names of the governors; and then, without banishing, I then went straight to bed. I had decided that whatever occurred between opening the aethyr and rising in the morning, I would accept as the vision of DEO.
Waiting to fall asleep, a spirit in the form of a young boy came and asked questions. ‘How do you open an Enochian aethyr?’ he kept pestering me. Earlier in the evening, whilst performing other operations, I had sensed a presence behind me, but it had not identified itself. I had banished afterwards, even though the working hadn’t required it. I wondered now if the young boy were that same spirit returning. There was something vexatious in his questions – because if he were a spirit of the aethyrs, why was he so interested in knowing how to open one? And besides, the spirits were there to answer my questions.
Eventually sleep came. The weather was breezy. Something, somewhere, made a slight, intermittent bumping sound that kept me partially awake throughout the night. Maybe this accounted for the paucity of dreams, yet it also provoked a consistent emotional state: not quite anxiety, but certainly a suspicious watchfulness that endured whilst the aethyr was open, and which I decided was one of its attributes.
At 4.19am I woke, got up, and sat in meditation until 5.10. I saw a headless being, composed of white, squirming limbs. Apart from the wind, the night was quiet, and I was reminded of my stint last year in the haunted prison cell. Fear took hold, several times. Watching the fear and its sources, at one point I entered a state where the presence of my mind was the cause of its fear. The mind was frightened just by the weird, ghostly fact of itself. My surprise that such a state could exist immediately put an end to it.
Usually, getting up to meditate and then going back to bed is my sure-fire method for obtaining a lucid dream. I lay on my back (another lucidity aid) but finally turned on my side and slept.
I was in my parents’ old house, sleeping in the room I’d had as a small child. Fra X was staying as a guest, asleep in a room upstairs (although, in actuality, there is no room above). Fra X liked listening to show tunes when he rose in the mornings, and it seemed I heard these, but soon the music stopped and Fra X had still not appeared.
[I hate show tunes. I were asked to nominate someone whose lifestyle was completely at odds with ordinary, family life, then I might nominate Fra X.]
It was still dark, and in the meantime I heard my father get up for work. As he moved about, making his breakfast to the news on the radio, it struck me how agile he sounded. ‘His hip must be better,’ I thought.
[The sounds of my father in the morning are memories from childhood. His bad hip is a reference to the present. By confusing the sequence of time, the past is enlisted to heal the present.]
Then I heard my mother get up and leave the house. I was curious and anxious where she might have gone. I found her at the bus station, waiting with a group of characters from my home town, looking the way they’d appeared in the 1970s. Sitting nearby was my grandmother with her next-door neighbour. This puzzled me, because I knew they were both dead. I missed an opportunity to become lucid at this point, yet they all looked so happy, chatting together whilst waiting, and having reassured myself my mother was okay I decided to leave them all to it. ‘You are all far too early in the morning for me!’ I laughed, and walked away.
A bus queue in Bedford, 1970. An image of the afterlife?
['Waiting for a bus' can feel like 'forever', and here is used to symbolise eternity. 'You are all too early' is a reversal of how the people waiting are actually 'late' – in the alternative sense of 'dead'. I am anxious for my mother because really I am afraid that she will die. I am able to reassure myself that it is not she who is dead but the others, and – anyway – they are all having a nice time, but evidently this is a fragile reassurance.]
Later, my sister came to visit. Fra X was still upstairs, but that was fine. If he ever got up and came down, it would be great to see him.
[Again, this rings false. If Fra X is the 'anti-family' then when he 'gets up', the family ceases to be.]
I had an electronic gadget that made quiet but distracting sounds – such as the noise of squelching food. I demonstrated it to my sister, at first without telling her. It drove her nuts. She couldn’t fathom where the noises were coming from. But when I showed her the device she found it very funny. She said it was exactly the kind of thing she supposed I would have.
[When we were kids, my sister was a noisy eater – which used to drive me nuts! The animosity of our childhood is forgotten here, the roles reversed, and the source of annoyance made into a toy, a novelty, that is a source of humour.]
Then there was a tiny, enclosed space, perhaps underground. As I was squeezing into this space, our long-dead family cat squeezed past me and ahead. My face was buried in the warmth of her fur, so what might have been a horribly claustrophobic episode was instead reassuring.
['Underground' suggests a grave. The family cat is buried in the garden. Regressive sexual imagery is combined with the deathly connotations. 'Cat' = 'pussy'. I'm pressing my face into the entrance of the womb! As a strategy for escaping death and separation, this is obviously rather flawed.]
The Vision of MAZ (Aethyr 6)
I am walking in a windy place with a childhood friend, thinking, ‘It would really impress him if I could fly.’ Realising that I am dreaming, I conclude: ‘Why not?’ And I do. But then I wonder, ‘Is there enough time to scry an aethyr?’
The state has become unstable, but I concentrate and it becomes more steady, and I state my intention: ‘I wish to enter MAZ, the sixth aethyr!’ Indeed, I state this so powerfully and clearly that I’m sure I’ve spoken it aloud in my sleep. The lucidity begins to fade again, but I reinvigorate it by spinning around and around.
I am on a mattress without blankets in a room that reminds me of my sister’s room in my parents’ old house, except it has an exceedingly high ceiling. My girlfriend is asleep next to me, and next to her is an identical aspect of herself, with a scarlet pentagram on her forehead at the third eye. She says something, which I do not remember and may not have been verbal anyway, but I recognise who she is: the part of my girlfriend that is childlike, mystical, and loving towards everyone.
[The amalgam of sister's room and partner suggests (again) the mystical sister, soror mystica, a personification of the male alchemist's 'female half' who assist in his quest. The pentagram is a symbol of earth and humanity. 'Scarlet' recalls the 'Scarlet Woman', the shakti, or tantric partner. The magickal practice of placing symbols on the forehead of the partner, charging them as sigils through orgasm during lovemaking, is also suggested here.]
'He meets his shakti Tuesdays, / Down the launderette. / They go behind the driers / And invoke Baphomet.'
At the foot of a mattress, high up against the wall on a ladder, a large naked man is fixing a red cube to the wall. ‘Who’s in charge?’ I call up to him. He laughs, but not derisively. ‘You’ll never see him around here,’ he says.
[Red cube: another symbol of earth and matter.]
There was a second part to this vision, which has faded from memory, in which it now seems that I did see and meet who was in charge. But whether there were images and I have lost them, and that’s why only the purport of it remains, I can no longer tell. Yet I know that the person in charge gave me something. Because he was angelic it was something very subtle and fine, so he showed me how to mix it with what is gross and disgusting, in order to make it usable in everyday experience.
[This suggests the magickal techniques of tantra and the Left Hand Path.]
Earlier I’d dreamt non-lucidly that Edgar Allan Poe decided to take his own life. He rode on his beloved horse to the edge of a cliff, then took out a handgun, intending to blow out his brains. It was the horse that swayed him. Poe couldn’t bear the thought that his horse might come to harm, and – realising a source of genuine love in his life – the urge to commit suicide faded. Instead he went home, and dined alone with gusto on a meal of roasted rats.
[Poe's lack of love contrasts with the compassionate nature of the mystical sister. The horse represents the bodily or animal nature of the rider. What we might have here is a view of the Right Hand Path from the perspective of the Left. Poe's 'spiritual practice' is to blow out his brains, rather than to use his connection with the 'horse'. The rat traditionally symbolises observation and intelligence – mental awareness, rather than bodily. In Poe's story 'The Pit and the Pendulum', the narrator is tortured by the Inquisition, but escapes after rats gnaw through the ropes that constrain him. The rat, in this instance, is perhaps a symbol of 'liberation by mental means'. Poe, of course, was an intensely cerebral character.]
'They swarmed upon me in ever-accumulating heaps...' Illustration for The Pit and the Pendulum by Byam Shaw, 1909.
And so the person in charge mixed the subtle thing he gave me with cooked, minced rats. And although Poe ate with relish what was actually disgusting, the mixture of the subtle thing and the rats was really quite palatable. Only when I thought of the ingredients did I feel disgust, but then only weakly, because it came from thinking and was not a bodily reaction.
[This suggests a way forward in my current practice.]
With this second scene, if there ever really was one, the vision ended.
The Vision of LIT (Aethyr 5)
I’m at a magickal moot. There’s a theatre performance, and also we’re all doing our rituals on the stage. There’s a large, dark guy who’s in an aggressive mood and keeps shoving me. I get angry and we start to fight, but we’ve only shoved each other a few times before the magickal brothers and sisters crowd in and calm us down.
[Are my magickal brethren really doing me a favour by preventing the fight between me and my shadow?]
It’s dawn and I want some breakfast, so I step outside and discover I’m in the main street of my home town. Mum and Dad aren’t far, but I doubt they’ll have the kind of breakfast I need. I could just buy a cup of tea, but realise I have no money. Then I remember there is both breakfast and tea back at the moot. It has begun to rain, so I decide to run back to where I came. A feeling of discontent arises at that thought and, noticing it, I also become aware that – anyway – I’m dreaming.
[The moot hasn't taken me far from home, but I seem to realise that it's still where I'm more likely to find appropriate 'food'.]
I look up at the sky and ask to enter LIT, the fifth aethyr. My words sound slurred, so I say it again. Beautiful coloured lights appear, swirling above me. When I look back to earth it’s as if my gaze drags the colours down – the lampposts and houses are festooned with bright decorations made of organic stuff, circular membranes of vivid colour. Everywhere I look more of the stuff appears, but I decide it’s all a bit ‘trippy’, so I head into the town centre to find something interesting.
Where the roads meet is a small café, which somehow I know offers divination. The sign above the window reads QUILITY FRINDS. The premises are very small: candlelit tables for two crammed closely together. At each table sits a woman, waiting for a customer. They are mostly quite short in stature, homely looking, with their hair tied up as if they really were workers in a café or bakery.
[QUILITY FRINDS ('QUALITY FRIENDS'?) = 75 = Five-Pointed Star.]
One of the women with her back to me turns around, sees me, and seems to take an instant dislike. ‘I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to help you,’ she says. But on my left is a woman who looks more friendly. She’s inside a kiosk, and it takes her a while to squeeze out. Another woman occupies the chair where I am supposed to sit. She squeezes out also, to share the seat with the woman from the kiosk. As it turns out, the second woman does most of the talking. The woman from the kiosk merely nods and says a few words.
‘Can you give me some information about the fifth aethyr?’
Next time you're in a lucid dream, visit QUILITY FRINDS. (Hopefully, their cakes are better than their divination.)
‘Well, yes,’ the second woman says, ‘although there are certain things about it we’re not permitted to tell. And anything I do say, you mustn’t take as an official representation. There are lots of beings here, so it’s just my view.’
‘Okay, that’s fine. What can you tell me?’
‘Something’s going to happen, but I’m not allowed to reveal it. It’s not good and it’ll come about on November 16th.’
Of course, on hearing this, I was determined to squeeze more details out of her.
‘Is it to do with my family or with health issues?’
‘No. Nothing like that.’ She sighs, and seems to give in. ‘It’s a bit of a rip-off, really. You’ll buy something and it’ll turn out not to be worth it.’
‘But hang on,’ I realise, ‘where I’ve come from, it’s November 21st. The 16th has already passed.’
[I had got up to meditate shortly before going back to bed and obtaining the vision. I had noticed the date whilst setting the alarm for the end of the meditation.]
The two women stare at each other as if this were entirely unexpected. ‘Then you’ll be able to look back and work out what it is,’ the first woman responds.
This seems to have broken our concentration – theirs, and also mine, because at this point the vision breaks up and fades.
[Looking back to November 16th, I have so far found nothing to support or illuminate this retrospective 'prediction'.]